INSIDE Inside Sales – Ep 23: The Anatomy of a Cold Call

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There are two words that once spoken, can almost immediately create a mental block and unwillingness like no other: Cold Call! Why is it that these words are anathema to so many in the sales profession? To some, it’s a trivial exercise that’s one of those steps they’d just rather avoid. To others, it’s a stripping away of their security blankets, exposing their self-doubt for all to see. Chris Beall, the Rockstar CEO from ConnectandSell.com doesn’t see it that way. On this episode of INSIDE Inside Sales, Chris forensically disassembles cold calls and shows us how to take advantage of the interruptions they can create. He’ll also guide us into how we can use cold calls as an amazing tool for working with our prospects towards solving shared problems, and eventually making that sale!


Not in the mood to listen? No problem, you can read the transcriptions below.


Host:  Darryl PraillVanillaSoft

Guest: Chris Beall, ConnectAndSell

 

Darryl Praill: We are back for another episode of INSIDE Inside Sales. How are you doing today, folks? My name is Darryl Praill. As always, I am your host. I traveled the world looking for the most intelligent, the most knowledgeable, the most insightful, the most funny, the most engaging, the most experienced individuals to join me on a weekly conversation where we talk about the pragmatic meat and potatoes, how do I get stuff done for the sales development reps. It’s all about actionable advice that you can implement immediately. If I’ve done my job right, if I have not, please reach out on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, whatever social media platform you want to. I even get email. And send me your feedback, that’d be fantastic. By the way, I haven’t asked this for a while. If you want to share this or review this or like this or just basically spread the word about the INSIDE Inside Sales show, I’d be grateful, I’d be very grateful.

Darryl Praill: Today is a cool show. I have got Chris Beall. Now if you don’t know who Chris Beall is, I would suggest politely and respectfully that you’re sitting somewhere dark and with all outside external media turned off. Chris is the President and CEO of ConnectAndSell. ConnectAndSell has been around for a few years now. But what’s really cool about ConnectAndSell is a couple things. One, they’ve got this whole platform, I’ll let Chris describe it shortly, that is all about just … Well, I call it just volume, just volume and intelligence to go and just reach a much broader audience through the phone and other vehicles than you on your own can do. That’s what’s really cool, so he’ll explain that shortly. But what’s even more cool is that when you take the tenure of a company like ConnectAndSell with all the customers they’ve had, with all the thousands upon thousands upon thousands of calls that their clients and their platform have made, you start to learn a thing or two. And I thought if ever there was an individual who could come onto our show and say “Let’s talk about the anatomy of a cold call, let’s break it down,” it’s Chris. So with that as the buildup, he’s on LinkedIn, follow him right now, check out … Google ConnectAndSell. Check them out. But with that, Chris, welcome to the show.

Chris Beall:Darryl. Excited to be here.

Darryl Praill: How long has ConnectAndSell been around, Chris? I mean, you guys have been around for a bit now.

Chris Beall: Yeah, I’ve been around for, I guess, 12 years doing exactly what we’ve always done, which is … We’re like the simplest thing in the world. You push a button and you talk to somebody. We haven’t thought of act two yet. We’re just still doing act one.

Darryl Praill: Do you know what act two is going to be? Or is that proprietary information that you can’t share?

Chris Beall: Oh, we don’t have much imagination. So I’d be guessing. But I have a strong suspicion sometime this year we’re going to take it mobile. I know we should have done that a long time ago. But there are folks who’d love to talk to people while they’re on the road and we want to make that easy too.

Darryl Praill: And we see that a lot at VanillaSoft too we are having the exact same conversation, so that’s probably a smart move. If that were to happen, you might have heard it here first, folks. Alright, now for … How did I do at representing your solution? I know you’ve got like an elevator pitch that you probably have given a thousand times, but for somebody who’s not familiar with ConnectAndSell … And I don’t always ask this of my guests, but I’m asking you today because it really is relevant to the base conversation. So talk to me about ConnectAndSell a little bit.

