Series: Cold Calling
A transcript of
this course led by Dan Blanchard, of AdvantEdge Coaching October 10,
Click here for the
Dan: Welcome to the call. Who's joined us today? (participants check
in). Thomas, do you want to begin moderating?
TJL: Okay; this is Thomas Leonard; Dan's the star today. Welcome to
cold calling with Dan Blanchard. Welcome, Dan. If you would give us
a bit of background and tell us a bit about why you chose this topic
Dan: Well, I coach sales people, primarily the way you coach your
clients. Before I was a coach, I was a sales trainer; in that
business, I did a fair bit of cold calling. When I did it, I didn't
necessarily enjoy doing it, but when I did it, I got results. When I
got into coaching, I quit doing it, and moved on to working with the
attraction principles, clean sweep program, etc. This spring, I lost
a major client, and so I got back on the phone and got some real
TJL: Is it because this was something less onerous than it was
Dan: No, I needed some money fast. I noticed when I got on the phone
and made cold calls, something happened. The one difference was that
I took some of our own coaching medicine, and instead of providing
my own motivation, I got some that worked for me.
TJL: Are you advocating coaches using this method to break into the
Dan: Only if you want to.
TJL: There's a difference between hard sell, cold calling, etc. What
are your distinctions today?
Dan: I think it's just if you want to do it. There really is no hard
sell calling, but there is high pressure selling, and I don't
respond to that.
TJL: Does this work best with the corporate market, or is it a
universal skill set?
Dan: I think it's probably universal, but one or two of the biggest
points I use are from CoachVille. For example, those you can't help,
shoo them away real quick, and get on to someone you can help.
TJL: What gives you the confidence to pick up the phone and dial a
number that you haven't dialed before? I must be missing that gene!
Dan: I don't know; I think I'm missing that gene too, but I do know
that it works. I don't necessarily really enjoy cold calls, but I do
like the results.
TJL: Well, I'll turn it over to you.
Dan: I've coached a number of people and I don't think that we as
coaches are any more sensitive or intuitive than any one else. These
are the 3 main tips that helped me. Lesson #1: In order to get
business from cold calling, you don't have to be good at it; you
just have to do it. I don't think there's any particular skill to
master, you just do it. I'm not even that big on being persistent.
If they don't want to be on the call, I just get off.
TJL: I've always been thinking that I'm interrupting them and they
don't want to talk to me.
Dan: I think the biggest thing is that people don't want to have
sales calls. Back in May, I made 100 calls, that led to 10
interviews, and that led to 2 clients for a total of $51,000 in
revenue, and I really didn't sell. I called presidents, and vice
presidents, and told them straight off, "This is a sales call, do
you want to hang up?"
TJL: Do you say what you're calling about first?
Dan: Well, I briefly introduced myself and what I do, then mentioned
this was a sales call.
TJL: Is your hang up rate very high?
Dan: Believe it or not, not very!
TJL: You just say that it's a sales call, right up front?
Dan: Yes, I'm just pinpointing that right up front. A lot of people
give you their 2 minutes that way. The biggest sale I made from that
was an ongoing project bringing in $4,000 per month, and that was a
call to a president who told me that that was the only thing I
could've said that wouldn't have made him hang up!
TJL: You basically then set a full day aside and just dial and know
that it works out pretty well?
Dan: I know that, but in the moment you forget that. That's kind of
point #2. I arrange a point structure and a game. I called a buddy
and we committed to each making these certain calls. We were there
to inspect each other. I knew if I had someone come over to inspect
me, I wouldn't give up easily.
TJL: And you find that works well?
Dan: Yes, because then you can't cheat! That helps a lot.
TJL: So, if you work out the math - if you're doing 100 calls and
walked away with $50,000 in revenue, each call was worth $500.
Dan: I figured that out too, and that motivated me too! (laugh)
TJL: I remember when I was a stockbroker, I would take 100 $10-bills
and move each bill from one stack to the other as I made the calls.
Dan: Yes, it's sort of tricking yourself. I haven't done any more of
these days since then, but need to plan another one, so….
TJL: So it's like a quarterly day of medicine?
Dan: Yes, I sent something out on this to everyone. Did you get it?
XXX: Yes (multiple voices)
TJL: Where do you get the names?
Dan: I've worked well in the past with entrepreneurs and sales
people, so I got a business directory for the Dallas area, got rid
of the big companies and the really little companies, and called
from the rest of the list.
TJL: How do you break through the secretary?
Dan: I don't try to break through; I tell them the same thing, and
if I can't talk to him, I get lost. If they don't know what to do
with it, they usually put the call through.
TJL: Plus, if you say what you do, and if they see a need for that,
they'll put you through.
Dan: Yes, but if not, I'd rather get a "no" in 3 seconds than fight
with anybody over it.
TJL: Then, do you ever get treated badly? Are people rude with you?
Dan: I think the approach I'm advocating basically disallows that.
By telling them up front, what's the worst they can do to you? I
don't think you can get treated badly, if you don't fight.
TJL: And what's your 3rd point?
