Rob Frankel - Branding Expert

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The Cure for the Common Cold Call

There are many things in life that I really love. And I suppose I could get all flowery with textual pictures of kids, dogs and Pamela Anderson beckoning me with an "I need you now" kind of temptation -- but we're here to do business. So let me focus on the one few things I really hate.

I hate making cold calls.

One of the reasons I hate making cold calls is because I'm terrible at making them. Another is that I feel awkward. Unworthy of intruding on other people's time. And quite frankly, I've never been a big fan of rejection, so cold-calling has about as much appeal to me as a deply-infected mouth sore.

Of course, to grow your business, you've got to break out of your routine. You've got to meet new people. Expand your network. And hopefully, make new sales.

So how does a call-a-phobe like myself handle it? Simple: I don't make cold calls anymore.

I figured out that the problem with my cold-calling strategy was that I really WAS wasting people's time. I mean, who can blame the guy at the other end for getting ticked off, when all you do is call up to say hello? I must get a hundred calls a week from cold-callers who put on this cheery voice and start in with me, usually by the wrong name:

"Hi, is Rod Franklin in?" And it goes downhill from there.

Of course, I was doing no better myself with the old, "well, if you need anything, we're right here...yadayadayada." then I'd look at the clock to see how much time I'd wasted forcing myself to irritate unsuspecting strangers via the telephone.

So I adopted a new strategy. I vowed never to make a cold call again with the idea of selling something. I mean, never. I would, however, make a call to a stranger if I had a real business proposition for them and their company.

And that's when sales took off.

This, incidentally, is the root of what drive the FrankelBiz list. We're all here to do business, by proposing real, legitimate opportunities and meeting real, legitimate business partners. And that's what's gradually moving potential advertisers and sponsor participants over to the list. The fact that I can call these sponsors with a legitimate offer to expose their products ands services to a credible, serious group of web commerce professionals has so far yielded the following results:

1. They've not only taken my calls, they've responded to them

2. At least three companies are putting together packages to present to the FrankelBiz list, which include price breaks on their goods, and in some cases, remunerative referral agreements for FrankelBees.

Pretty neat, eh?

Sure, these kinds of arrangements take time to develop, but the important note here is that my select group of respondents didn't reject my call because I called them with something of interest to them. Call it an offer. Or an opportunity. In either case, I presented a "win-win" solution for them that was preset and required very little work on their part.

You can do the same for your business. The key is taking the focus off of YOUR agenda to make money, and spotlight your ability to help THEM make money. All you need is a concrete plan that's well constructed, easy to communicate and simple to implement. You'd be surprised how well you'll be received (Incidentally, a REAL pro can leave his ENTIRE program on voice mail before it cuts him off).

So fear not the cold call. But avoid the bullshit, phony "is <FIRST NAME> in today?" kind of crap that we all hate. Think of how you can truly make money for the other guy, and watch how much money he'll make for you.

Rob Frankel

Copyright 1998, FRANKEL & ANDERSON * Advertising, Marketing & Killer Creative SM

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