Cold calling doesn’t have a great reputation, but you shouldn’t let that stop you from using this powerful outreach channel.
In this special encore presentation of INSIDE Inside Sales, Darryl is joined by SalesBuzz.com CEO and sales training expert, Michael Pedone. Due to the duration of the original conversation, it was originally presented as two separate, yet wildly popular episodes. In light of this popularity, we thought it best to provide these two stellar episodes into one masterclass on all things cold calling. Darryl and Michael hold nothing back as they recognize top pain points, discuss overcoming the fear of rejection, and offer advice on piquing interest, but that’s just the beginning!
Darryl Praill: It's another week of the INSIDE Inside Sales show. Folks, how are you? How are you? I love asking that question because I genuinely care. I genuinely want you to do something right now. Do me a favor, honest to God, do this right now. Send me a direct message on LinkedIn or Twitter or email, and simply give me one word that describes how you're doing right now. It can be fine, great, awful, sucky, brilliant, smashing, whatever. I want one word messages from you, and then I think I can do a social media post and I'll attribute you if your one word just really blows my mind, so that's the challenge. I was having this conversation the other day, actually, truth be told I was having this conversation with the day's guest, and we got on the whole topic of misinformation and we got down this.... He summed up perfectly. I was asking him how he was doing, just like I asked you how you're doing. And I said," How's it going?" And we won't go into the details, but he made one comment that made me laugh. And he's like," UFOs exist, apparently, and nobody gives a shit." That's just one conversation. And it's funny, because we were bonding on how back in the'80s, we worried about two things. We worried about nuclear war and we worried about the aliens coming to beam us up and take us away to their planet, or harvest us, or whatever you might want to call it. And it's amazing how we've been so overwhelmed, you could say with information, you could say with misinformation, you could say with reality TV. I mean, our whole concept of normal has just completely changed. I was sharing on the weekend that I was having a family text exchange and I was laughing and I was picking on my kids and my wife and trying to position myself as being untouchable, and I said I've got," Hashtag tiger blood. I'm a hashtag winner." And then we talk about all the Netflix series that are out there right now that are just crazy talk. And what does all this matter? What does all this matter? Well, it matters because the definition of normal, the frameworks that define our understanding of what is right versus what is wrong, what is good versus what is bad, is getting grayed out. It's blurring. Some would say it's disappearing, and often replaced with tribalism, or partisanship, where we're on team A or team B. And if you're on team A, you hate team B. If you're on team B, you hate team A, right? For you in the sales world, maybe you have a certain style of email that you send, and any other style that's not that style is wrong, right? And this is why mines right, even though... Perhaps your conversion numbers completely suck, or maybe you've got a certain way of selling, and when you're called out on it, often the response is," Well, that's how I do it." Meaning, I'm not going to change. That's how I do it. I got news for you kids. It's really simple. As complex as humans are, as complex as we all are, we're all, in many ways, wired similarly. We react to similar messages. We trust based on similar signals, or we don't trust based on similar signals, right? There's a lot of commonality, so what we need to do us sales reps is stop being overwhelmed by the noise. Stop being overwhelmed by all the pundits who claim to be experts, but truly have no context or track record other than maybe they have a platform, maybe they speak loudly, maybe they're just a bully and you don't want to talk to them, and get back to the basics. We need to get rid of the misinformation and we need to go back to what works, so today's class, consider today's class where we're going to do a little deprogramming. We're going to wipe away some of the confusion. We're going to make this a very pragmatic episode and we're going to go back to basics on what is actually a true tried, proven technique that's as relevant today, when it comes to sales... I should say tactic, not technique. As it has been for decades upon decades. upon decades. Today, my friends, I'm going to talk about the misinformation around what a real cold call is. How's that? Misinformation about real cold calls. Have you heard any other podcast out there frame the conversation that way? I bet you you haven't. Now, who framed it that way for me? Well, let me go there. In life, we have certain people whom we trust. Certain people whom we go to, back to the well over and over again, because they have proven themselves to be wise. They have proven themselves to be knowledgeable. They have proven themselves to be truthful. Whether you want to hear what they have to say or not, whether you like how the message is delivered or not, you know when you hear the message that you need to factor it into what you do. For some it's a parent. For someone it's a friend. For some it's an aunt or an uncle. But for me, one of those people over and over again is my very good friend, Michael Pedone, a repeat guests here for a reason on the INSIDER Inside Sales show. Michael is the founder of SalesBuzz. Check it out at salesbuzz. com. If you're online, feel free to multitask. My friend, Michael, welcome back to the show.
Michael Pedone: I'm blushing. I'm blushing. You're too kind.
Darryl Praill: I'm admiring you, because for those watching the video, you'll notice that I have red curtains and it looks like Michael might have some red curtains, so we're bonding on the red curtains.
Michael Pedone: Yeah, if you ever come to visit and you stay in the guest room, that's what you're getting. crosstalk
Darryl Praill: Right. The red curtains. Is there a casting couch there too? Just kind of curious.
Michael Pedone: There's a door to the full bathroom and then the exit to the pool. You're all set.
Darryl Praill: That's dynamite. I like it. All right, so Michael, we open up, you and I, and we're talking about misinformation, what a real cold call is. Now, I know you've got a story there that led to today's topic, so let's share with the audience, your story that inspired us to talk about this.
Michael Pedone: Sure. There's a couple things. First thing, you mentioned that we have to get rid of the misinformation. Darryl, I think we're way... I don't think that... That Pandora's box is open, I don't know if we're ever going to be able to get rid of stuff. I think people have to start to not... They have to research. They have to think things through. They can't just believe what they hear right away all the time. I think that the smart people are the lucky... Maybe the lucky people, the smart people, whatever, they're the ones that are going to find the nuggets in all the noise and what's right and what makes most sense for them. And so I just I wanted to bring that up. I think misinformation and the... When you give everybody in the world a voice, right? I mean, how are you going to manage it? And I don't want to live in a country or a world that manage that, but hopefully that we're going to start to be a little wiser and not just believe just because somebody's got a bunch of likes or something on a video, or what have you. I mean, how many times have we seen a video where we know somebody's giving bad sales advice on LinkedIn and they have a plethora of positive comments, right? You're just looking at this going." I can't..." I mean, look at all these people thinking this is the greatest information. You know it's not going to work in the real world.
