Any advice after this cold call I just completed

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May 12, 2009 3:25 pm

All,

 
Cold calling like usual and I usually have pretty thick skin.  I got a hold of this one business owner, General Construction Contractor and guy has over 150 employees and easily over a couple of million dollars at a minimum in net annual revenue.  The conversation went like this after I did my inital pitch:
 
Prospect: "What did you have in mind"?
 
Me: "Just an initial meeting so I can learn a little more about what you do and you can learn about what I do".
 
P: "I'm really busy now, give me a call next week when you want to come through and I'll coordinate my calendar b/c I have a lot of things going on right now, but just give me a call next week" (No attitude at this point but not overly friendly either)
 
Me: "Of course I can do that but if it's easier, we can set a tentative appointment and if you need to reschedule, we can do that as well"
 
P: "I don't think you're listening to what I'm saying. You caught me at a bad time, I'm working on a bid right now, I'm extremely busy. Just give me a call next week when you want to come on by.  Just give me a call, CLICK". (Rude as hell)
 
Do I call this a**hole back like he said or just forget about him? If I can land this guy, a lot of potential revenue.  Pride tells me screw him, pockets tell me go for it.  What would you guys do? Lastly, he was a REAL JERK at the end, I mean really bad. 
 
 
May 12, 2009 3:30 pm

Umm...call him next week.  Like he told you to.  I know the tentative appointment thing is a good line, but sometimes you have to know when to shut it down.  Put yourself in his shoes.  He's busy, but he's willing to meet with you if you'll call him when he's not busy.  He just wants off the phone.  But you pushed a little to hard.  Don't blame him.  Just call him next week. 

May 12, 2009 3:37 pm
army13A:

All,

 
Cold calling like usual and I usually have pretty thick skin.  I got a hold of this one business owner, General Construction Contractor and guy has over 150 employees and easily over a couple of million dollars at a minimum in net annual revenue.  The conversation went like this after I did my inital pitch:
 
Prospect: "What did you have in mind"?
 
Me: "Just an initial meeting so I can learn a little more about what you do and you can learn about what I do".
 
P: "I'm really busy now, give me a call next week when you want to come through and I'll coordinate my calendar b/c I have a lot of things going on right now, but just give me a call next week" (No attitude at this point but not overly friendly either)
 
Me: "Of course I can do that but if it's easier, we can set a tentative appointment and if you need to reschedule, we can do that as well"
 
P: "I don't think you're listening to what I'm saying. You caught me at a bad time, I'm working on a bid right now, I'm extremely busy. Just give me a call next week when you want to come on by.  Just give me a call, CLICK". (Rude as hell)
 
Do I call this a**hole back like he said or just forget about him? If I can land this guy, a lot of potential revenue.  Pride tells me screw him, pockets tell me go for it.  What would you guys do? Lastly, he was a REAL JERK at the end, I mean really bad. 
 
 

First, the prospect was sending mixed signals.  He didn't have time, but he decided to pick up the phone and let you talk.
 
Second, your request for more urgency wasn't earned in his mind.  Once you said "just" you showed that your appointment request wasn't as urgent as what he had going on.
 
Third, call him back at a better time next week.  Don't mention this call unless he brings it up.  Make sure you ask if it's a good time to talk.
 
It appears he can be a nice guy if you can get on his good side.  Maybe he's a little TOO polite to cold-callers.  YOU didn't pick up on his weak signal.  (Yes it was weak and I would've done the same as you.)
 
I would have a STRONGER reason to meet than "just an initial meeting so I can learn a little more about what you do, etc."
May 12, 2009 3:42 pm
Ominous:
army13A:

All,

 
Cold calling like usual and I usually have pretty thick skin.  I got a hold of this one business owner, General Construction Contractor and guy has over 150 employees and easily over a couple of million dollars at a minimum in net annual revenue.  The conversation went like this after I did my inital pitch:
 
Prospect: "What did you have in mind"?
 
Me: "Just an initial meeting so I can learn a little more about what you do and you can learn about what I do".
 