Dan: We've kind of touched on them all, but I would say, "Don't
sell, coach." Make cold calls and offer to coach people, don't sell.
TJL: Would you be willing to work with someone on the call where
they play the prospective client?
TJL: Any volunteers?
Dan: This is Dan Blanchard and this is a sales call. Do you want to
hang up now?
Rob: Gee, if you wouldn't have gotten my interest, I would have, but
now I'm curious!
Dan: Okay, well I'm a professional coach who works with sales
people. I can work with someone to double their money and spend half
the time, if you're the right kind of person.
Rob: Wow, this is a major thing for my partners and I - we have a
sales person who's not doing very well, and I'd certainly like to
see our sales people deliver.
Dan: Okay, would you like to talk some more?
Rob: Okay, but I really don't understand coaching…
Dan: I don't either. Rob, I get where you're coming from. At this
point, the best thing to do would be to invite me to come over and
spend about 30 minutes talking to you and your partners about it.
TJL: And that's good enough at this point?
Dan: Yes, I don't want to mess around with their time any more than
that at this point.
TJL: So you're actually demonstrating what you deliver.
Dan: Yes, I'm all about help. You can hassle me if you want to, but…
TJL: So you're really calling to make an appointment, then. What if
you want to do the whole thing over the phone?
Dan: I'm okay with that, but most people would like to see you face
TJL: Down which tunnels would you go with someone over the phone?
Dan: If Rob and I were continuing, I would ask him what keeps him
awake about his sales force. Sales callers often try to describe
what they'd fix, and as coaches, we don't do that, so why do it
TJL: Do you provide suggestions and ideas, or do you listen to what
he's saying and segue into the cost of the problem?
Dan: Yes, that's basically it. I think it's valid no matter what
function you're talking about.
TJL: You're not really trying to coach them into a solution, but
just trying to get them excited to want to bring you in.
TJL: So you're just challenging them to be honest with themselves?
Dan: Yes, exactly.
TJL: So don't rush too quickly into the "magic star" selling
Dan: I would never do that, and am very conscious to not do that.
TJL: So, what are you selling then?
Dan: I would hope that I would have been to the point that I could
ask if they'd like their sales people to do what I'm doing now?
TJL: So you're "demo'ing" more than selling.
TJL: It's more show than tell.
Dan: Yes, precisely.
TJL: They're going to hire you because they're impressed by you,
rather than how much selling you did to them.
Dan: Yes, exactly.
TJL: Do you want to open it up to the group?
Dan: Yes, go ahead.
Judy: I can see where you actually demo what you're going to do. If
you're not coaching for sales, how would I demonstrate that in a
Dan: I don't think I'd change the approach very much. I think I'm
trying to be the most truthful I can be when I'm making a sales
call, and I think the same principle for a "Coach, don't sell"
TJL: So you want to demonstrate that you see the dynamic that
Dan: I had a client this morning who's hired a series of sales
people that have not prospected well, and I asked how much he
inspected them before he hired them. What we ended up doing is
having him take a prospective hire to a sales park and have them
TJL: Judy, do those questions work, or would this be a totally new
approach for you?
Judy: A totally new approach.
Dan: What would you ask them? If they said no, you know the follow
up question, but if they said yes, I would ask 'how do you know?
TJL: If you know, Dan, how would Judy do that one-minute intro?
Dan: I'd go back to know who you coach, what you want to do, and how
you can really help them.
TJL: So you're not positioning yourself as a coach who does it all,
Dan: Yes, that's right.
TJL: So part of what you would do to prep would be to make a list of
likely situations they're experiencing, so you can start phrasing
them in advance.
Dan: Yes, I wrote out a list of 100 sales points that I've coached
people on before, and they're very specific.
TJL: For example?
Dan: I've coached sales people on how to be nice.
TJL: And they pay you for that?
Dan: Yes, and I've gotten a 4-month coaching assignment in how to do
just that as well as a nice referral. I'm such a big supporter of
not telling them you're a coach, but what you do and how you help
people to solve their problems.
TJL: Okay, who's next?
Candy: If you're trying to sell the salespeople, and you've gotten
someone interested, do you go in to do a trial session, or do you
sell the package? I'd like to sell people who are brand new to the
auto industry, so would I sell them on selling the product, or give
them more information?
Dan: There are good questions in there. When I set up the
appointment, I would ask them what they'd like to get accomplished.
I'm going to be devoted to helping them make a decision and work it
around their agenda.
TJL: So don't get too excited and just say goodbye, but stick with
them for a few more minutes to see what they want to get
accomplished in the meeting?
TJL: Is part of your question whether you should bring up a package
or a program?
Candy: Yes, but you don't really know what package is good until you
know what they really want.
Dan: I don't think they care how you package stuff; most people
TJL: So you're saying that's a conversation that happens later?
Dan: Yes, and most corporations that want a program aren't the ones
I'd be calling on. I call the people who want something now and know
what they want. My attention span is not long, that's why I don't do
TJL: So in Candy's case, she wants to work with people that are new
to sales, and she talks about what she can do for them, and in what
length of time that'll happen?