Chris Beall: What ConnectAndSell does is it let’s an SDR, anybody in or audience here who their employer is kind enough to let them use it, it just lets them talk to a lot more people with no effort. So everybody knows now it’s so hard to get folks on the phone. It’s like a one in 20 shot. You dial, you navigate a phone system, you go to voicemail, over and over and over. It kind of started in 2005, really, if you look back at the history. It became very, very hard to get people on the phone. And ConnectAndSell is just a way that combines technology and people actually behind the scenes to make that whole mess go away. And all you do is you push a button and you talk to somebody on your list, usually in three or four minutes. So it’s kind of obnoxious, you have to wait a little bit, but you don’t have to dial, you don’t have to do any work at all. Like calling an Uber. You push a button, you talk to somebody on your list. And that’s about it. Everything else is technical stuff that nobody should care about. We integrate to your CRM…But the big deal is the fight is won inside the conversation, we give you 10 times more conversations, 10 times more chances to win that fight.

Darryl Praill: And a big part of that, correct me if I’m wrong, is part of the secret sauce is that you’re dialing someone at scale. So whereas, in your example, I’m making one call, then I work through the system, I leave my voicemail. Then I make my next call and this serial process happens over and over again. You’re doing a lot more than one call simultaneously, are you not?

Chris Beall: We are. We’re generally doing five or six. Each one is navigated by a call navigation expert whose whole job is to navigate single dials. And they’re really, really good at it. We give them great technology. You never see them though, you never hear them. They’re behind the scenes and they never talk to your target. That’s the key to the whole thing. So it’s a normal phone call. If I were on your list, Darryl, you would log in to ConnectAndSell, you would choose one of your lists, you would dial a single phone number for the entire time you were going to talking to people. And then when you want to talk to somebody, you just click this big, green go button. If I were the lucky one and if my phone rings, I answer it “This is Chris.” The next voice I hear is you and it’s instantaneous. There’s nothing in between.

Darryl Praill: Alright. So why did I let Chris have this platform a little bit to talk about ConnectAndSell, beyond the fact that it’s a really cool technology? This is why. Because what happens when you’re using a tool like ConnectAndSell platform really, is that you get a lot more time to focus on live conversations than you would normally. So now that you’ve gone to the time and effort to utilize a tool like a ConnectAndSell, or even if you’re not using ConnectAndSell and you’re doing this yourself with your own tools, your own initiative, when you get them on the phone, that is nirvana. I’ve got a live person on the phone. One in 20, as Chris says. How do you structure? How do you break that call down so that you make sure you take every opportunity to maximize that connection, which hopefully leads to a sales qualified lead and eventually and opportunity and it’s forecasted in a deal? So it’s that moment, it’s that moment in time they say “Hello” and what do you do?

Darryl Praill: So Chris, we talked a bit about this when we were prepping for the show and one of the things you brought up, which I thought was so simple, yet it is … How do I put this? It’s so overlooked. You raised the point is, and you can correct me if I got this wrong, you said “Darryl, a lot of sales reps, they don’t know what the problem is that they’re trying to solve for the prospect.” So is that true, yes or no? And how does that relate to today’s topic, the anatomy of a cold call?

Chris Beall: Yeah, I would say there’s almost no cases where you know with confidence what the prospect’s business problem is. In fact, if you knew what their business problem was for real, you actually knew that in advance, then the whole cold calling process becomes pretty trivial. But unfortunately, publicly available information doesn’t really tell us about what somebody’s business problem is and often we’re tempted to say “Well, then let’s go for rapport based on something we learn about the person.” But that’s problematic too because if you call me up, for instance, and you tell me what college I went to, I already know what college I went to. You’re not really providing me with value. So when you go one route, you’re trying for value, “Hey, let’s guess at your business problem,” but we tend to be wrong. And if we go another route, which is more personal, we tend to end up in another place, which is there’s no value in telling somebody what they already know about themselves.

