Jill Konrath


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[Video] Stop This Cold Calling Insanity!


So, you still think that cold calling is a good idea? Look, I'm from the great state of Minnesota, and as you can see from looking around me, I've done a lot of cold calling in my life.

But I'm not here today to just talk about tromping around in the snow. I'm here today to talk about cold email messages that you might be sending to your prospects, as well as cold phone messages that you may be leaving.Cold calling

The truth of it is, your prospects know if you're making a cold call on them. It's the same message that you leave for everybody and it screams, "Same message! Nothing special!"

In order to be effective today you need to have a message that really resonates with a particular person that you're calling.

And it can't be one that's just full of trivia that is irrelevant. It has to be targeted, it has to mention things about their company or their business or the challenges or the issues that they're facing. It has to have information or insights in the message that they would find useful and helpful in achieving their goals. 

If you don't do that, you can sure make a lot of calls. But you don't get paid on the quantity of messages that you leave -- you get paid on what happens with the message, if you can get an appointment or a meeting set up, and then what happens with the meeting.

value proposition kitSo, don't fool yourself in thinking that sheer quantity is enough to get you what you need today. It isn't! You need to have quality, and that means that just calling cold doesn't work.

So that's your choice. Do you want to continue this cold calling insanity? Or, do you want to craft messages that actually work?

Download my Value Proposition Kit today to learn more about how to create irresistible sales messaging.

Jill KonrathJill Konrath is an internationally recognized sales strategist. As author of two bestselling books, SNAP Selling and Selling to Big Companies, she's a frequent speaker at sales meetings and conferences. For more fresh ideas, download her free Prospecting Toolkit.