Darryl Praill: It's so true. I see so many people with, like I mentioned in my opening ramble there, with a platform and just get out and espouse stuff that I shake my head at. And often, okay guys and gals, I'm going to sound like the old guy again, you know I do this on occasion, get off my lawn guy. Often what I'm seeing are people who are 25 years old spew bullshit that they believe to be true. They think it's true. It's their opinion that it's true. Their gut is telling them is true, therefore it must be true, even though they've never done it or lived it to know that it's absolute garbage. And too many people are so quick to get on that bandwagon to be loved and say," Preach. Attaboy. Love it. Way to go. Yeah." And all you end up doing folks is making yourself look as stupid as the person who says it is. To Michael's point, park your tribalisms, park your biases. You will only get better if you are a critical thinker. And again, like I said, you may not like what your trusted advisors say to you. You may disagree vehemently. In the moment you may think you're full of shit, Praill, that's okay. Been there. I want you to go back after this is done and think about it, ponder it for the next day or two or three, and after three days you say," Okay, maybe. Maybe there's a hint of truth." Then you know what, brother and sister? I applaud you for having that self- awareness and ability to do that and then adopting your play. All right, so that was the conversation around misinformation, but what led to this whole conversation around misinformation and what a real cold call is?
Michael Pedone: Yeah. Yeah, and offline, we were sharing how I have a client that was signing on and there was some hesitancy at first because somebody in the organization was like," Well, we don't make cold calls." I'm like," Well, one, okay, that's fine." By the way, a lot of times people think since my company and my livelihood is teaching people how to sell and sell over the phone, they think that I'm a cold caller and I'm always an advocate for cold calls. crosstalk.
Darryl Praill: Listen, you're biased.
Michael Pedone: Right. If you guys never had to make another cold call in your life, and nobody would be happier than me, right? Because if you're having inbound warm hand raisers, that's totally fine. You still need to know how to sell, otherwise you're just an order taker and you're going to close a lot less, right? Because if it's a hand raiser and they're interested, chances are, they're also talking to two or three of your other competitors as well, right? So you have to still have the sales skills for that. But when it comes back to the cold calling, my point was this. They're like," We don't make cold calls." I'm like," Okay, well, let me ask you a question. Do you have inbound warm leads? Are they calling you?" And they're like," Well, no, we send them an email first, and then we follow up to see if they got the email." And it's like I just wanted to bang my head against the wall. I'm like," Well, you're still cold calling them, right? I mean, just because you sent somebody an email..." First of all, that email's a cold email. I mean, here's the thing, the definition of a cold call, you ready for this? It's very simple. The definition of a cold call is contacting any prospect that is not currently raising their hand. It's that simple. By the way, that also means if you have existing accounts, and maybe it's time for them to reorder, they haven't reordered from you in a while, or you want to upsell them. When you call them just because they've done business with you in the past, it's still a cold call unless they were raising their hand. There's nothing wrong with that. When you go to LinkedIn and you see LinkedIn themselves... By the way, I love LinkedIn's platform. I use it myself all the time. I think I use it differently than most people do, with the LinkedIn Sales Navigator thing. I really use LinkedIn to verify that that person is still there and their title matches before I reach out to them. But with that being said, if you ever looked at LinkedIn Sales Navigator videos about how they sell their service, they say," Don't make cold calls. Research, see who's connected to you, and then leverage that to make a warm call." And I'm like," This is written by a marketing person who's never made a cold call in their life, and they have no idea what the definition of a cold call is." And then what happens? Tons of people buy it, thinking they're not making cold calls, and then they're still failing because they're not solving the real issue. And so that's where... And I loved what you said and I actually wrote it down. I don't think we're going to be able to get rid of misinformation, so we need to... The people that improve their critical thinking skills are the ones that are going to do the best. They're the ones that are going to get ahead farther, faster.
Darryl Praill: Yes. Let me share a story with you, Michael, on this conversation. And folks, we are going to give you some good tips and tricks on how to do a cold call-
Michael Pedone: Yeah, sure.
Darryl Praill: ...but part of this is understanding why you need to do a cold call, because there's too many of you out there who are falling back on what Michael just said with his prospective client, which is we just do email. And you do it, and Michael, free to jump in here before I tell my story, you do it for a variety of reasons. One reason could be that phone scares the crap out of you, and you don't want to do it. Rejection is bad, what if I talk to somebody live? All right, I don't want to be rejected live. Two, you do it because, well, I don't have the right data. Everybody's working from home right now and I don't have the mobile numbers < so I can't do that, even though there's 1, 000 sources out there that will show you where most of those numbers are. You will do it because nobody uses the phone anymore. You try to try that angle. Nobody uses the phone anymore. I could go on. Those are three right there. Michael, what are some of the excuses above and beyond, if any, that you hear from people not doing phoning?
Michael Pedone: Yeah. That always goes back to the fear of rejection though. Everything else is all excuses, right? Because listen, just because people aren't working from home, a lot of companies have their extensions forwarded to the person's cell, or they have the apps. Like I don't even have a phone at like a physical phone anymore, because it's just an app on my desktop that I can hit the dials, I get inbound, outbound calls that way, right? So it's really... Sure, some people aren't going to have those phones, but that's why you need to learn how to leave a voicemail and then send it with an email that matches in order or to get the people to call back. That's how come you have to know how, when you do call an organization, if everybody's working from home, but it still goes to a secretary, right? Or a gatekeeper. You have to know how to interact with them, to encourage them to want to give the right message to increase your chances of a call back. It all goes back to... And the majority of the time, if they solve the fear of the phone, if they solve the fear of being rejected, which is very easy to solve, by the way, once they solve that, all these other excuses go away, and again, you start doing the right things, the right way, the right times, and now you're going to start making more money.