If you call me up and tell me what college I went to, I already know what college I went to. That's problematic - You're not really providing me with value. ~ @chris8649 #ColdCalling #Prospecting Click To Tweet

Chris Beall: So what’s so interesting is we don’t know what the problem is, and yet if we think about it, the problem is situational. I interrupted you. I am an interruption. That’s your problem right now. When I get you on a cold call and I’m seeing the world through your eyes, I’m seeing one and only one thing. Hey, I was doing something else. I was headed into a meeting. I had plans and my phone rang and I answered the phone. Now I’ve got a problem. And the problem is the rep. The problem, as the cold caller, is me. And this, I think, is the big breakthrough and I’ll call it a different anatomy of a cold call. It’s universal. It’s based on just being a human. They’re doing work, they’re doing whatever, they’re with their family, it doesn’t really make any difference. You are the problem when you interrupt somebody. And that sounds bad and it turns out that it’s wonderful.

Darryl Praill: Alright, so said like a veteran public speaker. Did you notice what he did there, folks? And that’s wonderful, which is the cliffhanger, which is begging me to ask him “Well, why is that wonderful?” But before I do, and I am going to do that, I want to ask you a question. Actually, I want to share with you. A few episodes ago, I actually brought on David Hood who is the CEO of Vanilla Soft here, and he and I kind of bonded in that episode over every kind of outreach attempt we get, that interruption, love that word, it’s exactly the word he used as well, whether it’s by phone, email, social, because they’re all interruptions. Phone is certainly one of the channels. And he made the same comment.

Darryl Praill: So I’m building up to something here, guys. You’ll here a lot of people talking about artificial intelligence and all these tools to go and find out to the point that Chris made earlier, that “Oh, I see that you’re a skier online” or that “You’re from New York City,” whatever. Working at social signals, social clues. I had one earlier this week where the individual said “Hey, Darryl. I just saw that you’ve been named one of the top 19 marketers to follow in 2019.” And David made the comment and I fully endorsed it, it was like “I know that already. Why are you wasting my time because yes, I know I’m a skier, or yes, I know I’m from New York City, or yes I know I won that award, and I have no idea what relevance this makes to this conversation, which is an interruption.” So I want to take you off track there a little bit, Chris, and ask you why are people using those? Do they really think that little bit of social nuance, that connection, results in a higher converting, more engaged interruption?

Chris Beall: I don’t know if they think that or not. They certainly don’t have strong evidence for it. I think it’s comforting to the rep to think I know a little something about you, so that’ll give me a way of starting a conversation without dealing with the awkward fact. You know, the elephant in the room is I’m the elephant in the room. I interrupted you. I am an interruption. That’s the elephant. And they don’t want to talk about the elephant. They want to talk about something else. So it’s comfortable. And it sounds reasonable. Hey, you know, it’s personalized, right? Maybe it’ll help. And there’s evidence from emails that maybe personalized subject lines work better, personalized emails work better than even worse emails. But the fact is when you interrupt a live human being, because the interruption with a phone call is a different class of interruption. I can skip over an email easily. But it’s harder to hang up on somebody, it really is. And senior executives really don’t like hanging up on people. They didn’t get to be senior executives by being boorish. They normally got pretty good manners. And so you presented this poor person with a quandary and the rep is nervous about having done that and so they’re seeking a security blanket and that little piece of research, that little piece of information kind of feels good, whether it does anything or not. And it tends not to do anything positive.

The 🐘 elephant in the room is I'm the elephant in the room. I interrupted you. I am an interruption. That's the elephant. ~ @chris8649 #ColdCalling #SalesTips Click To Tweet

Darryl Praill: And I would agree with that. David said the same thing. I like your metaphor of it’s a security blanket more for the rep than it is for the prospect. So lesson number one today, folks. You don’t really need that, and I would suggest that anybody who tells you that’s going to help you, I would tell you that they haven’t sold. Chris told us that the interruption is a wonderful thing. When we come back from this break, we’re going to find out why it’s a wonderful thing. Don’t go anywhere, guys. We’ll be right back.

Darryl Praill: Alright, we’re back and that was … That commercial was killing me because I actually really want to learn why the interruption is a wonderful thing. I’ve never heard an interruption referred to as a wonderful thing. So Chris, the floor is yours. Why is the interruption a wonderful thing?

