If You Think Cold Calling is Dead, You’re Doing It Wrong
Paul M. Neuberger believes in making the impossible possible. A masterful speaker and trainer, he challenges people to dig deep and discover talents they never knew they had. Whether it’s working hands-on with small teams or presenting in front of hundreds of people, Paul is adept at truly connecting with his audience and getting to the heart of important issues. He has worked with leading organizations around the world to help improve effectiveness, performance, and cultivate a stronger sense of passion in the workplace.
A sales expert, Paul is known to many organizations as The Cold Call Coach. He has taught thousands of students in more than a hundred countries through his Cold Call University program, helping sales professionals in a range of industries close more business in less time than ever before.
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I wanted to learn a bunch more about cold calling. I consider you the cold calling coach and you're president and CEO of the cold call coach. You and I have shared stages in the past. So why don't you go ahead and jump in Paul and let us know. Cause you know, I'm sure you've heard cold calling is dead, right? So I, I want to hear your version of why it's not because I totally am in your camp, but I want you to unpack that for our listeners.
I mean again, the only people that believe cold calling is dead are the people that profit from cold calling being dead or the people that don't believe you're able to solve a hard problem. Not now for me, I believe that people listening to this are capable of doing something difficult. You are talented enough. You are skilled enough. You are good enough. And it's certainly within your grasp to master cold calling. I mean, if it was easy, everybody would do it, right? We believe it's the hard in life that makes life good. It's hard to be a good public speaker. Well then if you become a good public speaker, doesn't that give you a good competitive advantage. If cold calling is hard, if you can master something, that's hard, doesn't that give you staying power? I would argue. Yes. And because it's hard. That's why you should run after it. I'll make it quick. But I believe right now is the greatest time in the history of the world for the cold call. Through this pandemic and this economic disruption. And I know people listen to this, I'd say, why is this? We we've got millions of people unemployed. We've had hundreds of thousands of people that have died. Businesses have shut down. How insensitive is this guy? Wow. I'll tell you why.
I believe now is the greatest time in the history of sales to cold call. You have about 60 to 65% of salespeople that have stopped cold calling because they don't want to come across as insensitive. They don't want to come across as tone deaf. There's too much disruption going on.
Just 65% of the competition is gone. So now we're left with 35% of the pie now. So, the odds are in our favor just by virtue of the pie, being a little bit smaller of that 35% of the pie. Approximately 33.5% hasn't changed. There are cold calling the same way. They always have this salesy way. The selfish way. The, Hey, I want to talk to you about our company and they are coming across as tone deaf. They're coming across as disconnected with reality. So, they're getting chopped to bits in their cold calls, which leaves 1.5% of the pie left. That 1.5% is in the arena making cold calls, but they've modified their approach. They've modified their approach to be sensitive to what's going on. And I think if you're serious about cold calling, you got to do the same. And there's a lot of things you can do to be a highly effective cold caller.
I sit on a lot of these virtual calls, where there's networking going on and people are trying desperately to find the missing link, so to speak. And I'm, not hearing anybody coming up with when I tell people, just pick up the phone and start dialing. Whatever that action it's like you get such resistance. So, when you encounter somebody Paul, that is resistant to cold calling and you have a choice of saying fine, leave it, or you want to challenge them, how do you do that? How do you encourage people to be part of that one and a half percent so to speak that will cold call and modify their approach?
Yeah, it's a good question, Dave. It's really all about showing them a better way. And what you can do is you can encourage until you're blue in the face, you can appeal to somebody's logical brain until you're blue in the face, but it's really not going to get you anywhere. So, what you got to do is you got to show him away. You have to blaze the trail; you have to show them the path. Prove that it works. And I think once people see, yeah, that does make sense. Yeah. That is a little bit easier. Yeah. I like how that feels. Wow. That works six times in seven tries. Okay. I'm in a better way. And I think that's one of the things that I'm very good at very humbly speaking, if I may. And part of the reason we do that is we really focus on three main pillars when it comes to cold call success.
