EP20: How to Make Fear Your Friend in Cold Calling
Seth Godin, of Purple Cow fame, writes, “Trust and attention – these are the scarce items in a post-scarcity world.”
I’m obviously fairly partisan on this issue but would certainly add “Fear” to his list as well. Or, specifically, how do you embrace and leverage “fear” in your systematic effort towards Market Dominance?
No one said Market Dominance would be easy. It’s diligent and deliberate…it’s a three-year marathon where one of your end goals is that you end up having discovery meetings with 60% of your market. It’s both ambitious and arduous to set a course for market dominance. But the results are irrefutable…IF your inputs are consistent. For instance, understanding that the constraint of your sales system is not headcount, sales methodology, or even price point.
It’s the flow rate of conversations with relevant people that you have at the top of your funnel that is so commonly the real constraint to success.
But as entrepreneurs and Sales Leaders, knowing what we need to do to fix this top of funnel constraint is often a dreadful and fear-inducing exercise. Because we know what this real constraint is called: It stirs in the bellies of sales professionals everywhere. It’s not the bogeyman, or Baba Yaga or Pennywise; it’s the “Cold Call.” This king of all top of funnel constraint leads many teams to displacement…or the simple avoidance of what truly needs to be done by doing something seemingly easier or far less friction.
Like sending email.
Or better yet, sending an email campaign.
Or doing SEO, lots and lots of SEO...
Anything but jumping on the phone and talking to strangers.
Even in our own sales community on LinkedIn, there are countless and doggedly argued threads every week where a new sales “expert” likes to wax on about the final death knell of the cold call. Or that having your reps Cold Call is a colossal waste of both capital and goodwill.
They’ll spin compelling data about pick up rates, dial to conversion rates, and even quote rep turnover percentages to win minds to their side. Cruelly enforcing this medieval and antiquated exercise in futility must stop in our sales craft.
Because “Fear.” Fear of employing a practice that is seen as dated. Fear of people leaving your organization. Fear of doing something that doesn’t get results.
And mostly, though, we fear the experience of making cold calls ourselves. But if we’re committed to be Market Dominant, we'd be wise to let fear play its healthy role with our competition. Let your competitors embrace that fear and refuse to use an indispensable tool like the cold call. Fine.
But we are also wise to let fear play its role in the cold call itself. With the prospect. Because we want to use it to create tension in a relationship that we can then resolve.
And, according to the Van Helsing of GoToMarket strategies – my partner on the other side of this microphone, Chris Beall - the way you properly run a cold call is acknowledging you that you start from a position of fear. Because the other person is indeed afraid of you. They're afraid of you because you're an invisible stranger and an invisible stranger is the worst possible thing in the environment of evolution. Those are the people from across the river paint their faces wrong…they put a bone in their ears, instead of their nose…and maybe they even talk funny. Their drumbeats don't sound quite like yours …and you would really prefer they stay on the other side of the river where they belong.
We have this inherent fear with invisible strangers. And when we cold-call somebody we trigger that fear and they may express that fear in “pushback.” Feelings like annoyance, anger, dismissiveness… whatever it happens to be. But when we're afraid, something interesting also happens, too; We tend not to run away. We want to get away, but instead, we put a little defense mechanism…a little squid ink, so to speak. And that’s the point where we need to embrace fear in the call. And so this episode, we learn from Chris how to properly use fear and how to ultimately turn that fear into trust…and then that trust into curiosity…and then that curiosity into real commitment.
So turn off all the lights, light a candle, and cue the macabre organ music…This is The Market Dominance Guys and this week's episode entitled, “Don’t Look Under the Bed: How to Make Fear your Friend in Cold Calling.”