Chris Beall: The interruption’s a wonderful thing because it creates a problem. If you can get in a relationship with someone at the very beginning where you’re mutually solving a problem, you will move the trust needle in the right direction. And you see this in everyday life all the time. If you were to go to the store, you pull up and you see somebody who’s struggling with some bags of groceries, they’re trying to get them in the back of a car, or whatever’s happening. Say the wind is blowing and they’re struggling. They have a problem. If you were to introduce yourself ever so briefly and help them get those bags into the car, you now have a relationship that has got a little bit of trust in it. And if you’re going to have a future relationship, you’ve got to start with little relationship, little trust. So that problem, I am an interruption, is a problem that you can propose to solve. And by solving the problem in a way that actually works for the person you’ve interrupted, you move the trust needle.

Chris Beall: So I asked Christopher Voss this question, the author of Never Split the Difference, FBI hostage negotiator formerly, and I asked him “How long do we have to create trust?” By which I meant, after a certain amount of time, when does it get hard? And he said seven seconds. Wow, seven seconds. What do you need to do in seven seconds? He said “It’s simple. Establish that you see the world through their eyes and show that you’re competent.” And the way that you do that is you say “I am the problem.” There’s a special way of saying it that we’ll talk about here, but you make it clear. I know I am the problem. See, there’s the problem. And then you put forward a possible solution. And if they accept the solution, you’ve moved the trust needle and you have a relationship.

Darryl Praill: You’re reminding me of Benjamin Dennehy. He’s done a lot of stuff. He’s a big phone advocate and typically how he starts his cold calls is not unlike what you’re describing where he doesn’t say “Hi, it’s Benjamin. How are you today? I’m with ConnectAndSell.” He doesn’t do any of that. He simply says … He doesn’t even introduce himself. He says “Hi, full discloser, this is a sales call. Are you okay to move forward?” And it just interrupts, right? But, there is a path to resolution. No, I’m not. Okay, fine. Hang up and I move on to the next dial. Or yes. Now you’ve got permission. And he’s had great success with that. But I’m curious, why seven seconds, and then how do you do that when these are complete strangers other than a name on a screen?

Chris Beall: Yeah, I thought it was eight seconds when I met Chris and he said “No, you’re wrong. It’s seven seconds.” But he told me what to do and we had already discovered. The one that we stumbled into several years ago, one of our reps was doing it and we saw a huge increase in conversion rates. And it turned out the big reason for that was he was just getting people to stay on the phone a little bit longer to listen to him. And what this rep of ours was saying was “I know I’m an interruption.” That was the first thing he would say. “I know I’m an interruption.” Just like that. And then he would say “Can I have 27 seconds to tell you why I called?”

Chris Beall: And I put this in front of Chris Voss and said “Does that work?” And he said “Sure.” When you say “I know I’m an interruption,” you are clearly saying “I see the world your way. You know I’m an interruption. I know I’m an interruption.” And it implicitly, this is the problem. And then you propose a solution. And he said “The solution to the problem should be a plan that shows competence. It should be time-bounded and it should have something that that person does and something you do.” So what are they going to do? They’re going to listen to it? What am I going to do? I’m going to tell them why I’ve called. How long is it going to take? No more than 27 seconds. I must be competent.

Darryl Praill: It’s so crazy how you say that, because again, Benjamin does something similar. He says, what I talked about already, “Can I have 30 seconds of your time and then you can make a decision whether to hang up or not.” I actually like 27 better. I think, again, it’s atypical. So it’s intriguing. What can you do in 27 seconds? I will listen for 27 seconds because I just want to hear your spiel because that’s pretty cool. So I love that. But here’s the challenge. Whether it’s 30 or 27 seconds, I’ve got a very finite window and I have effectively zero research other than the name on the screen in front of me. How do I connect? What do I do in those 27 seconds? How can I be effective with zero research?

