I was talking with a business owner last week who’s line of work is consulting small businesses on how to streamline their manufacturing processes. The purpose of our meeting was to determine if it would be beneficial to create a strategic alliance where we could leverage each other’s expertise and share leads. As part of a prospecting plan, strategic alliances can pay off well if you find the right people.
During our conversation I asked him “how do you find your prospects?” His answer was referrals and networking. Since he has only been in business for 2 years I asked, “What seems to be the biggest challenge when developing new business?” His answer, “Not enough prospects in the pipeline. The economy is slow.” I asked him how often he picked up the phone and called business owners? He answered the same way most people answer when I ask that question, “Cold calls don’t work in my business and besides I don’t really have the time.”
I struggle with that answer because I have built a good book of business cold calling those very same small business owners.
His answer did not fit my reality. So, what is my reality?
At our office each of us are required to do 15,000 cold calls in the first 2 years. That is 40 a day. This takes about 1.5 hours if you have the phone numbers ready. You will talk to about 6-8 owners a day. Of those 1-2 will have some interest in what you do. I asked my colleague what other behavior could net you 30-40 conversations with business owners a week?
I tell my clients at our Thursday morning prospecting sessions that I don’t like making cold calls but the reality is…they work IF you do them correctly. Whether you struggle with the idea of picking up the phone without feeling like a pest or you have no problem calling people but your technique is old school, find a place where you can develop your skills in this area and it will pay!
- Jim Mattei