Nice post. I caught myself trying to remember the product a salesman was pitching last night... and could not. His message, as you suggested here, was sufficiently articulate to get the return phone call but he immediately went into pitch mode and my "cone of silence" kicked in. So yes the message has to be targeted, non-trivial, and relevant but so does the subsequent conversation.
Posted @ Wednesday, February 06, 2013 7:09 AM by John Hyman
Jill great comments! Back to the basics! How soon I forget.
Posted @ Wednesday, February 06, 2013 7:48 AM by Doug Schmidt
Great reminder. When you are trying to make 50-60 quality calls a day, this helps me focus on making them all relevant. They have to be target specific and include be very thought provoking questions. If you get a call back, I ask questions. Pitch mode comes later. The more information I can get ahead of time, the better. Always get permission to send a followup email and call again. Works every time because now they have a comfort level with their control and a curiosity factor triggered. Plan your calls, plan your questions and smile! Flattery gets you everywhere! Faux and pushy does not!
Posted @ Wednesday, February 06, 2013 8:43 AM by Rob
I agree although I have to admit that cold calling works pretty well for us. I think the success of a cold call very much depends on the type of product or service you are offering. A cold call regarding cleaning products will be much less well received than a call regarding a genuine solution to a problem which a company has. 
The angle you come at a cold call is also incredibly important. My favorite quote of all time is "People don't buy what you do, they buy why you do it" Simon Sinek
Posted @ Thursday, February 07, 2013 5:35 AM by Ryan
Given that there is broad agreement that tailored messages are more effective than generic ones, why are 80%+ of the inbound call/emails I receive clearly generic and not tailored? 
Posted @ Thursday, February 07, 2013 8:16 AM by Umberto Milletti
@umberto -- I totally agree with you. Salespeople who are trying to take shortcuts are actually doing themselves more harm than good. And, sales leadership who focus primarily on call quantity instead of call effectiveness should be shot.  
BTW, I think the info your company provides salespeople is invaluable and makes all the difference in the world. If anyone who is reading this is unfamiliar with InsideView, I strongly suggest you check it out. <a>www.insideview.com
Posted @ Saturday, February 09, 2013 12:19 PM by Jill Konrath
Quality is always of great importance in every aspect of life & sales is no exception. 
However after spending around a decade in sales I have learnt that this game is more about numbers, & numbers.  
I think in order to describe sales cycle we could initiate it from TARGETING PROSPECT -> COLD CALLING(PITCHING TO PROSPECTS) -> MEETING -> PROPOSAL -> NEGOTIATION -> CLOSURE. 
Now the larger your prospect list is, the more people you reach out chances are that you always end up with more closures in your kitty. Not denying that quality should always be there in every stage but at time I have realized that no matter how good I was in leaving voice mails or writing an e-mail, creating an eye catching PPT's or offering him a best commercial, i could not budge my prospect an inch.  
With less number of prospects in our database we always try to over focus on few accounts, often end up pissing off our propspects with thousands of calls/mail or VM. & this situation is very obvious as we folks are always under tremendous pressure to close accounts. The only solutions to avoid such situation is to have more amount of prospects. So research more & call more. 
Also people never want a half inch drill, they need a quarter inch hole. After giving thousands of demonstration of various products & services I have realized that if we are not able to understand the challenge of our prospect & than mold our offerings in such a ways that it looks the only solution to his problem, they will never entertain us again.  
Posted @ Tuesday, February 19, 2013 11:38 PM by Jeet
You're totally right everyone knows you're calling out of the blue. Learning to use that advantage takes some skill and learning, and lots of tenacity
Posted @ Saturday, February 23, 2013 6:53 PM by SteveO
We get fabulous results from having lots of unscheduled phone conversations, whether net new or follow up. Our reps have about 100 actual conversations per week - no navigating of phone systems, talking to gatekeepers or leaving voicemails. Conversation quality is obviously critical, so we have Marketing provide contextual lead lists based on trigger events, so no call is really "cold". Last week our team of 21 closers generated 183 opportunities - all outbound. Sure it took some cool tech to get it done, but it was worth it.
Posted @ Thursday, June 27, 2013 5:13 PM by Chris Beall
@chrisbeall Your results are awesome. Tell us about the technology you're using.
Posted @ Friday, June 28, 2013 7:59 AM by Jill Konrath
Thanks @JILL. 
We are using two kinds of technology to get these results. The first is the ConnectAndSell conversation enablement system integrated with Salesforce.com. When our reps want to have conversations, they simply log into the ConnectAndSell cloud interface, dial into a conference number, select a calling list and click "Go". After a short time - normally a couple of minutes - the rep is connected with someone on the list. The rep instantly sees the prospect's contact info and notes from prior calls, and the prospect experiences a normal phone call. The result is that our reps (and thousands of reps who work for our hundreds of customers) go from having a few conversations per day to having as many as they want. As I mentioned in the original comment, we shoot for about 100 conversations per week, with 80% of the rep's day still available for all their other sales responsibilities. 
One of the other things our reps and their managers like about the ConnectAndSell technology is that it updates Salesforce.com automatically and consistently so reps can focus on having more sales conversations and managers have reliable data on rep performance and the shape and velocity of the sales funnel. 
The other technology we are using combines automated content analysis - mostly web scraping - with automated appending of high quality contact information, with a focus on direct phone numbers. The content analysis uses internet queries to identify trigger events that correlate with specific use cases for our product. Examples include announcements of venture capital funding events, former ConnectAndSell users getting a new job. At ConnectAndSell, we particularly like a query that delivers "VPs of Sales and Marketing of companies hiring inside sales reps and managers". 
We use this technology to create evergreen streams of contextual leads that are automatically fed into campaigns in Salesforce.com. Our reps use these campaigns one at a time as ConnectAndSell calling lists. Because the prospects are organized into lead pools, each with its own sales context, our reps don't really make "cold" calls. Every lead comes with a trigger event or other context for calling, so every conversation has a place to start and a place to go.  
We plan to commercialize this "Evergreen Lead Machine" technology over the next few of months and have had some great results with beta customers, so stay tuned. 
The ConnectAndSell technology keeps track of who is calling on whom and how often, and Salesforce.com keeps track of which conversations turn into opportunities - which is also the only way that our reps build their territories. The technology also fully automates follow up conversations - set a date and fill out a "teleprompter" field that tells you what to say on the next connect and the system takes care of making the follow up call happen - so no opportunity falls through the cracks. 
To summarize, we use proprietary technology to generate contextual leads based on trigger events, and ConnectAndSell delivers those leads to our reps as live conversations. It's pretty simple, the numbers are eye popping, and maybe most importantly our reps have a blast doing what real salespeople love to do - have real sales conversations. 
Posted @ Friday, June 28, 2013 5:33 PM by Chris Beall
This is a great post. 
I don't think telemarketing is something that will ever stop being relevant any time soon. 
We always need to get from behind our desks and actually TALK TO SOMEONE once in a while if we want to make the sales. 
The phone in the hands of an inexperienced cold caller is a deadly weapon. Never forget it! 
We talk about this more on our forums at http://telecloser.com check us out!
Posted @ Monday, July 08, 2013 10:07 PM by matthew
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