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The complete transcript of this episode is below:
Speaker 4 (00:33):
Seth Godin, of purple cow fame, rights, trust and attention, these are the scarce items in a post scarcity world. Now, I'm obviously fairly partisan on this issue but would certainly add fear to this list as well, or specifically, how do you embrace and leverage fear in your systematic effort towards market dominance? No one said market dominance would be easy, it's diligent and deliberate. It's a three-year marathon where one of your end goals is that you end up having discovery meetings with 60% of your market. It's both ambitious and arduous to certainly set a course for market dominance but the results are irrefutable, if your inputs are consistent. For instance, understanding that the constraint of your sales system is not headcount or sales methodology or even price point, it's the flow rate of conversations with relevant people that you have at the top of your funnel. That is so commonly the real constraint to your market dominant success. But as entrepreneurs and sales leaders, knowing what we need to do to fix this top of the funnel constraint, is often a dreadful and fear inducing exercise, because we know what this real constraint is called.
It stirs in the bellies of sales professionals everywhere and it's not the boogeyman or Baba Yaga or Pennywise, it's the cold call. And this king of all, top of funnel constraints leads many teams to simple displacement. The simple avoidance of what truly needs to be done by doing something easier with far less friction like, sending an email or better yet sending an email campaign or doing SEO, lots and lots of SEO. Anything but jumping on the phone and talking to strangers. Even in our own community of sales professionals on LinkedIn, there are countless and doggedly argued threads every week where a new sales expert likes to wax on about the final death nail or the cold call. Or that having your reps cold call is a colossal of both capital and goodwill. They'll spin compelling data about pickup rates or dial to conversion rates or even, "Rep turnover percentages." To win minds to their side. "Cruelly enforcing this medieval and antiquated exercise in futility must stop in our sales craft."
They'll say. Because fear of employing a practice that is seen as dated. Fear of people leaving your organization because they don't like to call, they don't like to pick up the phone. Fear of doing something that it doesn't get results. And mostly though, we fear the experience of making cold calls ourselves, especially as leaders and entrepreneurs. But if we're committed to be market dominant, we'd be wise to let fear play it's healthy role with our competition. Let your competitors embrace that fear and refuse to use an indispensable tool like the cold call. But we are also wise to let fear play its role in the cold call itself, with the prospect. Because we want to use that to create tension in a relationship that we can then resolve. And according to the Van Helsing of go to market strategies, my partner on the other side of this microphone, Chris Beall, the way you properly run a cold call is acknowledging that you start from a position of fear, because the other person is indeed afraid of you.
They're afraid of you because you're an invisible stranger and an invisible stranger is the worst possible thing in the environment of evolution. Those are the people from across the river who paint their faces wrong, they put a bone in their ears versus their nose and maybe they even talk funny. Their drum beats don't sound quite like yours either. And you would really prefer that they stay on the other side of the river or where they belong. So we have this inherent fear with invisible strangers and when we cold call somebody, we trigger that fear and they may express that fear in pushback. That's what we really dread, isn't it? That's the fear, feelings like annoyance and anger and dismissiveness, whatever it happens to be.
But when we're afraid, something interesting also happens, we tend not to run away. We want to get away but instead we put a little defense mechanism up, a little squinting as, Chris likes to say so to speak. And that's the point where we need to embrace fear in the call. And so in this episode, we learn from Chris how to properly use fear and how we ultimately turn that fear into trust and then that trust in curiosity and then that curiosity into real commitment. So turn off all the lights, light a candle, cue the Macabre organ music. This is The Market Dominance Guys and this week's episode entitled, don't look under the bed, how to make fear your friend in cold calling.
I can always tell when you're about to speak wisdom, your posture changes, everything else, so I want to make sure I capture this though.
Corey Frank (06:30):
Well, actually I think it does map onto this whole concept of market dominance, they're both marathons. And market dominance is a three-year marathon, where you end up having discovery meetings with 60% of your market. Got to try. You're never sprinting, you're never pushing, that whole end of month end of quarter, all that stuff means nothing when you're going after market dominance. You're just jogging at a trot. You're not pushing, you're not discounting. Sure, when you're doing the market entry part, you always discount. Usually you discount by adding services so that you don't charge for. The best way to discount as always to simply do more and make sure you don't charge for it.
