Here’s something often overlooked in the cold calling debate: business people cold call each other as a routine part of growing a company.
Every day executives pick up the phone and call a peer at another company, unannounced, to discuss opportunities to work with each other. And sales people for years have leveraged senior management to call to a peer at a target account to help facilitate a buying decision. By definition, those are both cold calls.[note]Note something above: business people calling as peers to talk about mutual opportunities. That is a call that’s relevant, with purpose and intent. [/note]
When one executive calls another to talk about business opportunities, two tings happen:
- The call isn’t about products and services: people aren’t interested in the things we do, they’re interested in the thing we do for them.
- The call is welcomed: when you call as a peer, you automatically establish a position of communicating within the worldview of the person you’re calling, your conversation has relevant meaning.
Phone calls between executives sound different than conversations involving sales teams. The reason is executives are more in tune with the things their company can do for others than sales people, who are too often focused on the speeds, feeds, features, and functionality of their products and service as a result of poor sales training.[note]Thus is to by no means to say business people are smarter, more aware, or otherwise better than sales people in any way. It’s to say business people are closer to being on the right track than many (if not not most) sales people when it comes to talking about their business. This is especially true in technology and professional service organizations where sales people will digress into speeds, feeds, features, and functionality of their offer within three sentences — focusing on the things they do as opposed to the things they do for others. Unwittingly, sales people are often farther from their company’s core story than their business counterparts.[/note]
Before it’s lost, the point of this post is people in business call people they don’t know all the time to talk about working together. And that’s not sales, which is the second point.
A business call between peers to talk about business is a welcomed event. Sales people calling to talk about their products and services lacks relevance and will earn the rightfully evil monikers of interruption, SPAM, and the most negative use of cold calling imaginable.
The key to cold calling is being versed in your core story and targeting the people you call to have relevant, conversations with purpose and intent, syncing with the worldview of the person you’re calling.
What do yo think? Do you agree with me or do I have it all wrong? Why?