Darryl Praill: Okay. I'm going to tell my story, but as an individual contributor, as opposed to a sales team. Michael would obviously sell to sales leadership to train the entire team, but if you just are taking ownership of your own training, there's a good book written by Andrea Waltz called Go for No! Give it a read. And it's all about dealing with rejection and how you gamify cold calling to actually get over the rejection. It's brilliant. For an individual contributor, check that out. I love that Michael was sharing a story with his prospect, but they're saying that they don't do any call calling, they just do email followed by email follow by email. If you're a regular listener here on the show, you know I've been hammering from the rooftops for as long as the history of time, omni channel engagement. There's a reason. My story brings it all together. We do regular group training and one-on- one training here at the company. Yesterday. Yesterday we were on a group training call, so all of the sales team, the sales leadership, and we're actually literally doing live phone calls. Okay, Michael, share your screen. Boom. Okay, so you're calling John Doe. Okay, Michael, go. Boom. Calls John Doe, everybody can hear both sides of the conversation because we're using zoom. We're sharing the screen. We're sharing the audio, because to Michael's point, we're using a VoIP app, not a natural hard phone. And so everybody can hear everything, we hear both sides of the conversation and a couple things happen, right? Either you connect and then we're going to go through and critique afterwards how the conversation went, which happened, or you leave a voicemail, etc. And what you do of course is you critique the voicemail as well. And then you critique the tone and then delivery and the pace and the messaging, whether it's a live conversation or a voicemail, and you do it as a group and you learn from it. And we always tie it back to our approved messaging, our ICP, our personas and the actual sales methodology framework and how you do it. And part of what we were showing the team yesterday, beyond all the above, was that you can actually, with a properly prepared list, you can crank through a shitload of calls in a relative hurry. And we're using a three touch, initial three touch, so to Michael's point, how we were showing them yesterday... And this is just one way, it's not the only way. You'll figure out your way. Is we were saying," Do a connection request on LinkedIn. In that message, personalize it and say,'I'm going to call you. I'm going to leave a voicemail next, so check out for that." So now they know it's coming next, so you're already establishing some breadcrumb. And then you do the voicemail, and then the voicemail you say,"I'm going to follow up with an email." And then you follow it up with an email, so you now have three different touch points to ask you to get a message across three different ways. And what was really interesting when we were working with this technique and everything, one of the questions came up, because they were asking me behind the scenes, because I'm just watching. I'm observing, right? I'm the CRO. I don't actually get my hands dirty anymore. Don't be silly. I just pay people to get their hands dirty so we can hit our numbers. But they were asking me, Darryl, you're a buyer, what's your reaction to voicemails? Do you listen to them? And my response was this. I rarely return a voicemail unless their messaging was so dynamite and so specific and so timely on what I need. And too many of you are saying." Hi, I'm with company ABC and we improve productivity by 42%, and you should call us to talk about your quarterly objectives. Can I have 10 minutes in your calendar?" That message would never get me to call you back. So there's that element. I said," But when I see the LinkedIn in and the voicemail and the email, right away a part of me goes,'Okay, I now know Michael Pedone.' He's chasing me down. This is cool." So I may wait 3, 4, 5 or six more touches before I finally respond. He's going to wear me down, but he's going to stand out from the crowd. But I said something interesting to them. I said this. I said," Do I check my voicemail regularly? No, but guess what?" Because remember, Michael said many of them have their phones forwarded to their cell phone. Here's another angle. I said," Every single voicemail I get gets transcribed and emailed to me in real time, so even though I'm not listening to your message, I'm getting your message." And too many of you don't understand that, and I go," Why would you never make a phone call when that's pretty normal these days?" So there you go. That was my story I wanted to share. Michael-
Michael Pedone: You're spot on.
Darryl Praill: ...what do we need to do to change the misinformation about what a real cold call is? Or, said another way, what would you tell that prospect that you were dealing with on why they should do it, and then some easy tactical things they can implement immediately to get better results?
Michael Pedone: Well, I just gave them the real definition... Like I said earlier, I just gave them the real definition of what a cold call is. And so then it just goes back to their original pain point, so let me ask a question. Are you guys hitting the numbers that you need to or not? Just yes or no, right? And I don't mean the numbers that you want to hit. I mean are you below that threshold of where you need to be doing something better, or is this just a want to have? And it's like," No, we need to be doing better." Okay, let's go back inaudible. That's a real sales scenario, right? So anytime you get an objection, you got to go back to the original pain point. That's why it's called a hot button. You got to re- push it. Make sure you really did get the hot button point and then bubble it back up to the top before we address the cold call. So that's how I handled that situation. But with that being said, I really think that if you live by the definition of a cold call as contacting any prospect or existing account that's not raising our hand, that's okay. So now just get over it and just approach it. So how do you make a cold call? Better yet, how do you make a successful cold call? And here's the one thing that I learned that works in every industry, and this is why when I do my sales training, it doesn't matter what industry you're in, because as long... Listen, this is what I look for. Are you a business to business, right? Okay, and you're in the United States or Canada? Perfect. That's like 99% of my clients. Then we should talk, especially if you have a outbound sales teams. So the thing is this, is how do you make a successful cold call, no matter what industry you're in? Because that's the other thing too, right? People are like... If you try to give somebody sales advice, it's like," Well, have you ever worked in my industry? You don't know our industry." I'm like," No, but I know how to sell." And the process is the same. I mean, people have to understand, sales is really like baseball. Every time you pick up the phone, you're in the batter's box, right? And so when you pick up the phone, you're in the batter's box. Your job is to at least get to first base. Well, I want to hit a home run. Okay. Let's say you hit a home run. You still have to run around and touch all the bases in order. If you hit a double, you can't run from home plate across the pitcher's mound to second base. That's like a... But see, you're laughing, but so many sales people crosstalk.
Darryl Praill: I know, they want the shortcut.