Now, again, I've got training programs that are between 12 and 20 hours. So, I'm really putting a lot into a short amount of time here. And Dave, if I say anything during the duration of this bit that you disagree with, please do let me know. You know a thing or two about sales as well. First and foremost, I believe people buy people. First people don't buy companies. First organizations, first professional value adds first. When you listen to people's cold call scripts, they all sound something like this.” Good afternoon, Dave, my name is Paul Neuberger, founder of the cold call coach. Just to see if you're happy with your current cold call success rate.”
The thing that's interesting though is right off the bat, I just got one sentence out of the script, but everybody's hanging up just about please tune it out just about everybody's going, Hey, why did I pick up this call? Because what did I do in that call? I led with my company. I've led with my services. I left with my value add I was all professional. Paul versus personal Paul. And we teach our clients to sell personal you first. So, what doesn't sound like a sleazy sales call. To answer your question. Number two, as I already kind of alluded to people are not logical buyers. People are emotional buyers. They use logic to justify an emotional purchase.
For instance, I'm on a diet. Let's say I go a week, I eat, well. I like all that stuff that my wife's feeding me. And then it's Sunday. The Packers are on. Yay. I have two pizza pies. I led into my emotion there, but now my logical brain's kicking in good all week. So, in three weeks, I'm okay. People use logic to justify the emotional response, but here's your listeners to really take to heart. People will not always remember what you said, but they'll never forget how you made them feel right. When you cold call, are you hitting your prospects at a deep emotive level? When you cold call, are you making them feel a certain way? Are you giving them an experience? Are you elevating their mood? Are you piquing curiosity? And if not, no wonder you're stuck in neutral. So, we teach our clients how to sell on emotion first, rather than logic.
And lastly, what makes cold calling? Everybody sounds the same greeting sounds the same. Every first few sentences sound the same. Every human thing sounds the same. As soon as somebody starts going through their introduction that a flip switches in somebody's brain, it's a sales call again. Well, what if you could position the call different? What if you could do it in a different order? What if you could start a call in a different way? What if you could just totally transfer the entire paradigm and separate yourself from everybody else based on the talk tracks that you use. That's another thing that we teach. So, we make our clients, we give them the ability to differentiate themselves instantaneously. This sounds different. This feels different. We show them how to do it by selling on emotion, by showing them the people by people first and by showing them a different order and combination of the script to make sure that they can differentiate themselves and separate themselves from every other person I'm planning.
So I want to challenge one of those. So we do a ton of work on personality profiling. We use disc extensively in my coaching practice. And I'm curious to hear your thoughts on this because when we have interviewed people that are a certain type of personality, they'll tell you that if you don't have emotion, when you're selling, if you don't get excited about it, I'm not going to get excited about it, right? So you have that group, but also Paul, there's the group of people and I'm going to use the word engineer just for fun. But you kind of get that that logic mentality, who they aren't built for emotion, they don't make their decisions emotionally. They make them intellectually kind of like you alluded to how do you work with them. If I'm making a cold call to you and I want to get past you to you, whatever. And I use emotion to get into your psyche, but the person that you are not interested in that, how do we work that in? Because there's a lot of people that don't buy with emotion. How do you encourage them to use that?
Yeah. So, a couple of things, first of all, when I talk about buying an emotion, I'm not necessarily talking about giving a sob story or painting a vivid picture of a traumatic experience you went through. I mean, that might be the top for some people, for sure. I think there's some tiny little things you can do. Especially one of the things that a lot of people don't appreciate with the cold call is we talked about to start the call, how cold calling is dead, or at least out some people believe cold calling is dead. One of the things that if you listen to that crowd, you miss the number one built in advantage that cold calls offer.
