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Does Classic Cold Calling Still Work?

Here's sales guru Brian Tracy describing the classic cold calling technique that's taught all over the world, by Tracy and countless imitators. Watch the video and read the summary, then vote on whether this technique is valuable and relevant today.

STEP #1: Ask the admin what person is responsible for purchasing what you're selling.

STEP #2: Ask to be transferred to that prospect.

STEP #3: Ask the prospect a question that ties to the prospect's hot button. E.g. "How would you like to see a method that would increase your sales by 20 to 30 percent over the next 12 months."

STEP #4: When the prospect responds "what is it?", ask for a 10 minute appointment. Don't ask for more time and don't try to sell the product across the phone. Key phrase: "All I need is 10 minutes of your time and you can judge for yourself."

STEP #5: Respond to the four common objections, if surfaced:

  • Objection #1: "How much is it?" Your Answer: "If it's not exactly what you're looking for, it doesn't cost you anything at all."
  • Objection #2: "Tell me just a little bit about it now." Your Answer: "Yes, I would like to, but there something I have to show you."
  • Objection #3: "Could you send me something in the mail?" Your Answer: "You know how unreliable the mail is. Why don't I drop it off later this afternoon?"
  • Objection #4: "Call me on Monday to make an appointment." Your Answer: "I've got my calendar right here. Is your calendar handy?"
STEP #6: Make the appointment.

CLICK for my opinion »

This technique is hopelessly dated. Here's why:
  • There is no research phase. The research consists of asking the "secretary" who the person responsible for buying. (Secretary! When was the last time you heard THAT term?)
  • There is no method for dealing with voice mail. It's assumed you'll actually be able to get the decision-maker on the phone. That's highly unlikely in most cases.
  • It's assumed that a 10 minute appointment is easier to get than a 30 minute one. In today's business world, a 10 minute appointment is a major commitment.
  • The entire pitch is annoying and familiar. This technique has been practiced for so many decades everyone has heard it before.
This is not to say that Brian doesn't make some good points. He rightly points out that it's usually a mistake to pitch the product during the cold call. And he's dead right about "send me something" being a blow-off.

But most of what he's identified here just isn't going to work that well today. It's too canned, too anonymous and too, well..., salesy to be effective any longer.

It's much better, nowadays, to follow a routine more like the one I posted in "Reach Any Executive in 10 Easy Steps." That process lays the groundwork so that you don't have to use tired tricks in order to get an appointment.

READERS: Anyone care to argue the point?

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