Michael Pedone: So many salespeople on inbound on warm leads, they do that analogy. They skip steps. So that's why to me it doesn't matter if you cold call or warm call, if it's outbound sales and you're not hitting your numbers, chances are my solution's going to help, because when you get an inbound warm lead, how many times these salespeople, they just go right to the scheduling the demo, or they ask what their title is of that person, they skip so many steps they don't even get problem recognition. They go right to the demo and they hope for the best. Sometimes it works because they were warm, but a lot of times it doesn't and you miss those opportunities, so let's go back to what I was going to say. How to make a cold call before I got off on that tirade. No matter what industry you're in, the first step to making a cold call this. You have to pique interest in the few seconds of the call. If you cannot pique their interest within that five seconds after hello, my name is, if you can't pique their interest, nothing else matters. So how do you do that? Well, you have to know the formula, right? And so what the formula is this. Well, first thing is this, is you have to know what are the top two or three pain points your target audience would have to have in order for them to be interested in your solution, whether they recognize the problem or not? Your business is only in business because it develops solutions, solution or solutions, for specific problem or problems, right? Well now I hear, well we solve lots of problems. Well, okay, well this is how you need to know how to segment your list and build your ICP, your ideal customer profile, so you inaudible. Let me give an example. Companies in the US, 200 to 500 employees, sales directors have 10 or more sales reps. I know if that's the... I build that list, I call them, guess what? Chances are some of them, their reps, aren't hitting their numbers, and they're struggling with call reluctance. They're sending more emails, they're not hitting the phones. They're collecting a nice salary though, but they're not hitting their numbers, right? I know I can build a whole entire list of them, call them and go, " Hey, Darryl, it's Michael Pedone, salesbuzz. com. How are you?" You're like," Yeah, sure. What can I do for you? Who are you?" Listen, the reason for my call, I specialize in helping outbound sales teams overcome call reluctance 90% of the time I get a, they want to hang on the phone. If you're a sales director, how do you not want to hear what I have to say next? Now, if I called and said," Well, we provide sales training." Every person on that list that I just... 200 to 500 employees, VP of sales, 10 or more sales reps, every single one of them has internal sales training. Not one of them doesn't, so if I call and say," Hey, we provide sales training." I'll get the, no, thanks. Honestly, we're all set. We already have something like that. But if I call and I agitate a pain or scratch an itch that their solution's not solving, the opening value statement did its job. It piqued their interest just enough not to make them buy, or want to hear a presentation. The opening value statement has two things that it has to do. The first thing it has to do is pique their interest. When it piques their interest, I just bought myself 5 to 10 more seconds, and that's all I needed. So now I get the first base. And now when I'm there, you have know what to do next to get to second and then bring it all the way home. Does that make sense? Am crosstalk.
Darryl Praill: It makes perfect sense, and we've had this conversation on so many past episodes that there's so much that's coming together here. For those who are regularly listeners, if... Okay, for those who aren't, go back and listen to the last like 10 or 15 episodes and you'll hear this over and over again. A couple things come to mind. One is omnichannel outreach. All right? That includes the phone. Two is stop taking shortcuts. This is why I keep on hammering you guys all, all, all the time, right? I love the analogy. First base, second base, etc. It's a process. We've talked about the phone where you kind of got like seven or eight seconds to pique their interest, 12 seconds max to actually get them to trust you or not. 30 seconds, they maybe will grant you where you need permission at that point in time to actually carry on the conversation. If you can't do it, stop it. Stop with all the pleasantries. How's the weather? How you doing? What about the Olympics? Whatever you want to call about. Stop all that crap, because nobody cares. It's just killing you right away, it just screams sales message. Because you want to respect the buyer. Other thing we've been hammering, hammering, hammering on is understanding your ideal customer profile, your personas. I challenged you, if you recall, do you know your ideal customer profile? Can you actually tell me, and if not, go back to your colleagues and actually hammer that out so you understand what exactly those things that... As Michael said, the top two to three pain points your audience would have to have to be interested in your solution. That goes back to your ICP and the persona. And the thing we've talked about is hyper segmenting your lists so that you can hyper, hyper personalize the message so that your likelihood of resonating with your ICP as you call into them is dramatically higher, as opposed to having a very broad generic message. And when all you're doing is talking about your product. There's nothing hyper personalized about that at all, so if you want to do 20, 30, 40 calls a day as part of your regular prospecting routine, just make a hyper list of these 30 people. I'm going to call it these 30 people today. I'm going to do inaudible, maybe LinkedIn, email, phone. Right on day one. I'm going to call them and they have the following attributes in common. All right, maybe it's job title, maybe it's location. Could be a city, for example. And the city becomes part of your message. Who the hell knows? But I love the whole point is, Michael said I help people reduce call reluctance. Okay. He's right. I'm like hanging on the edge of my seat and this is VanillaSoft. I've heard our reps use a variety of lines. We stop reps from cherry picking leads. Imagine me calling into a marketing guy and saying," We stop reps from cherry picking the leads you're sending them and call them all instead." The marketing guy is going to go," Tell me more." Right? That's it. inaudible sure, we do a shitload more. All right? That's all about a cold call. Now, Michael, we've talked about the cold call. You've brought in so many pieces together. This is why I kept on going back to you. What we've I talked about though, is the voicemail, so what tips and tricks can you give me on the voicemail?
Michael Pedone: The voicemail should be matching with your opening inaudible. If I call you, I say, Darryl, it's Michael at SalesBuzz, I'm calling because, right? Let's just start right there. You just want to know why I'm calling. I've piqued your interest in the first second and a half or two seconds, just to hear the next two seconds, so you can make a determination if you're hitting the delete button or not. That's all I want to do. Now, there are three templates that I use for cold calling. You ready for them?
Darryl Praill: I'm ready for them.
Michael Pedone: Okay. You have the competition template. Well, one, you have the straight up cold call, you have the competition and then you have the referral. So the cold call one was the one that I gave you, and the first example was where I just said reason for my call, I help outbound sales teams overcome call reluctance. Now, by the way, side note, notice those pauses there? That's all by design. If I would've ran through that too fast, it's just a marketing message that goes by too fast. You don't want that, so I pause for effect, so I let it sink in. But that's what I would call the cold call template. I'm hitting the pain point right out of the gate. A second one that I use, which is one of my favorites, especially if you're calling niches, into a niche, is called the competition template. Let me give you an example. I used to work way, way many years ago, I used to work at DuPont REGISTRY, which is, I worked in the online division where I was selling to other general managers of Ferrari, Lamborghini dealerships, things of that nature. And basically we had at the time, it was the Autotrader of online luxury market. This is where all your rock stars, hedge fund guys go to buy their Lamborghinis to find out who has it in stock, right? So we had to call these general managers of these dealerships to get them to want to pay us thousands of dollars to list their inventory with us online. And if you call them and you start asking about their marketing and what they're doing for marketing, they're going to hang up on you, right? Because these guys eat, sleep and breathe moving$ 300,000 cars. They don't have time to be talking about inaudible, so I'd call them, and this is how I would get them on the phone. I would say, " Listen, the reason for my call, we just helped Shelton Ferrari hit their numbers last month, and if we have a second, I'd like to ask you a few questions. See if we can help you as well." Now they're like, " Okay, yeah." Because now they want to know, hey, how did Shelton Ferrari beat us last month in numbers? And I would get the numbers report of their sales volume all the time, right? So it's called a competition. You could do that in any of your business. If you know you have a big... Let me just back more. Before I started SalesBuzz, I started an SEO company in 2002, I started this company, sold it a couple years later, but with that being said, I took on a client first, did one of the biggest ones in Tampa. Biggest name in Tampa Bay. Did theirs for free, got them really excellent results, got a testimonial, and now I was able to call all the other top companies in Tampa going," Hey, the reason for my call, I recently helped so and so get top rankings on Google." And it was just, that was it. It was just right away, so you have the cold call, the competition, and then the referral. The referral is real simple. A referral could be somebody outside the organization, or if it's a large organization like, take for example, 3M is one of my accounts. I did one division, contacted them, they loved it. Then I called a division over in the UK, said," Hey, I recently helped the 3M division over in Minneapolis to do X, Y, Z inaudible but they said I might be able to help you as well. Took the call right away. Or you could use a referral to where somebody that's outside of there that you've actually had that conversation with you could use as a name, so there's three ways that you can create your message to your audience. Does that make sense?