P: "I'm really busy now, give me a call next week when you want to come through and I'll coordinate my calendar b/c I have a lot of things going on right now, but just give me a call next week" (No attitude at this point but not overly friendly either)
 
Me: "Of course I can do that but if it's easier, we can set a tentative appointment and if you need to reschedule, we can do that as well"
 
P: "I don't think you're listening to what I'm saying. You caught me at a bad time, I'm working on a bid right now, I'm extremely busy. Just give me a call next week when you want to come on by.  Just give me a call, CLICK". (Rude as hell)
 
Do I call this a**hole back like he said or just forget about him? If I can land this guy, a lot of potential revenue.  Pride tells me screw him, pockets tell me go for it.  What would you guys do? Lastly, he was a REAL JERK at the end, I mean really bad. 
 
 

First, the prospect was sending mixed signals.  He didn't have time, but he decided to pick up the phone and let you talk.
 
Second, your request for more urgency wasn't earned in his mind.  Once you said "just" you showed that your appointment request wasn't as urgent as what he had going on.
 
Third, call him back at a better time next week.  Don't mention this call unless he brings it up.  Make sure you ask if it's a good time to talk.
 
It appears he can be a nice guy if you can get on his good side.  Maybe he's a little TOO polite to cold-callers.  YOU didn't pick up on his weak signal.  (Yes it was weak and I would've done the same as you.)
 
I would have a STRONGER reason to meet than "just an initial meeting so I can learn a little more about what you do, etc."
 
First Spaceman and now Ominous, awesome feedback.  This is why I joined this forum so I can get constructive feedback from others going through the same things.  I truly do appreciate the time and advice you all are giving me.  It's funny when I see others just go tooth and nail at each other. 
 
Ominous, I understand what you're saying about the just part.  How would you rephrase it? Drop the "just"?
May 12, 2009 4:38 pm

Yes, I would drop "just" because it cheapens you and your time.

 
But now, you need something stronger besides "getting to know you".
 
I would give 2 or 3 bullet points of what you want to cover in your initial appointment.
 
Such as:
"I would like to get together with you to (1) discuss the previous planning you've done, (2) any changes you might want to make with your current portfolio and (3) to define our ongoing working relationship together."  Then ask for the appointment.
 
Notice how much more definitive it is when you give a brief outline like that.  Make up your own points, but it shows that YOU have an agenda that is built upon SERVICE.
 
And because you have that pre-set service agenda, you should attract more people to want to work with you because you know how you can help people and they know what they can learn to expect from you.
 
(BTW, do I do this right now?  No.  But that's what being on these forums does for me - it helps me think through the ways I SHOULD work and improve my own results.  Now I've got some work to do to re-define my own 2-3 points for appointment setting.  THANKS for the mental exercise!)
May 12, 2009 5:35 pm
army13A:
P: "I'm really busy now, give me a call next week when you want to come through and I'll coordinate my calendar b/c I have a lot of things going on right now, but just give me a call next week" (No attitude at this point but not overly friendly either)
 
Me: "Of course I can do that but if it's easier, we can set a tentative appointment and if you need to reschedule, we can do that as well"
 
 
Not to be a jerk, but you simply weren't listening.  If what I have bolded in the quote above is accurate, not only did he invite you to call again, but he actually invited you to a sit-down.
 
From what you wrote, the next call should be to simply get on his calendar.
 
 
May 12, 2009 5:40 pm
etj4588:
army13A:
P: "I'm really busy now, give me a call next week when you want to come through and I'll coordinate my calendar b/c I have a lot of things going on right now, but just give me a call next week" (No attitude at this point but not overly friendly either)
 
Me: "Of course I can do that but if it's easier, we can set a tentative appointment and if you need to reschedule, we can do that as well"
 
 
Not to be a jerk, but you simply weren't listening.  If what I have bolded in the quote above is accurate, not only did he invite you to call again, but he actually invited you to a sit-down.
 
From what you wrote, the next call should be to simply get on his calendar.
 