Dan: Yes, I think that's the way to go at it.
TJL: Does that answer your question?
Candy: Yes, thanks.
Bob: I have a niche market of coaching international employees; what
I'm afraid of is that if I invited people not to participate if they
don't want to, that I might hit most of my market in one day.
Dan: I know what you're saying, and I don't think that'll happen.
I had a friend who was really good and his whole MO with a call like
this was to - for every call he made was to get 7 or 8 contacts.
People just wanted to talk about that. I don't know if it's relevant
here. I think the common fear is that if people tell me to get lost,
I'll be done in half an hour, and that just doesn't happen.
Bob: Yes, and I'm working with mid-size companies where I could
certainly get names of others in the company.
Dan: I'll bet if you went at it, I'll bet you find yourself talking
to a number of companies and trying to get rid of people.
TJL: What's your pitch, Bob? What do you say you do?
Bob: I work with international employees on language issues,
pronunciation and presentation skills and cross-cultural skills.
TJL: S it's for people coming from other countries into the US.
Bob: Yes, and some of it is language skills, where some of it is
presentation skills - using PowerPoint, for example.
TJL: They're going to be responding to pain.
Bob: Yes, and they're aware they've got people they've invested
money in and aren't doing well in written or oral communications.
I've even had an assignment to help international employees engage
in small talk.
TJL: So you're trying to Americanize their employees?
Bob: Not necessarily, but just try to help them feel more
TJL: How do you get them to change?
Bob: We give them options, and talk about why this might make others
TJL: So you try to make them trans-cultural?
Dan: Bob, I've got a suggestion for you. In all deference to Thomas,
I wouldn't worry about the phrasing here. If you invite a friend to
come over and not let you stop until you've called 100 companies. If
you call 25 and have 23 hang up on you, they're not going to
remember you, so you can call them back in a few weeks and you might
get a totally different response.
TJL: Would it give Bob more confidence to identify those one-liners?
Dan: It can't hurt, but my sense is that if we'd just go through it,
we'd find the words.
Bob: After a number of these, I'm going to get much better at it….
Rob: Could I have a follow-up on that? In his situation where he's
got people spread all over the country, how do you handle that next
face-to-face meting? Who pays for it?
Dan: I'd ask them to pay for it. If it's important enough for them,
they'll pay for it. It's really not much in the grand scheme, if
they think it's important.
Robert: A company recently flew me into Chicago just as an
exploration. Even though most of the work would take place on the
phone, they just wanted to meet me in person.
TJL: Did you charge for that?
Robert: No, they paid my expenses, but I didn't charge.
TJL: Any other questions?
XXX: A question about the game. How did you set it up with the other
Dan: There's a lot you can do with it. We wanted to make sure we
didn't put too much pressure on an outcome, but we decided hw many
times we wanted t dial the phone. I've played this before with an
insurance agent buddy of mine, and we would race to 25 dials in an
hour, and he had a whole bunch of 3-second calls. When I tried to
race, they could sense some purpose, and the more I tried to get rid
of them, the more they wanted to talk to me.
TJL: If you don't get a client immediately, momentum has been
initiated, and that itself is something you can't predict.
Dan: In fact I did a little speech yesterday that is a result of
calls 4 months ago, and a couple of prospects came out of the
speech. I think it's a good idea to keep track of the dollars per
dial, too. That kind of game is good stuff - and you have this in
the document I sent.
TJL: I don't file, but I bring in someone once a month and she
watches me file. If you don't trust yourself to do it yourself, why
not bring someone in? For some of you, you'll dislike it so much,
it'll force you to sell in other ways that are less painful for you.
It might be enough for you to evolve your entire approach to
Dan: Yes, absolutely. I like that you invite somebody to come over
and drink coffee while watching you file.
TJL: Yes, if you're relying upon yourself and it isn't happening,
give up and hire someone.
Now, I'd like to take a couple of minutes to do a debrief. What did
you learn on today's call?
Candy: I came in with an expectation of bringing something out of it
and I liked the part about telling them it was a sales call right up
Robert: These are the people I'm destined to work with, and I like
the idea of being willing to talk to the secretary - a great
TJL: Great; who else?
Bob: it got me an easy way out of the "coaching explanation" box.
TJL: Good. Who's next?
Jeff: I got that I don't have to be a professional sales person; I
just have to be a coach.
Dan: I like to put an attachment to the outcome.
TJL: Yes, something cannot NOT happen if you spend the day doing
this. Who's next?
Thank you, Dan, for your time today. Thanks for sharing with us!
Dan Blanchard is a personal and
professional coach who generously donated his time to help other
Coaches benefit from his expertise. He specializes in
helping business owners, entrepreneurs and sales professionals make
more money, work fewer hours, and enjoy great lives. Dan lives in
Dallas and has a 12-year old daughter, Danielle. She describes his
occupation as “He sits by the pool, gets on the phone, says “yadda
yadda yadda” and they pay him. It’s cool.”
If you wish, you can reach Dan at AdvantEdge Coaching at
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