Darryl Praill: It makes perfect sense, and I'm laughing because we've covered so much of this content recently in other ways shapes and informed. We've done lots of content, folks, on the power of the referral, all right? So use that. Recently, I did a webinar with my good friend, Ollie Whitfield, and it's called Simplifying Sales Emails. If you haven't seen it, I strongly recommend you go back and hit it. But what we have there is we have five different email templates that you would use to construct short, concise, impactful emails that generate results. We didn't author them, they're not ours, we just presented them. One of them is by Josh inaudible, and so his email structure is, we call it the TTTT, the four T email. And it's basically four paragraphs, four lines, four one- liners. The first line is a trigger. Second line is a third- party reference, which is what effectively Michael's doing with the competition. Your third- party could be the competition. Your third- party could be a trusted industry influencer, or etc.-
Michael Pedone: Exactly. Exactly.
Darryl Praill: ...whom you Revere, etc. But it's third- party. And then the third line is, teach me, which is what Michael was just saying to you. It's just saying I want to show you what I did for them. Do you have any interest? And so there's that, right? And that's what the TTTT is, trigger. What's your trigger? What's your third party. What's your teach me? What's your tell me? Now, imagine you're going to do that voicemail combined with that email. You see the consistency? One of the things you're going to learn about Michael, that I respect so much about Michael, that he thinks maybe like me, maybe that's why I respect him, or maybe you think we're both morons and that's fair too, because you probably wouldn't be wrong. Is Michael consistently always ties what he's doing back to the steps. Any story starts at the beginning, and you heard him talk about the hot button, right? And then he brought it back to the hot button. He's always bringing it back to the hot button. That's one of the things you got to remember, what you should always be doing is following the steps, and your story needs to always bring it back to the key part. The key part, those hot buttons are tied back to your ideal customer profile. You see what we're doing here? We're trying to give you the foundation, the building blocks for you to be successful. And what you need to understand... So I'm going to build on the sports analogy. Michael used a baseball analogy, I know all you non- sports fans hate it when we do this, I ask you to indulge me. I'll use a football analogy. The football analogy is, it's the last five minutes of the game, we need a touchdown to win the game and come from behind. The odds are against us, and yeah, we can do the long bomb and try to throw a hundred yard pass and hopefully we'll catch it. Chances are we won't. The odds are stacked against us immensely. They're going to blitz us. They're going to have all the receivers covered. Chances of you getting that are negligible. Or you can just say," I want 10 yards at a time. 10 yards, 10 yards, 10 yards. First down, first down, first down, first down." You know that 8, 9, 10 plays later, boom you're in the end zone. You worked the clock, and you just took little bits. That's the same thing as one base at a time. The phone is part of that play. It's a step. Anytime you tell me that it doesn't work, that you just don't do it, no one's answering the phone, tells me you're not playing your playbook. Do you think those NFL coaches say," No, guys, we're not going to do one step at a time, because 50/ 50 they're going to tackle us one of those times." That's not the way it works, all right? That's what you want to do. You want step at a time, step at a time, step at a time. I love the ICP. I love the persona. I love his templates.
Michael Pedone: The thing is that there's a couple things here. I'd be inaudible didn't bring. You brought back when I mentioned the example of the hot button and how I had to go back. Do you know how many salespeople, when they get a real inbound warm lead, by the way... So an inbound warm. They fill out a form on the website and they ask for information and then they call them. Do you know how many sales reps don't even bother getting problem recognition, or finding the hot button first, or really making sure that they have that solved? They just ask a couple of basic questions. You're the decision maker? Great. Oh, let me do a demo. And then they try to go back and it's too late, because they skipped steps. They tried to go from home plate to second base. So I just want to point that out. That's why it's so important. It doesn't matter if you do... If you're making outbound calls, whether the leads are warm or cold, you have to follow the steps. You have to follow the process. And this is how you get rid of the fear of rejection. And by the way, listen, I got news for you, sales is never going to be easy. So if you're looking for easy, you need to get out, maybe go into customer service or something where you don't have that kind of pressure, because here's the bottom line, is when you're in sale, not only are you responsible for feeding your family, you're responsible for feeding all the other families of the employees that work in that organization. There's a lot of pressure on business development reps, account executives, whatever you want to call them, SDRs. What have you, right? You have to make things happen. It's never going to be easy. You're going to have to work, and if you're not hitting the numbers, it's because you're not sharpening your skills or you're not doing the effort. It's one of those two things, or a combination of those, so that's what you have to do. You have to put in effort. Now, let's do this to give some people some context, because we've all... By the way, I've heard some of the videos and I've watched some that you mentioned earlier. All great stuff from some of your previous guests as well. Now the question is this. Okay, so I'm a sales rep. I know that I have to have an opening value statement. I got to pique their interest. I have three different templates I can create. I'm going to have to outwork the problem. I'm going to have to make the calls. What do I do when I get them on the phone? What do I do? What do I do when I... This is the number one... So I crosstalk
Darryl Praill: Shit, it worked. Now that we're on the phone. Yes.