The temptation is to say, "Well, since we're doing more, this must be part of our business, folks are valuing it. If you don't charge for something, people won't value you and therefore we should charge for it." But that is a mistake when you're doing the early part of the chasm crossing for a particular market. When you're chasm crossing, you have to buy your way into the market and you can either buy it with a lower price. You can buy it with greater services, which is lower price. And the smart way to do it, is to hold your price point, your guest at price point for the core offering and add services that you don't name, because that's another key. When you name the services, then you feel like you have to charge for them, you just provide them. So in our case, for instance, for our company, the services we provide have always been extensive as you know.
We do this immense amount of consulting, we do analysis along the way, how are your reps doing? What's your talent spread like? Recommending best practices, going in and offering to do coaching, all of this stuff that everybody else in the entire world of sales services, training, consulting and so forth, they charge for. We don't even give a name to them, because if we give a name to them, then it would be tempting to package them and charge.
It would, yeah, right.
Corey Frank (08:23):
And there's two problems with that. Problem number one, is you forget what it is you're trying to do. You're trying to dominate a market with an offering with scales and whatever the service thing is probably isn't an offer that scales, maybe it is but you don't know and it's not like you set out to do. So, that's one, two is as soon as you charge for services, somebody is going to end up owning that part of the P and L internally, you have to have a sales head or a business head of GM or something for that part of the business.
Functional services. Yeah, right.
Corey Frank (08:54):
Exactly. That stuff is easier to sell from your core product because it has no edges to it. There was never any edge to the services you'll provide. If somebody says, "Well, does the service include x?" The answer is always, yes. Because it's a service and at the margin, we could do one more thing and one more thing, wouldn't be a big thing in this particular case. So you end up putting your product boundaries, so to speak around your services through policies, whereas your actual product has natural bounders. If I've sell you a Tesla, you might say, "Well, I could use it as a doorstop." But it's not going to fit very well through the frontier year of your house or into your office. You're not going to be too tempted to use the Tesla as a doorstop, which is a low value use of Tesla or to use it as a planter for your tomatoes.
There's a natural boundary around your Tesla but there's not a natural boundary around my service to drive you wherever it is you need to go, because you just might decide, "Hey, you know what? Instead of flying to San Francisco, I'd like to be driven there." I didn't put that in my business plan, that I was going to be gone for so long that done so far away, I couldn't pick up another passenger. And by the way, he's going to buy my Teslas now. It's a horrible mistake that's made in market dominance plays to price down incorrectly but you must price down. To enter a market, you have to offer something that overcomes the natural hesitancy that people have toward buying something new from someone that they haven't done business with before and by the way, doesn't have a single reference. And you can't use your precast and references, because they were buying your stuff, not as product to solve a broken mission, critical business process. They were buying it for competitive advantage and we'll not talk about it.
And by the way, by the time you get to this part of the process they hate you, so they're not going to say nice things anyway. But they're not going to say anything, which is the good news. So it's, they hate you but so what? They don't hate you by the way and think your stuff is bad, they just hate you because they had happy years about what they could do competitively. And some other part of their value chain broke down and they asked you to help fix it and of course you couldn't because you can't fix whole companies. And so you end up always in this relationship where people in the pre chasm market, companies in the precast market are buy in for, this extraordinary reason which is, I need to go kill the competition. And they can't kill the competition most of the time. And so they just keep piling up the requirements and the pressure on you, the provider of the magic beans, the magic technology, and eventually you get everything you need out of it, if it definitely works.
Thank you very much, dear visionary customer you've forced me to make my technology work, now I need to package it as a product and take it to market across the chasm, which means I have to price down. The chasm gets wider, the higher the price of my offering relative to the certainty of value that a customer is going to get out of it, my first customer. That just widens the chasm, so I want to narrow the chasm by allowing that first customer to buy at what feels like a lower price and the best way to lower your prices is to add services. I will do more for you and the worst mistake you can make is simply to package those services and say, "Hey, this is a new product." We finally gotten to the point of almost packaging flight school. But flight school has the funny quality for us as a permanent pre-chasm resident. We sell competitive advantage, so we don't ever get to cross the chasm correctly.
