23 Apr 2020

Cold Calling: How to Be an Expert Prospector

If you want to generate more sales, then you must cold call and if you must cold call then you have no choice but to be an expert prospector.

In future writings, it is my intention to arm you with the knowledge you need to expand your skills and become a well-rounded sales professional, but first you need a good lead generation foundation.

To be a great salesperson you need to be an outstanding prospector and master qualifier. There’s nothing more important and so much to learn so let’s start with the basics:

Don’t just go out and buy a list. Its always better to prospect and data mine the gatekeeper or people who work at the company. They hold the most recent and valuable intel.

Sure, you could spend lots of money on leads and hope your data is accurate but I don’t like to put my future into the hands of another company who is makes their bucks not on the quality of their data but the quantity of shoddy emails they can sell you.

If you’re looking for the greatest way to find and contact the best business to business prospects available there’s nothing better than a telephone, LinkedIn and some good old fashioned Google search skills.

Now before you just start calling businesses like crazy asking them all sorts of questions and looking like some kind of stalker you MUST devise a plan. That begins with taking some time to consider "who your perfect customer is" or in other words… define your target market.

Some points to consider:

- Don't be general (niche down)
- Look at some of your current customers (who are they?)
- Investigate your competition and their target market
- Think about what your product/service is and what problem it solves
- Identify what job titles your prospects would hold at companies you are calling and looking to resolve this challenge


After you’ve discover the perfect customer who will need your solution only then can you finally move on to the fun part…obtaining a list of companies that fit the mold.

There are many possible solutions you can choose from and all come with their own unique set of problems. To keep it simple, we’ll talk about two; buying data lists or building your own list.

I’m sure there are plenty of salespeople out there willing to give their recommendations on who are the best lead and data providers. I’ve tried most and setting the pricing aside they all have one thing in common. Their data is unpredictable.

I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt and assume they’re trying their best.

The big challenge with keeping a B2B directory up to date is that things change so fast. These data companies really have their work cut out in contacting all these companies regularly or compiling data resources from partners. It’s just not realistic to expect any of them to be perfect but in my experience, I feel lucky if I get a 60-70% accuracy rate on purchased data.

This kind of performance only leaves me with one option that is much more reliable but a lot more work - building your own list. Yes, it does take more time but at least you don’t have to dance around that embarrassing comment gatekeepers all too often throw in your face when you ask for someone who died, retired or was fired. “How can you help my company if you can’t even handle your own database?” I mean they’re kind of right.

Luckily you don’t need a very big list to be effective. You just need the right list.

I like my sales specialists to keep their list elite. Somewhere around 500 contacts or so. That’s a great start and since your only capable of making about 250 calls per day you will cycle that list about 2 times per week. This is practically the perfect recipe for the perfect number of attempts that you should be making to an individual company each week. Any less than that and they won’t remember you…any more than this and they might file for a restraining order.

You should aim to attempt contact 2-3 times per week, every week until you are either told to stop calling, you find out they don’t qualify or better yet…they buy from you!

When making your calls don’t spend any down time researching all those leads up front. Instead you need to stay focused on making contact with someone at the company and asking them for the answers to any questions you have. You can spend all the time you need researching a prospect between calls since you have at least a minute between dials for while the phone rings.

Whatever you do you should never stop dialing! Keep up your momentum and simply glance over LinkedIn, FaceBook, Twitter and their website as the phone rings and even after somebody answers your call.

Use the fact you’re on their website or other social media as a foot in the door. It acts like permission to get even more information like: the decision maker’s name, email, alternate number, name of assistant, best time to reach, department, etc.

If the person who answers can’t or are unwilling to help you, ask for someone in sales. They’re almost always the most informed about the company’s innerworkings and willing to reveal all the details you need to help a fellow salesperson out.

Remember your only goal is to get all the information you need to move your “suspect” into the “prospect” phase of your lead funnel. Once you do that, turning them into a “warm lead” then a “hot lead” will be much easier. Now all you will be left with is helping them decide how much they need to buy from you to scratch their itch and you’ll have a “customer” for life. Take care of them and you will reap the rewards of unlimited referrals and more fuller lead funnel.

You see the sales process is not complex. In fact, it’s a lot of fun if you know what you’re doing. In the coming weeks as you put this method to work you’ll discover this process is almost relaxing and you will feel in total control. What are you still reading this for? Get out of here and go build your list!

Happy prospecting!

Mark Helton

P.S - If you're ready to step up your sales game or need an expert to help you kick that sales team into overdrive, hit us up for a demo....I'm your huckleberry!

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