Michael Pedone: Yes. I have an eight week program. It's one hour a week for eight weeks, it's just online. They take it. Self- paced, right? But here's the thing. I cannot tell you how many emails I get after some team will go through week one and they'll all hear... Or the first session. They'll go," We're getting more people on the phone we ever had. We had more people in the last 24 hours than we had last month. We don't know what to do next, right?" So let me just help you out. Again, when you know the play, when you know the playbook, when you... Let's look at it this way. Another analogy is you're in the middle of New York city and you got to get yourself to California. If you have no phone, no map, no GPS, no nothing and no street signs, it's going to be really hard. But if somebody gives you a detailed GPS and a vehicle and all that, you know exactly the best route to get there, chances are, you're going to get there, right? And in the best amount of time. Sales is a lot like that, so when you know the road map, when you know the playbook, one, it's just where the effort has to come by, but when you call and you run the right opening value statement, you pique their interest, you gain permission to continue the call, which is a whole nother thing that we could talk about later. That could be a whole hour on the debates on that. But when you do that, the next thing you have... You have to realize, sales, there's four phases to the sales cycle. You ready? There's your openers. There's qualifying, presenting and closing. That's it. Now, a lot of times people are... This is my favorite thing. Sales people go,"Well, I already know they're qualified. We're calling a targeted list." Okay, then you don't know what the definition of qualifying is. If you just think that somebody has the right title and the right industry and the right... They meet your ICPs, you know they're qualified. No, here's the thing. I'm going to help you out. There's three phases to qualifying. The first phase to qualifying is, do they have a problem that you can help them solve? They don't have to recognize the problem, right? That's what a warm lead is. That's why we love warm leads. They already got that first phase going where they recognize a problem. The problem with the warm lead is that you don't if they're the decision maker or an intern or anything in between, so I'll digress. That's why you don't just assume that they're ready to place an order. But when you're qualifying somebody, which is after your opening value statement, you're in the qualifying zone, the first thing you have to establish is, is there a problem that they have that you can help them solve, and do they want that solved? And how do you blow that problem up? Especially when you're doing outbound cold calling. How do you blow it up big enough to make them go," We need to solve this. This wasn't even on my radar, and now it is, and now I want to know about a solution." That is when you are a top salesperson, when you can do that. That's what it means to be a real salesperson by the way. When you can do something like that. So how do you accomplish that? Well, one, you have to know that that's a step, because if you don't know that's a step, nothing else matters. My process is pique interest, gain permission. Once I do that, I'm done with phase one, it's easy. Now I'm in phase two, qualifying, but I'm in the first phase of the three phase of qualifying, and I have to get established problem recognition. How am I going to do that? It all starts with this, and this again goes back to the why, the training that... The sales solutions that I come up with was successful for me, no matter what industry I was in, because no matter what industry I'm selling to, or you're going to be selling to, is when you've piqued interest, gained permission, and now you got that permission, the first thing you have to do next is ask what's called an engagement question. This is where everybody goes so wrong. They get people on the phone. They don't know what to do next, so what do they do? They do a mini data dump on what we offer. Well, we provide blah, blah, blah. And then they hear,"Oh, sounds good. Send me some information." Then they never get them on the phone again, most of the time, right? So what you do... And by the way, this is the same thing on a warm lead, even on an inbound lead. When I get people that call inbound, say," Hey, I'm interested in your services. What can you tell about it?" It's like," Great. May I ask who I'm speaking with?" Get their name, whatever. I go," Do you mind..." And I'll say this. Do you mind if I ask you a few questions first to make sure what we offer would help you accomplish the objectives that you have? Who the hell says no to... They're like," Yeah, sure." They give me permission, so I still gain permission to continue the call, even though they called me. I do the same thing on the outbound calls. I start at that same spot on the qualifying. I'm going to ask them what's called an engagement question. The engagement question places their attention on an area you want them thinking about. You're not going to get problem recognition with one question. It's a series of questions. You have to know, what is my objective when I first start a call, after I pique their interest, gain permission to continue the call, whether it's warm, inbound, outbound, whatever, what do I have to do next? Once I got that permission, I got to ask an engagement question because I have to find out if there's a problem. I cannot just tell them they have a problem because they're going to doubt it, right? The best thing I found is I got to ask a series of questions and then based on their answers, they start to recognize there's a problem there. And then what is human nature when somebody recognizes that they have a problem? Most human nature is they want to know how does solve it, and now they're asking you, how can you help me solve this? This is how you get rid of the fear of rejection, because when you master this process that I'm telling you, one, you won't even care when you get rejected, because you have a targeted list. You're getting 90% or better. The people, when you do get them on the phone, they'll go," Yeah, I got a second. Go ahead." So now you're not getting rejected all the time, and now you know that I got to ask an engagement question, and then what the other two or three questions are after that to determine if there's a problem there. And guess what? When there is a problem, they want to continue the conversation, and then you need to know what to do... Then you have to go to the... Once you get problem recognition, you have to move to the second phase of qualifying, which is identifying their role in the decision making process. Here's why you can't assume somebody's a decision maker based on their title. How many of your clients at VanillaSoft have... You have a certain vertical, same industry, same employee size, same annual revenue, and then the person that has a title at that organization made the sole decision at that company, but that same type of company three blocks over, that person had the same title. They had three people that had to sign off on it. That's going to happen, right? They're not always going to be one title that can sign off on everything, so that's why just because you... Sure, you should know who the top two or three titles are to build your list to start the conversation, but once you get problem recognition and you get that, now you have to move into the second phase of qualifying, which is identifying what their role is and who else might be involved in the decision making process before you show your hand and give them a presentation. With me so far?
Darryl Praill: You're on fire, dude. I don't think I've been this quiet on the podcast in long time, and I'm loving it.
Michael Pedone: Yeah. I was knocking on my screen here, like did he crosstalk. So no. And I'm just going to give everybody the third inaudible, and I'm not sure how much time we have, but I'm just going to crosstalk.
Darryl Praill: No, we're fine. Go.