And so what we have to do, is seed the pre-chasm to the point where anybody else who wants in has got to get through our wall of fire. Everybody who is properly addicted to connect and sell for competitive advantage is taken. And if you want one from that worth bit, we have to scorch the earth on the other side. But we have a beautiful little post chasm offering called, flight school. It takes your reps and turns them into the top 5% of cold callers in the world and it does it reliably.
But that's not a standalone product?
Corey Frank (13:07):
It's not, because it only works with the ConnectAndSell stuff because otherwise you're not having enough conversations. You can feel good about it but being an expert at having three conversations a day, it's just ridiculous. I'd say making a race car driver out of somebody and saying, "By the way, we go to 7/11 once a week.
Corey Frank (14:22):
When I was a little kid, we moved out into the desert, North Scottsdale. What is now, you would see this as way down in town but back then, it was way out in the middle of nowhere. So think Cactus and 68th street.
I'm about a block away from there right now.
Corey Frank (14:39):
So you know the area, well, this was all open desert back then, we were one of the first houses in the area. The big deal was that you got to was zoned for animals. It was actually zoned, believe it or not. It wasn't un-zoned, it was all part of Scottsdale. Scottsdale, was Annex all the way up to Pinnacle Peak way back in the day. Scottsdale is the most visionary annexation in the history, actually is still thinking in the U.S. you would classify it with Jacksonville and a couple of other towns, that figured this out earl, which is we're in a place that's naturally going to grow as the economy changes over time.
And so let's take all the land we can and put it inside the city boundaries and let that be our... It's like pre making a legacy, it was very, very clever and people knew it by the way, it wasn't unconscious. It was controversial but it wasn't unconscious. We were the people who are going to buy into this vision and move out into the desert, which is what we did. So we moved from Camelback and Scottsdale road, where we were in 1957 and 1963, something like that too. We moved out there to '68 that it's actually Jenan and between 67th and 68. A long block South of Cactus, and we're zone for horses. And part of the idea was, that we were going to have horses and there was no limit, you could have 20 of them if you wanted but who would do.
And we were on an acre and then we bought the acre behind us so he had an acre for the homestead itself and then we had an acre of training horses. Then we had cavalettis and barrels and everything out there. So I was the youngest of the family, when you're the youngest and you have four older sisters and the oldest is a horse expert it's intimidating. And yet I had to have a horse. I had this horse, which I shared for a while with my sister, Cindy, his name is Tim. And Tim was a big gentle, quarter horse gelding, 16 hands, big stocky animal, very, very gentle but it's a horse. It was big enough, he could outrun me all day. He could hurt me if he wanted to and I was a little kid, so I'm like seven, eight years old.
And I've got to learn how to put a bridle on a horse by myself, because there was never anybody around to help. So how did I do it? Well, I was taught by one of my sisters, how to do this, which is you come up to the horse and you hold your hands about this far apart and palms down, fists closed and you have like a carrot in each hand. But the horse doesn't know and horse's sense of smell is pretty good, but not strong enough to be able to tell which hand do you have the carrot in and anyway it's in both, so they don't. The horse has to make a choice and that's what you're trying to do is to take this fear relationship, because they're prey animals, they're afraid of anything approaching. They have a stereotype set of responses as humans do also to being approached.
And until you can get the bridle on the horse, you have to get the horse to approach you. That's why we cold call and have unscheduled follow up in- [bridge 00:17:55] Calls in order to set a meeting but we never hold the meeting, that's putting the bridle on, in that call. Because as soon as we do that, we aggregate the trust that we set up for them to come to the meeting in the first place, that is, they haven't come to us yet. So, Thornburg talks to his victims before their ears have come up and are facing forward. The horse tells you that it's ready to consider your proposition when instead of laying it tears back, which is to listen for the saber tooth tiger behind it, that's going to jump on its back and drive its fangs on other side of its withers, which is why their damn fangs are so long.