Chris Beall: So the answer to that question is first don’t put people in random lists. Put them in lists that hypothetically share a class of problems. Secondly, don’t just tell them about what you’re going to do for their company. Say something that’s emotionally compelling, preferably something that has an economic component and that has a pure emotional component that has to do with them. So whatever you say to them, you need to set it up in a way that causes them to listen. We tend to focus on the phrase “I believe we’ve discovered a breakthrough.” And the reason we use that phrase is that “I believe” is a universal way for one human being to say to another “Listen to me. This is important.” “We have discovered,” takes the ego from the “I believe” away and replaces it with curiosity about who is we, and by the way, you didn’t say you’re the leader at the blah, blah, blah. You discovered something. Discoveries are interesting. So what we’re trying to do is take trust, a little bit of trust, and turn it into curiosity. Because it’s curiosity that’ll make somebody take the meeting. So I believe we have discovered a breakthrough. Breakthroughs are universally interesting. They’re a little bit outrageous. How could you have a breakthrough?

@chris8649 offers two tips for #ColdCalling: 1) Don't put people in random lists. 2) Say something that's emotionally compelling. #Prospecting #SalesTips Click To Tweet

Chris Beall: And then you say something to the person that speaks to them. Here’s how I think is the best way to imagine that. Imagine that after a hard day at work … Say this person is a person that likes indulge in a beer or two after a hard day at work and you happen to sit down next to this person, somebody with this job at the end of that day, and it wasn’t a good day. It wasn’t horrible. It was just kind of like a standard bad day. And you ask him “You know, what is it about your job that really drives you crazy?” And they’ll tell you. And if you can take that and put it after this phrase “I believe we’ve discovered a breakthrough that completely eliminates …” and have that bad thing have an economic dimension and have it have a pure emotional dimension, you probably will get them to listen to the next thing, which is “The reason I reached out to you today is to get 15 minutes in your calendar to share a breakthrough with you. Do you happen to have your calendar available?” So if you do all that, you’re success rate will be radically higher than if you do research and try to tailor the conversation to what you imagine that research told you.

Darryl Praill: What I’ve heard Chris say is that when you get them on the call, first thing you want to do is you want to embrace the fact that you are an interruption, but then you can turn that around to build trust by acknowledge your interruption and using that as an opportunity to move the ball forward. If I get a little bit of trust now, then I’m going to come to a resolution on this interruption, then I will trust you more and more. Then you turn into physically helping paint the problem, you’re making it obvious, right? So because I’m an interruption, I can resolve this within 27 seconds. So there’s my resolution. And then, you’re moving into the next stage, which is, remember you have zero research here, which is “I imagine …” So you know, imagine a situation, imagine if you’re this person, imagine if you have this problem. So you’re describing a scenario that they can highly, likely relate to in their role because Chris said you want to use the lists that are relevant, right? So it could be an industry, it could be a persona, it could be whatever. It could be technology. Maybe they all use Salesforce. I’m making this up. Or a combination thereof. So you can make some educated, informed assumptions there.

Darryl Praill: I believe I have a solution. In other words, so here was this situation, the scenario. If you can relate to that, I think I have a solution. Now your prospects intrigued. And the reason I reached out today is to talk about can we get 15 minutes in your schedule where I can actually walk you through it, so to speak? So now you’re creating a desire to have resolution and giving them permission to talk to them and you can see how the trust factor has changed dramatically. Is that the easiest and simplest and most effective way to close the meeting, Chris? “The reason I reached out today was to move on to another meeting, in 15 minutes on your calendar,” yada yada yada, or what?

Chris Beall: Yes. It is. And it is especially if you defend it. And the way you defend it is against the number one attack, which is “Tell me more. Oh, that’s interesting, tell me more.” The reasons somebody’s asked that or says “Tell me more” is they want you to tell them more so that they can say “I’m set.” And that way they’ve preserved their self-image as a good person and they get off the call. You can’t let them get to “I’m set.” So when somebody says “Tell me more,” or any of the other, I call them the Venus Flytrap Objections, they’re trying to suck you in so they can spit you out later, you just say this. “You know, we’ve learned the hard way that an ambush conversation like this is an unfair setting to discuss something that’s important. How’s next Wednesday morning?”