Michael Pedone: Listen, I don't want to leave them hanging, because I said there's three phases of qualifying. First phase, you got to get problem recognition. You have to know how to do that. Second, you have to identify their role in the decision making a role. There's five roles by the way, right? You have to be able to identify which role they are and what to do if they're not one of the roles that you need. And then once you get that done, the last thing is... This is so controversial, because I grew up being in the cold call era in the'80s and'90s and all that stuff, and I think every sales manager I ever had told me never to bring price up until after the presentation. To me, that is such bad advice because here's why. When you do that... First of all, if you're giving a presentation and you keep delaying the pricing and what your pricing structure looks like, right? And you're giving a presentation, what do you think the prospect is thinking about at least half the time during that presentation? They want to know if they can afford this, right? So they're half listening. If you wait till the end, you give them the pricing, a lot of times they can go," Well, we don't have that in the budget. No." There's two things when you get that objection. They're either lying or telling the truth. That's it, right? And so here's the thing. If they're lying, it's going to be really hard to uncover that at that point. If they're telling the truth, you just wasted a bunch of time, so when you go and pique interest, gained permission to continue the call, you asked your engagement question, then you follow the rest of the process that I have to get problem recognition. Once you get problem recognition, you smoothly transition to identifying their role to make sure which one of the five roles they are, and if they're the right one. Then you move on into qualifying them on pricing. One of the ways I do it is very simple, and it's worked no matter what industry I'm in, I give a price range. If you're that far into the sales conversation, right? Before you're about to do the demo. If you ask the right questions, you qualified them on the problem, you identified their role, you should have a really good idea on the low end to high end of what they're going to fall between. So if I call somebody and I go... They have 10 sales reps, for example. I go," Listen, you only have 10 sales reps. Listen, you're going to be anywhere between say three grand and five grand, depending on a few things, for me to train your entire team. So if you really like what we have to offer, is that doable for you?" It's either going to be yes, no, or maybe. If it's yes, okay, cool. I move on, I go to the presentation. When I go for the close, guess what I'm not going to hear. We don't have it in the budget. They already said that they have it within that price... You're laughing. They have that within their price range. Now, I would never do that... If we back up two steps, remember I said there's five roles in the decision making process. I would've never have gone to qualify them on pricing if they weren't one of the right roles in that, because then I'm asking somebody that can't answer that question. You understand? That's why it's so important. That's why I gave you the example of the road map. You're dropping in New York city, you got to get to California. Dude, I'm giving you a GPS. I'm giving you the vehicle and all the gas that you need to get there, and you just got to follow the path. And then as you get to certain detours, you're going to have the road... You'll know what to do. Most salespeople make it... Like a cold call, like they just get dropped. They don't even have a compass, right? And this is why they don't want to pick up the phone, because they've been taught to pick up the phone, and to their credit, they were never properly trained, right? They didn't take it upon themselves, or the companies that they worked for didn't take it upon themselves, or they didn't get the right type of training that they needed, and they kept trying and they kept trying and they kept failing and running into dead ends. And anybody's going to not want to do something if it keeps failing over and over. And this is why you got to sharpen your skills to find... And you got to increase your critical thinking skills to find the right solution that makes the most sense for you to sharpen your skills to be successful. And when you do that, and then you segment your list, like you mentioned, you have the... Then you just got to put the work in you. It's never going to be easy, but you can make it easier and more profitable, but you got to fix the other things. You got to fix your sales skills.
Darryl Praill: Okay.
Michael Pedone: That's my crosstalk.
Darryl Praill: This has been a masterclass. I'm laughing. You busted me. You said you're laughing. The reason I'm laughing, for those... I mean, you guys wouldn't know this, but this is my process, right? When I interview incredible people like Michael, whose mind you can see, you can see, it's just going, it's firing. The neurons are going and I'm just trying to hold on for dear life to keep up. I take notes, and so if you ever hear typing in the background, that's what it is, and I apologize. I know Daniel, my producer yells at me nonstop, but Daniel, it is what it is, man. And so inaudible in the qualification, again, the engagement question, phase one, phase two, phase three. And soon as you did phase one, you said problem recognition is a series of questions, right? inaudible your thing. I made a note here. I said," That starts setting value and expectations for pricing." You got the phase three where you say," Now you're going to qualify them on pricing. Remember, that all started back in phase one." And I'm like," Yes." I was laughing because I could see that coming a mile away, but it's exactly what you were doing. It's very much guided. Now, what I loved about this, I mean, this is just like... Is this not a great episode, folks? You talked about qualification. The biggest change when I came on board as the chief revenue officer, that I endeavored to implement and met much resistance, because people don't like to change. I get it. I'm not judging you. People are creatures of habit and I was disrupting their flow. It was I said," I don't want to see a single fricking demo ever fricking happen without qualifying them first." I said," You're wasting your time. You could be prospecting. You need to qualify them out." The only way to do that is by doing what you're doing here, which goes back to the importance of having a sales methodology and framework that does all this, which we've talked to before in past episodes, folks. So may I ask you this question? Do you truly, deeply, intrinsically know your sales methodology and why you do it? This just in, it's not because your management thinks you need to do that, and it's just the process and you don't believe in it. This is why you have it. And I love what you said. I mean, there's so much you said here. You talked about that there are five roles. I agree. There's five roles. All right. And that's why often a buying committee will be 5 to 10 people, and often you'll have people having multiple roles or multiple people on the same role. Whatever. You get the idea. But what's important, that we don't talk about often, is what Michael talked about, which was so subtle, so fast. He said," If they're not the right role, this person ain't going to be buying what you want to sell." Which is another whole conversation we're not going to have today, which is, how do you transition into finding out who the right people are? And we talked about that in a very recent episode where I referenced a line from Luigi Prestinenzi, and there's lots of lines. I'm sure Michael's got his own line too. He simply said," When you've made a purchase like this before in the past, who's typically involved, and how did that process go?" Which is not threatening at all. It's just saying historically, what was it like last time? All Right? Therefore, you don't have to worry about offending anybody, but that way you could start identifying all the other buyers in the process, and then reach out to them. I love this. Let's recap a little bit here, because we have so much going on here, it's been crazy. We talked about this whole thing, folks, this whole conversation with Michael talked about how there's a lot of misinformation what a cold call is, which bridged into why you need to do it, right? Which, it's part of an omnichannel outreach, and that a phone call is a touch, but you don't want to take shortcuts. You need to do all the steps because they all build up on aggregate to make an impression and get a meeting with them, which is the ultimate goal. Do not rely on just email. To do that, you need to know the top two to three pain points your audience is going to have if they're interested in your solution, which means you need to know the ideal customer profile and the personas. You need to hyper segment your list so that you have a nice cold calling plan, so you can really personalize your messaging as opposed to being generic. All right? So those are some of the examples. You talked about when you're... The biggest thing about cold calling is when people answer the phone, they don't know what to say or do, and there's a time constraint on that, and Michael walked you all through that. We talked about that opening salvo to pique their interest. He talked about three different templates we go with. The straight up pitch, the competition or the referral. Lots of great stuff here. And then he said," Once you're there, now you're moving into the qualification, which all starts with an engagement question." So phase one is problem recognition, which is a series of questions, which goes back to your system methodology. You should have that all documented, tied to your ICP and your persona, which goes back to phase two, which is identifying their role in the decision making process. There's five different roles. In phase... Which, I'm not going to tell you what they are. You're going to reach out to Michael directly and say," Michael, what are those five different people? I want to know." Then phase is, you're going to qualify them on pricing, because you want to set their expectations up front and early, so when it gets to... Remember, we talked about the four stages of buying. When you get into the actual negotiation stage, you've already resolved this here in the qualification stage, so you're setting up expectations early on. You're establishing your value, which all went back to the engagement question. It sounds so simple when Michael says it.
