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Making Cold Contacts -- Austin Lean Startup Talk

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This outlines my system for contacting people cold whether by phone or otherwise. It parallels my experiences and my book (coldcallingbook.net).

I gave this talk to the Lean Startup group in Austin, TX on 20 Nov 2012.

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Making Cold Contacts -- Austin Lean Startup Talk

  1. 1. COLD CONTACT calling, emails, and more
  2. 2. OutlineKnow your customerFind your customersFind a channel to connectOffer valueMake sales or do interviews
  3. 3. Know Your CustomerThis is the most important step because it influences all otherdecisionsDon’t rushThis process speeds up with market experience
  4. 4. Research Specific ProspectsCompany Websites (Who links to them?)BlogsProducts, TrialsSocial Media, FollowerWonkMarketing materials: email, whitepapers, social mediaIndustry groups
  5. 5. A fork in the roadValue offerSimple pitch
  6. 6. Results After implementing your techniques my email tointerview conversion rate went from zero to 25% in one market and 75%(!) in another. -Nick Karrasch
  7. 7. Value OfferEducation-based marketing Teach them something usefulOffer them something free Promotion
  8. 8. Value OffersAwardsPromotionContestsResearchWhitepapers
  9. 9. Whitetail ScoutIntended for ranches that breed trophy whitetail deerI offered to visit their ranch, take pictures, interview them, andpublish it on an industry blog I maintainedhttp://whitetailsoftware.com/2011/07/how-i-got-a-100-conversion-rate-cold-calling-prospects-for-customer-development/
  10. 10. DonorElfIntended for non-profits to manage donor relationshipsOffered to provide exposure for quality non-profits on bestpractices in donor-managementContent serves as customer promotion, content marketing, andfodder for later whitepapers, podcasts, videos, etc.
  11. 11. Quantity Has a Quality All its OwnNo commitment to a marketLow up-front investment in time and moneyLower conversion ratesStill involves research, specific worksFrame things to start conversations
  12. 12. Specific > General“talk business”“talk about your e-book”“how do you market your e-book?”“how do you rank for the best long-tail keywords for your e-bookon tying flies?”
  13. 13. Spark conversation...Listen.We both went to Texas!What year did you graduate from Texas?
  14. 14. List BuildingGooglePublic LibrariesGovernment RegistriesProfessional OrganizationsConferencesPurchase, Outsource
  15. 15. Plan for multiple contactsKeep the initial talk shortUse phone or email contact to schedule time laterWork them through a process, offer them value...
  16. 16. ScriptingTemplate your emails and callsTailor your template to each prospect
  17. 17. Script Example: EmailGreetingConnectionPraisePitchCloseSignature
  18. 18. Script Example: Email Hi John,Your blog post on closing deals was excellent. Youridea to catalog prospect objections is something Ineed to execute more effectively. I also run a blog onbest practices for insurance brokers. Would you beinterested in a 30-minute interview via Skype orphone? Good luck with your booth at ABC this year.Thanks,Gary
  19. 19. (Bad) Script Example: Call“Hi. I’m Robert Graham and I’m aninternet entrepreneur working onsoftware for deer management. Ithought you might be interested inthis project and I’d love to chat withyou about it for fifteen minutes.”
  20. 20. (Bad) Script Example: Call“Hi I’m Robert Graham. I’m reallyinterested in learning more about deermanagement. I noticed you guys onthe [location] and was impressed byyour work on [thing]. I was hopingyou could chat with me for a fewminutes about it.”
  21. 21. Script Example: Call“Hi, I’m Robert and I run a blogfocused on deer management. I amlooking for a few people to visit, touryour facilities, and talk with you aboutyour business. I can then write up theexperience and link you up on theblog.”
  22. 22. Script Breakdown Subject: Strange questionHi FirstName,I came across your website from yellowpages.ca in my searchfor established local Vancouver accountants. Im doing someresearch on the biggest challenges in the accounting industry,and I was wondering if you could help me by answering onesimple question. Im not associated with any company and Imnot selling anything, Im just putting together this report for apersonal assignment, and Id be happy to share it with youwhen its complete.
  23. 23. Script BreakdownIf you can spare a couple minutes, can you please answer thequestion: What are the 3 biggest ongoing challenges you faceas an Accountant?If youd prefer to speak to me in person you can contact meon 555 555 5555 or you can reply to this email with aconvenient time for me to call you (or Id be happy to buy youa coffee anywhere in downtown Vancouver).
  24. 24. Email: SubjectsCritical to responsesVary your subjects to testTips - think headlines Summarize the email Be honest Be specific
  25. 25. Questions to Dig Deeper• What is the most important activity in your business? ◦ Do you have any pain associated with that?• What would you say are your top 3 problems or frustrations you face as a Marketing consultant? ◦ How do you currently tackle this problem?• If you could wave a magic wand to make something in your working life easier, what would it be?• Do you know anyone else I could talk to or any networking events where I could speak to more marketing consultants?
  26. 26. Digging Deeper1.Take me through a typical days workflow for you. (force them to go painfully step by step and see which things they complain about)2.Ask for a list of software they already have or pay for and how they use it. Who uses it? How much? How do they like it? Can I speak to them next week?3.How do you acquire customers?4.What do you do to make yourself different from other firms? What is your edge?
  27. 27. Take NotesBasic demographicsSpecific kinds of jobs, detailsWhen you call, if they answer, gatekeepers, excusesPitch usedPlanned follow up dateHow they respond
  28. 28. Take Notes: PostmortemTweak your script based on responseRecord objections and brainstorm responsesRecord jargonHighlight anything they emphasize about their businessNote anything that caused you to lose composure
  29. 29. Follow UpMake it systematicMake it personalContact them when you say you will, follow up builds trust
  30. 30. Key Differences Between Calls and EmailOpening lines versus subject linesConfidence versus word-smithingHarder to hang up on you than ignore an emailScary to callInstant feedback versus unknown status
  31. 31. Case Study: Insurance BrokersLet’s look at an example.
  32. 32. Case Study: Insurance Brokers
  33. 33. Case Study: Insurance Brokers
  34. 34. Case Study: Insurance Brokers
  35. 35. Case Study: Insurance Brokers
  36. 36. Case Study: Insurance Brokers
  37. 37. Case Study: Insurance Brokers
  38. 38. Case Study: Insurance Brokers
  39. 39. Case Study: Insurance Brokers
  40. 40. Case Study: Insurance Brokers
  41. 41. Case Study: Insurance Brokers
  42. 42. Case Study: Insurance Brokers
  43. 43. Questions Blog: whitetailsoftware.com Email me: rgraham@whitetailsoftware.com Book: coldcallingbook.net“This book is practically guaranteed to more than pay for itselfand then some! I am a financial tight-wad so this was veryimportant to me!...I recently hired someone, and just told themto read Robert’s book for sales training.“- Jimmy Moncrief