I have been a fan of new business, sales guru, Art Sobczak, for the past 15+ years. He is one of those subject matter experts that I agree with about 99% of the time. When I read his blogs or other materials, I think “yes- makes perfect sense” and tend to nod in agreement.
The other thing I really like about Art is that he’s a no frills, tell it like it is, guy. No fluff, no puppies and kittens… sales advice, served straight up.
So, when Art released his new book, “Smart Calling… Eliminate the Fear, Failure and Rejection From Cold Calling”, I was intrigued. With all the sales books and sales blogs out there, is there really anything new to say about cold calling!!??
I read Art’s book over a weekend. It was clear, easy to read and easy to understand. The overall concept of Smart Calling encompasses three key steps and the book provides supporting advice for each. Here are some highlights….
Step One: Acquiring intelligence about people, companies and industries, prior to speaking with the decision maker
- Art provides some helpful ideas on how to leverage other employees within a target organization (other than the decision maker) to prep for your sales approach including Customer Service, Human Resources and even Accounts Payable.
- Chapter 8 is devoted to working with screeners, gatekeepers and assistants. Art recommends that you “treat the screener as you would the buyer” and provides examples of how to engage through asking for help and asking questions. Scott-Vincent Borba, CEO of Borba skin care products is quoted, “Treat executive assistants like CEOs, since they are the decision maker’s most trusted advisor”.
- Although not new, the books covers things like sales trigger events, using the company’s website, blogs and social networking sites, to gather intelligence about your targets.
Step Two: Using that information within a proven, prospecting and sales process, speaking in a conversational, consultative dialogue that puts both you and the prospect at ease
- Art recommends avoiding these words and phrases in the first 10 seconds of a call: “just”, “wanted to introduce myself”, any mention of the product or service and anything that sounds salesy. He advises that you have about 7 seconds to put the person into a positive, receptive frame of mind.
- There are some great ideas about leaving voicemail messages, the best times to call, and using unconventional times and days to set you apart from the other salespeople.
“If we can differentiate a dead chicken you can differentiate anything”. Frank Perdue, Founder of Perdue Farms
Step Three: Consequently helping prospects take actions (buying from you) that they feel good about and from which they gain value.
- The book covers best practices for using smart questions, listening, wrapping up calls and gaining a commitment on next steps.
“ The right word may be effective, but no word was ever effective as a rightly timed pause” Mark Twain
The Smart Calling model does encompass elements that I have heard before, but is still worth reviewing by anyone new to prospecting, or who is looking to refresh their approach. What sets this books apart from the glut of other sales books, is the very specific advice Art provides to attack each step. He gives very clear examples of the “don’ts”, step-by-step instructions on the “dos” and interesting, real life examples of how this approach works and gets results.
Smart Calling sends a clear message that the traditional approach which includes getting past the gatekeeper and overcoming objections, is outdated.
Any other fans of Art? Read the book? Please add your comments….