It takes a lot to penetrate a horse on the back and swipe the big dagger is there as part of doing the mess. But horses don't like things behind them, so you have occupied their attention in front of them, so they listen behind them. That's with their fear response. They're smart, they got to work 360, you're a prey animal and your body is precious to you. They have very low reproductive rates. Animals with low reproductive rates are extremely cautious about their corpus, about their body because it's worth a lot. You're a merry you might have six falls, seven falls, eight falls in your life, that could be it. It's a really big deal to die. Whereas there's some animals dying is no big deal, but they already had 43,000 babies last year, so what? They're promiscuous with their bodies and the big animals with the low reproductive rates, whether they're carnivores or whether they're prey animals, all have the same strategy which is never get injured.
That's their strategy, never get injured. And they don't like to get in fights that's why bears do what they do, they act in a certain way you really watch carefully in the site. They're really trying not to get hurt, even when they fight each other, that's the only time that they are willing to risk it because they're fighting directly for reproduction at that point. It's a one for one game, I win somebody gets pregnant. That one they'll fight for but they won't do it in order to take down prey, unless they're starving because it's not worth it. It's just not worth getting injured, because you get injured and you go into this downward spiral. So horses are like this, there is go back and all this. To get the horse to come to you requires curiosity. The way you run a cold call is you start from fear, the other person is afraid of you.
They're afraid of you because you're an invisible stranger and an invisible stranger is the worst possible thing in the environment of evolution. Those are the people from across the river, who paint their faces wrong, put a bone in their ears instead of their nose. They talk funny. Their drum beats don't sound correct. Everything about them is just uncomfortable. And you would really prefer they stay on the other side of the river, where they belong. And if they show up and are invisible, that means it's night. And people who show up in the middle of the night uninvited to your village are not your friends. They're not bringing you a bud light. They're there ultimately, for reproductive purposes to take over the situation. You've collected something of value and now they're coming to get it.
And so we have this inherent fear of invisible strangers and when we cold call somebody, we trigger that fear instantly and they express that fear as push back, annoyance, anger, dismissive. Whatever it happens to be, everybody has a different way within a characteristic set of ways of handling fear. When we're afraid, we tend not to run away, we want to get away, but we want to put a little defense up, a little squiddick. So you see this on almost every cold call, it's not, "Hey, I'm so glad you called me." It's just not. And yet why not? After all, I mean, it could be something wonderful. And we all say, it's about the fact that we've interrupted them and blah, blah, blah and they're busy. Really, have you ever watched somebody in their day? They ain't doing.
They're not doing anything most of the time, they're pretending to be busy, they would love a break quite frankly. Their job bores them, it irritates them, all sorts of things are going on they don't like, a little break might be nice to talk to somebody. However, you ambush them. If it had been a good friend who called they'd act different. Because you're not an invisible stranger, you're just an invisible friend. An invisible friends, friends in the dark are just fine. Strangers in the dark are presumed to be enemies. So that's the big issue we have with cold calling, so Thornburg, actually goes through that process well. I mean, the guy spent, he took an hour and a half lesson from me one day, one-on-one. So he got most of it and he just went off to apply it.
So he's good at the beginning because he goes through the fear to trust part really well. But then the question is when you get a little bit of trust, how do you spend it? So with the horse, how you spend it, is you spend it on curiosity. So you get trust by just standing there and not approaching. You approach, you trigger the fear, you wait, the fear decays. Then the question is what next? And the answer is curiosity, which is why you just stand there with your hands out, palms down, fists closed. And eventually the horse will exercise that curiosity and they'll make a commitment. The commitment is to one hand over the other. When they do that, you turn the handover, there's the carrot, they get busy with the carrot. You reach behind yourself to where the bridle is. You pull the bridle around, you don't put the bridle on them.