 
 
No, you're not being a jerk, you're exactly right.  I'm just so focused on getting on the calendar and hate playing phone tag.  You know how that goes; you spend more time trying to coordinate the appointment than just actually doing it.  But you are right . . . I was pushing and not listening as well as I should have. 
May 12, 2009 10:31 pm

Army, not sure if you're new to the business, but I can give you some of my perspective. I have learned in just a few short years to assume that people actually ARE telling the truth. In other words, when someone says "I'm busy now, but call me back", they really mean it. It took me almost 3 years to nail the lead counsel for a MAJOR chemical company in my area. He jsut kept saying "I'm busy, call me next week". He would say this month after month, he would be "travelling", he would be in "meetings", he would be "in Washintgon lobbying against XYZ bill", etc. But, after 3 years, and probably 25 calls/messages, I finally got him. You know what? Now that I know him well, EVERYTHING he was telling me was the truth. He is busier than hell, and DOES travel all the time. He is wealthy, busy, and important. And he could have told me to go F myself. But he didn't. Most people with any money WON'T lead you on for any length of time before cutting you loose, because they don't have the time to d*** around with you ("yeah, I think I'm fine leaving things as they are. Thanks very much for your time. Click.").



So, with important people (leaders, business owners, busy execs, etc.), you have to respect their time and understand that, as much as we would love it, we are just not tops on thier list most of the time. And I have read about a lot of hige producers (at all firms) that bend over backwards for these type of people, because they inherantly understand that this business is about premier service, not our big, swinging d!cks.

May 12, 2009 10:50 pm

My .02.

 
He's a successful man, managing a lot of people in a tight economy, busting his hump to get out a bid to make sure he can keep the revenues coming and his people employed (he didn't GET to be successful by NOT working his tail off.)
 
He takes your call.  The guy asked you to call back, you offered to set the appointment.
He told you you weren't listening, (hint - he's a guy that likes to be listened to and he is TELLING you this) and you got TWO more indications he'll accept another call.
 
So tell me - what are you bellyaching about? Make the call next week. 
In the meantime make more calls.
 
May 12, 2009 11:16 pm

I would have gone for it the same way you did. Now I'd act like the rude part never happened. Send a hand written note saying you appreciate him taking a few minutes out of his very busy schedule to talk with you today, you're looking forward to learning more about him and his business next week, if he needs anything in the meantime don't hesitate to call. Something very short, simple, and hand written.



Good work so far by getting in front of a seriously qualified prospect.

May 13, 2009 6:20 am

People feel differently about this, but I usually ask if the person has a minute to talk.  If they truly don't have a minute, and you try to sell the appointment, you won't get it even if they are interested.

 
Often people will say that they don't have a minute, but if they really do, human nature will get in their way.  "I don't have a minute.  What is this about?"  As soon as they say that, they are giving you permission to continue with your spiel.
May 13, 2009 9:10 pm

It's one phone call. You either toss his name or call him back. That decision takes about 1 second to make. Then you dial the phone again looking for you next contact. Move on.

 
May 13, 2009 9:21 pm
B24:

Army, not sure if you're new to the business, but I can give you some of my perspective. I have learned in just a few short years to assume that people actually ARE telling the truth. In other words, when someone says "I'm busy now, but call me back", they really mean it. It took me almost 3 years to nail the lead counsel for a MAJOR chemical company in my area. He jsut kept saying "I'm busy, call me next week". He would say this month after month, he would be "travelling", he would be in "meetings", he would be "in Washintgon lobbying against XYZ bill", etc. But, after 3 years, and probably 25 calls/messages, I finally got him. You know what? Now that I know him well, EVERYTHING he was telling me was the truth. He is busier than hell, and DOES travel all the time. He is wealthy, busy, and important. And he could have told me to go F myself. But he didn't. Most people with any money WON'T lead you on for any length of time before cutting you loose, because they don't have the time to d*** around with you ("yeah, I think I'm fine leaving things as they are. Thanks very much for your time. Click.").