And that's the element of surprise. Somebody doesn't know your calling. They're not prepared for it. If somebody you're calling, they don't have their defenses up. If somebody has no idea that you're about to be calling, they don't have a laundry list of objections ready to shoot you down. So, some people might say, Hey, you know what? I'm a logical buyer. I'm going to prepare my defenses where you can't prepare your defenses. If you don't know what call's about to come in. One of the quick examples of what I mean by emotional selling, it's all about how I make you feel.
So, Dave, a minute ago, I gave you a rather lousy start to a cold call. I'll say it again for your listeners. Cause I'm about to do a compare and contrast here allows you to do a cold call. It might be something like this. “Good afternoon, Dave. My name is Paul Neuberger, founder of the gold golf coach. Just wanted to see if you're happy with you cold call success?”
That's kind of the cheesy to start. And I would advise your listeners, don't do that. Emotional selling is something as little as this. Dave, imagine you pick up the phone. It's an unregistered number. You say “Hey Dave, Paul Neuberger. How are you, man?”
What's the first thought in your head without overthinking. What's the first one?
I'm going through my mind trying to see who this is calling.
About 99.9% of all the Americans are going to cold call that starts that way to some degree. That's what I mean by emotional selling. In a frame of mind, I'm putting you in a certain emotion because at the end of the day, if I just say, Hey Dave, hey man, Paul Neuberger could be anybody. I decided to talk to you. Happy to talk to you. So, I just think of Paul Neuberger, who do I know this, but you know what happens a lot of time, Dave, you're going to have to take my word for it. But what happens a lot of the time is when people pick up the phone, their voice is a little low. Because this could be anybody including a salesperson. And then I say, Hey Dave, Hey man.
Wow, that's so cool. So you identified the top two killers of most salespeople, voicemail and gatekeeper, right? I mean, that's usually where the gatekeeper's got all these skeletons and all these shrunken heads of all these, except salespeople that just totally bombed right at that spot. I'm putting you on the spot. If you were to pick one of those and you gave us a couple of tidbits of how you know, to work on that for ourselves, if I'm a up and coming sales professional, and I'm just unsure how to do it, or if I'm the seasoned professional, that's kind of my walls up now going, who is this guy? He can't tell me anything until I hear him in action. Or I literally see something, which one would you pick? And then if you can help us with a couple of nuggets, that would be a huge, huge help.
It's like asking me to pick between my children. They've got all my scripts, my babies, I got to pick between. Just shows you how nuts I am about this stuff. But I would say honestly, is the voicemail. The voicemail is my favorite script. And I think Steve jobs once said this, a simple simplicity is the ultimate sophistication. And I think that is very true. The way that we have our clients utilize a voicemail script. And I think of all the ones that you can get really, really good at, but it certainly can be made for gatekeeper because you're going to be talking to them a lot, especially if you're on the B to B side of the house, the voicemail it's evergreen. You need it for B to C, you need it for B to B. And it's my favorite. So, a little preface, and I'll give you one or two quick tips because I just wrote a book.
I've done some research on statistics and so I can cite them in the book. The average cold call success rate in this country is about 5.5%, depending on the statistics you look at, but it's all pretty still about 5.5%. My clients over the course of six years have a collective cold call success rate of 36.4%. That's statistically significant. I say it's even more impressive on the voicemail side. Voicemail response, these are harder to come by, but based on some census data, some of these other telemarketing study that was done, you're looking at about 0.7% voicemail response rate. No wonder they tell you not to leave voicemails. One, I always advocate you be a defensive cold caller rather than on offensive cold caller.
A defensive cold caller is what you don't say. An offensive cold caller is what you put in a defensive cold caller is what you take out, right? You should pride yourself on saying very, very little. And then our voicemail. We say next to nothing. The more you say, the more likely you are to self-incriminate, the more likely you are to sound salesy. The more likely you are to say something that somebody gets turned off. So, we need to say absolutely next to nothing. Number two, we make no mention of professional us on the voicemail.