Michael Pedone: It is. It is. It's so simple to me, right? But I've been a straight commission salesman forever, and every mistake every salesperson has ever made, I've already made. And I just started a long time, I started working it backwards and I would... Yeah, I would spend money on myself to other trainers and I would take those little things here and there and I'd fine tune it, but then I just worked it out where it's this process. But it's like if you're going to learn how to play guitar, the blues scale is very straightforward, very easy, but you can't just watch it once, unless you're just born with that gift, your hands are touched by God or something. But you're going to have to practice it over and over again. You have to go back and you have to go back and you have to go back and you have to rewatch it. And that's why what I've done is what I found is, since us sales people have the attention span of a squirrel, I created a bunch of short little videos, all on demand, so when somebody signed up, they just go and they could just rewatch it and then go on the phones and then they can go back and rewatch it and inaudible. Because you really need that repetition to really sink it through and really learn, but then that's why also we give you assignments to use for your individual sales teams to work together on these things, because iron sharpens iron and the only thing... Listen, the only thing... And I think I've said this on this podcast before. The only thing salespeople hate more than call calling is role playing. But iron sharpens iron, but you have to learn the right thing. This is where your critical thinking skills are going to have to come in. You have to learn what is really the right thing for me to learn, to make the most money on the phones? And when you find that, whether it's me, anybody else, you have to put the work in. I mean, you have to practice it. We'll leave it with this. I have a daughter that's an actress, I see her practicing all the time before she goes on set. I got another one who's played at an extremely high level of hockey, and nobody's seen the amount of hours of 5: 00 AM every day, getting up, hitting the ice before school and then eventually going to school to play for it, right? But you got to put that stuff in. Sales is the same way. I mean, as a straight commission sales rep, when I first got into and really started to thrive as an inside sales rep, I was up early. I was popping in sales tapes into a VCR. Half your audience isn't even going to know what a VCR is. I was popping that stuff in, eating my breakfast, watching some of these sales videos and then listening to yes, tapes. Books on tape, like cassette tapes on my way to work. Listening, feeding that stuff. You have to constantly be feeding yourself inaudible. Sales is the only profession that I know is that you can live like a rock star without having to sell albums. The better you get at selling, the more money you can earn, the more freedom you have. It's just a great scenario. But on the flip side, it's tough, man. It's tough, so the better you are and the more organized you are, the better success you'll have, or you're not going to be happy. With that being said, next time I'll show you what my number one best performing cadence was with, once you have all the sales skills, how do you put it in action? We'll talk about that next time. How's that sound?
Darryl Praill: That's next time. That's a teaser. I love that. He left you waiting. You're going to come back, right? Now, for those... He made a guitar reference there, for those of you who don't know. Little alone tidbit about Michael, he an acclaimed self- declared'80s guitar shredder, so check that out. Michael, one of the things you made mention here is something I keep on saying to my audience over and over again. You need to invest in yourself. Learning is earning, I like to say, and too many people are reticent to invest in themselves, and that's a mistake.
Michael Pedone: crosstalk.
Darryl Praill: And you talked about it. You talked about how you did it yourself, and that's how you learned, and you took bits and pieces of it. That's how you learned.
Michael Pedone: Sure.
Darryl Praill: Let's talk about that. If they want to learn from you, I've heard you talk about some of your self- training courses, I've heard you talk about eight week... Videos, I'm sorry. Talk about an eight week training course. If they want to learn more about the options that you provide for training, because they've been blown away with you on this session today, what's the best way to do that?
Michael Pedone: They just go to salesbuzz.com, fill out a quote. You'll get the information you need. You can sign up right online. If you're a larger team, five or more, you should call us, or fill out the quote and we'll call you. Whatever. That's fine. You can also... Our blog post has a lot of this stuff, but there's YouTube out there. Just keep feeding yourself, right? Just keep feeding yourself information. You've had lots of guests on here that I've listened to that has some really good advice, but the point is, use the critical thinking skills, but if you're not succeeding... Too many sales reps are looking for that shortcut, and it doesn't... I'm telling you. It can be easier, but it's never going to be easy. And if it was, you wouldn't be getting paid the commissioner you would be, right? So you've got to learn to really focus on what the steps are, become the best at it, and then you're going to start making more money. It really is that simple.
Darryl Praill: Bringing it back to today's hot button, because we always go back to the starting point. We started talking about the misinformation on what a real cold call is and why you need to do it. And then we just went with it from there. That's where we began, that's where we're going to end up. It's been a fantastic conversation, folks. If you love this show, if you thought this was dynamite, share this with your friends and your colleagues. Follow us, subscribe, get the news out there. Get this content with Michael in the hands of your teammates. Share it, and then have a book report where you all kind of pitch in what you thought. Was he right? Was he wrong? Because I'm telling you, there's just so much unraveled here, but most importantly, go to salesbuzz.com. Michael, as always, I'm thrilled you're here. Thank you, my friend. Folks, we're out of time. It's crazy nuts that way, isn't it? But don't worry, we'll be back next week. In the meantime, you take care, and you can be guaranteed, next time we meet, I'm going to ask you how you're doing, so send me those emails as I asked you to at the start of this whole show on one word describing how you're doing. My name is Daryl Praill. I'm with VanillaSoft, and this, my friends is the INSIDE Inside Sales show. Take care. Bye- bye.