'I'm set,' 'Tell me more' - I call these the Venus Flytrap Objections, they're trying to suck you in so they can spit you out later. 😖 ~ @chris8649 #ColdCalling #Prospecting Click To Tweet

Darryl Praill: And I mean they can still bail. “No, I’m good, I’m set.” And then if they’re set they’re set. And then you move on and it’s a numbers game. We all know that. But what I do like about that is you’re making the decision theirs. They’re buying in. They’re buying in. They’re giving you permission and trust is firmly established now and when they give you permission, “Yeah, next Wednesday morning works for me,” now we have an understanding of what we’re going to talk about next Wednesday morning, so we’re no longer strangers and you can follow-up on that. So that next meeting starts, builds off the trust and builds off the agreed upon common problem and solution that I hinted at in our initial call. So I love that. Is “I’m set,” is that like the number one objection that you’re seeing in all the experience with ConnectAndSell and your clients?

Chris Beall: Absolutely. It is the face-saving objection and it’s right in there with “Send me some information,” which is another way of saying “I’m going to blow you off because I’ll get the information and say I’m set.” What they’re trying to do is to get your breakthrough into a category that they already understand so they can not listen to it. And that’s what they’re trying to do. And you just have got to hold firm and go for the meeting.

Darryl Praill: So I love that. So let’s recap one more time here. The anatomy of a cold call, you need to understand what is the problem that you’re trying to solve for the prospect and the first thing is that you’re an interruption. How can you make that problem obvious and resolve it within seven seconds, to Chris and the hostage negotiator’s point, was to acknowledge the problem and offer up a solution. In the example again, 27 seconds. Without the research, you can still, if you’re segmenting your list correctly, you can create a scenario, imagine a situation if you can offer a solution, “I believe we’ve found,” “I believe we’ve uncovered,” “I believe we’ve created,” and then you can actually go for the close, “The reason I reached out today was to talk to you about this, but let’s move forward to the next meeting.” And if they counter with the Venus Flytraps, “I’m set,” “That’s interesting. Send me the information,” then you know how to respond accordingly. And that, in a nutshell, is the basic anatomy of a cold call. And when you look at the leading people in the space today, the leading trainers and coaches, they’re all saying variations of this. They might have different language, different dialogue, different catchphrases, but that’s the gist.

Darryl Praill: So if your cold call is not following this formula, I would suggest you have a couple of options in front of you. That you revisit your formula, or you try this formula maybe in an A/B. Do what you’re doing now, but do this formula, A/B, A/B, and figure out how does that work. Give it a week or two and see how it’s going on. Refine it. Or option number three, you can get some good training from all these sales leaders who have advocated this. Option number four, you go to someone like ConnectAndSell and let them coach you while using their platform at the same time. So those are just four options we’ve given you. Those are the anatomy of a cold call when you finally get that person live on the line. Chris, if they wanted to find you online, LinkedIn the best way or what do you suggest?

Chris Beall: LinkedIn is by far the best way. Chris8649, or look me up as Chris Beall. I’m the guy who publishes those obnoxious spreadsheets full of numbers.

Darryl Praill: And while he says they’re obnoxious, everybody I know loves seeing them because it’s always intriguing to compare yourself against the benchmarks that Chris is always sharing. So that’s fantastic. I love that. Guys and gals, we’re out of time. So for Chris Beall, follow him on LinkedIn, check out their site connectandsell.com, I believe that’s correct. Is that right, Chris? Connectandsell.com?

Chris Beall: That absolutely is. Absolutely.

Darryl Praill: There you go. And of course, as always, we’re coming at you week after week after week with pragmatic advice. If you enjoyed this, I bet you your colleagues will too. Spread the love, share the word, give us a good review on iTunes and every other podcast directory you are a part of. Subscribe to get every single episode as it comes in in real time. Until then, my name is Darryl Praill. You can find me on LinkedIn too. I shall see you soon. Take care, folks. Have a great day. You can find me on LinkedIn too. I shall see you soon.