So, with important people (leaders, business owners, busy execs, etc.), you have to respect their time and understand that, as much as we would love it, we are just not tops on thier list most of the time. And I have read about a lot of hige producers (at all firms) that bend over backwards for these type of people, because they inherantly understand that this business is about premier service, not our big, swinging d!cks.

 
I'm still a rookie in the full service brokerage world.  I sold insurance before but didn't have to prospect like how I am now and not dealing with business owners as I am now.  You are right; have to put myself in their shoes and see that they are busy.   Thx for the feedback.
May 13, 2009 9:24 pm
Takingnames:

My .02.

 
He's a successful man, managing a lot of people in a tight economy, busting his hump to get out a bid to make sure he can keep the revenues coming and his people employed (he didn't GET to be successful by NOT working his tail off.)
 
He takes your call.  The guy asked you to call back, you offered to set the appointment.
He told you you weren't listening, (hint - he's a guy that likes to be listened to and he is TELLING you this) and you got TWO more indications he'll accept another call.
 
So tell me - what are you bellyaching about? Make the call next week. 
In the meantime make more calls.
 
 
You are right, definitely making the call.  The only thing though is that he inherited the business from his mother last year and his mother built it to what it is now.  But he is busy doing a lot of things. 
May 13, 2009 9:25 pm
OS:

I would have gone for it the same way you did. Now I'd act like the rude part never happened. Send a hand written note saying you appreciate him taking a few minutes out of his very busy schedule to talk with you today, you're looking forward to learning more about him and his business next week, if he needs anything in the meantime don't hesitate to call. Something very short, simple, and hand written.

Good work so far by getting in front of a seriously qualified prospect.

 
That's an AWESOME idea and I'm going to send it out tomorrow.  I was going to email but email is kind of impersonal; hand written note adds a nice touch.  Thanks for the idea on that!!!
May 13, 2009 9:28 pm
anonymous:

People feel differently about this, but I usually ask if the person has a minute to talk.  If they truly don't have a minute, and you try to sell the appointment, you won't get it even if they are interested.

 
Often people will say that they don't have a minute, but if they really do, human nature will get in their way.  "I don't have a minute.  What is this about?"  As soon as they say that, they are giving you permission to continue with your spiel.
 
I've done it both ways and I've switched back and forth between asking that and not.  With referrals, I do ask that all the time but with cold calls, I tend not to unless I hear some crazy stuff going on in the background.  I completely understand what you're saying though b/c when I do ask, they do say "no", then follow up with "what is this about"?
May 13, 2009 11:14 pm

You should look at cold calling as nothing more than a game.   It is a game where just like in a poker tournament the individual who displays the most patience  and makes correct decission will get the result they are looking for.  In this case getting his account is your ultimate goal.  Another way I look at prospects like this is Survivor.  Just keep pounding him and wear him down.  It might take another year but if you are consistent you will get the opportunity to sit down with him and drive a wedge between him and his current advisor.  It took me almost a year of calling and follow up calling a super busy CPA I had targeted to get my first meeting.  We met realized we had common interests and two months later I had two accounts from him.  Flash forward one year later of relationship building I now have nine of his clients.  He too kept telling me to call back and he was busy.  If you don't learn to leave your ego at the door you will be in for a rough time in this business.

May 13, 2009 11:22 pm

Let's all keep in mind that it's much easier to read about a situation and make a comment than it is to do the right things "in the moment".


Another advantage of using these kinds of forums is to get that perspective without your own emotional ties into it.
May 15, 2009 6:01 pm

If this guy is that busy, he must have a gatekeeper that has access to his calendar. If he told you he wants to set up a meeting, you shouldn't have a problem getting on the calendar with the gatekeeper. Once you are on the calendar, give him a quick call to confirm the meeting. Its worth a shot if there is as much opportunity as you say. Most contractors are jerks on the phone so get used to it if that is your target.

May 15, 2009 11:49 pm

Thanks for all the advice everyone.  I found some good stuff off this thread.