You touch them on the side of the face, which they like. Because once you're touching them and not hurting them, you must be one of them. Because there's only one thing that touches a horse and doesn't hurt it and that's another horse, a friend and we're the herd. So you actually become a member of the herd through touch and you're feeding them. And so then you've got a twofer and then eventually the touch is allowed to come up high enough to get the bridle, to put it around their muzzle and get one loop over the ear and once you're there, then you have a second thing you got to teach them to do, which is separate, which is get the damn fit in their mouth. That's like, "Okay, food bit." And you have to do that, that's getting to the close.
That's done in discovery but my point is, there's a strict separation, which mean approach, triggering fear, moving that fear to trust. So with the horse, we do it through inaction, because if you're still and you're not continuing to approach them, you're acting exactly the opposite of a predator that's close and within view. So for a horse, you signal untrustworthy just by not moving. With a human, we signal with trustworthy, by telling them we see the world their way. I know I'm an interruption and then we show them a path for solving the problem. The problem is us, we are the fearful thing, well, how do I solve the problem? Listen to me a little bit. And I'll go a way with a simple offer.
I know I'm an interruption, can I have 27 seconds to tell you why I called? And if you say those two things exactly like that, just exactly those words, not some other words that make you comfortable, they're words that allow somebody to say, "Wait a minute, you see the world my way you are an interruption." If you want to blow it, all you have to do is just say this, "I know I'm interrupting your day." So you throw the circumstances under the bus and you're saying, I'm not the problem.
Why the 27 seconds again? I know it's a playful tone, we've talked about that, is it too cheesy? Is it to diminish your stature or your status at all? Or does tone matter in how you sell that 27 seconds?
Corey Frank (25:42):
Tone matters a lot, you have to say the 27 second ask is playful, curious, come along with me, come along with me. It's almost offhand, "Can I have 27 seconds to tell you why I called?" Let's just root disconnect between, I know I'm an interruption. And then the natural next thing to say is, and I'm sorry, I'll hang up. But instead of saying that, you offer an alternative plan. And when you offer a plan to somebody you're offering the plan, you're not demanding the plan, you don't think you have a right to it. So you use a tone of voice that says, "Come with me, it'll be fun." So now I have first order purpose, which is let's have some fun. So it's very, very gentle but it's like, "Can I have 27 seconds to tell you why I called?" But you are asking for something, can I have? You're not asking, may I have?
By the way, you're not asking for permission. You're asking a question of fact, can I have 27 seconds to tell you why I called you? You're saying, you're in charge. You could choose to give me these 27, if you do, I'll tell you why I called. If not, I guess you won't know. I mean, this is what's so interesting to me about market dominance, I've been through it... We'll have to go through this over and over and over to get it across.
That's great, solid.
Corey Frank (26:58):
Way over here is controlling the market by having discovery calls with 60% of the market for three years. Most people don't want to think that but that's the way over here. I go through the process of how do I get a discovery call? Well, I need to talk to somebody. Why do I need to talk to them? Because, they have to trust me enough to decide to spend 15 minutes with. How am I going to get them to trust me enough to do that? Well, I'm starting from fear.
My alternative is to let my competitor go down the hard road and start from fear. So I could start just from curiosity, send them an email. Email is not scary. It seems like a superior opening move. I send you an email, you're not afraid of me. However, there's no tension in there to create anything out of, there's no energy. How much does it cost to me self image wise to dismiss an email? I think I'll do it right now, let me find one. I'm going to find an email and dismiss it right now.
How do you feel? How do you feel? Any tension in doing that?
Corey Frank (28:00):
This is not bothering me in the least. Somewhere in here, there will be one. Here we go. For your team, we work together with accounting and finance, temporary help in your department and do hope we can work with you again. To make this possible I'd like to offer you a $400 invoice credit. Well, it's gone. And that's even somebody who claims they know me.
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