When we leave the voicemail, we identify ourselves, of course, but we leave it open ended where we get them go. Is this a personal call? Is this a professional call? We just were trying to be as smart as possible. Lastly, our voicemails are customized to the classification POI that we cold call. If we're calling CEOs, we use it's called an attention trigger. We use a specific attention trigger for CEOs, something that taps into their self-interest and self-preservation. HR directors have a different one. A stay at home moms would have a different one. For those people that are cold calling them. So, it's very scientific, very customized, very defensive. And I guarantee you, Dave, if you didn't know what was coming, and one of my clients left you a Paul M Neuberger cold call voicemail. I'm pretty sure you'd call back.
That's pretty cool. Well, congratulations on the book. That's so cool. What's it called?
It's called the Secrets to Cold Call Success. Everything that I'm sharing with you today, Dave and your listeners is included in that book on Amazon.
Wow. That's so cool. So, I'm thinking, as you're talking about preparing for this call is research involved? I mean, LinkedIn obviously provides a ton of information, a ton of value. Are you requesting, suggesting, asking, demanding people do research so that they know the right way to approach that individual? Or is it just more of a, a generic approach and then you get specific as you get to know the person more?
Yeah, it's a bit of a hybrid between the two. I believe excessive research prior to the cold call is a horrible waste of time. Excessive research before a cold call is an example of avoidance behavior. And I can't make the cold call. I don't know enough. I can't make the cold call. I got to research this person a little bit more, stop making excuses and pick up the phone. Plus, the excessive research before you pick up the phone is a waste of time because the vast majority of the time, you're going to get a voicemail. The vast amount of time you're going to get a gatekeeper. What good is all this research on this person? If I can't even talk to this person, I will say however, that when we work with our clients, before we start building a script, before we start talking about what to say, when that person of interest picks up the phone, we do spend time crafting an individualized strategy.
That cold calling is literally one or loss before you ever pick up the phone. All I mean by strategy is really threefold. Hey, who is your ideal client? Cold calling is not a numbers game. Cold calling is quantity over quality. If you have no idea where you're calling it is, if you have no idea what to say, when somebody picks up the phone, it certainly can be, but rather than saying, okay, I'm going to call Dave Melinda, let me spend an hour researching them. All I'm saying is take a step even further back. What makes up my ideal client? The criteria should be specific. Objective quantifiable six of them. Six just seems to be the magic number after doing this for so many years. So, for instance, what you can't do is you can't inject subjectivity into the process. For instance, I want to call people that are nice.
How do you measure nice. How do you quantify nice? Where in the white pages does it say all the nice people hang out? I haven't seen that on LinkedIn either. I want to cold call organizations that value my services. How do you quantify that? How do you measure that? So instead something like that, I want to call an organization that EI has a new CFO. Who's been in the organization for less than a year. Hey, that's a good one. B the organization is headquartered in Milwaukee. That's a good one. See, the organization has at least 300 employees, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera. Objective quantifiable criteria. Come up with six of them. Now, you know exactly who you're hunting now. You know exactly who to go after then what I do is I have my clients then do a bunch of research in the sense that, which organizations can you find that meet that criteria?
It's not overly time consuming because we already put in the hard work we already put into difficult tasks. They might come back with 26 organizations, right? That's all we're going to cold call for the next couple of weeks. It's quality over quantity. Would you want to go out and have a low quantity meal or a low-quality meal with your spouse? Would you want to go watch a low-quality movie with a crush? No, just for the same reason, you wouldn't want to make low quality cold calls. So, we have a list of 26 because these organizations are all similar because these entities have a lot in common. Now we can customize a script. That's going to appeal to an organization. I like that we may have to change it a little bit because every organization is slightly different, but rather than spending copious amounts of time, researching each person a tremendous amount of time researching each organization, just figuring out what profile would any ideal client have still in specifics, which individuals and organizations meet that criteria. And then let's build a script around.