EP122: Learning to Manage Your Voice Under Pressure
Jennifer Standish, Founder of Prospecting Works, is preaching to the Cold Calling Choir when she says thatcold calling trainers don't spend enough time working with their people on their delivery. Jennifer and our Market Dominance Guys, Chris Beall and Corey Frank, all believe that a great script that hits all the points but has a terrible delivery won't get you any appointments. However, a great delivery — even if you're working with a mediocre script — will absolutely bring in the appointments. In this podcast, they also emphasize the importance of a salesperson's mindset when it comes to being a successful cold caller. If you think everybody's going to hang up on you, that everybody's going to be nasty to you, well, then, that is generally what you're going to get. But if you believe in your core that your product or service can truly help people, if you are certain of the integrity of your offering, then you can sell people on your belief. Why? Because your authenticity will come through to your prospects, loud and clear. Listen to this first of a three-part Market Dominance Guys' series by these three cold-calling gurus on today's episode, "Learning to Manage Your Voice Under Pressure."
Then, listen to the next two parts of this conversation here:
Jennifer Standish is Founder of Prospecting Works, an organization that assists salespeople in overcoming cold-call reluctance. She combines her 25-year cold-calling career with her skills as an intuitive healer, offering a “warm and fuzzy” approach that attracts introverts as well as people who don’t want to be considered salespeople.
Full episode transcript below:
Corey Frank (01:29):
Welcome to another episode of the Market Dominance Guys with the sage of sales, the profit of profits. With Chris Beall and Corey Frank and today we have a guest that is near and dear to both of our hearts Chris, we're going to speak in reverent tones, hush tones of cold calling. Jennifer Standish is here from Prospecting Work so, Jennifer, welcome to The Market Dominance Guys. Please say hi to our seven listeners, including my mother on this well esteemed almost 200 episodes of this podcast. Jennifer, welcome.
Jennifer Standish (02:03):
Hello. Thank you for having me. It's been a great pleasure to be here.
Corey Frank (02:07):
Great. So I understand that you are well skilled in the black art of cold calling but then I also heard, right? When we were talking about it in pregame a little bit that as skilled as you are, you also want to make cold calling obsolete. Do you swear that's true?
Jennifer Standish (02:26):
Well, where did you hear that? That I want to make it obsolete?
Corey Frank (02:29):
Oh, the sage of sales had shared that thing with me beforehand so.
Jennifer Standish (02:32):
Yeah, because I work with a lot of people that have call reluctance and it's such a struggle for them and I just wish that we could somehow rename it, do something, something to help these people be able to make cold calls and I would also like for it to be acceptable to be able to call a business during business hours to discuss business and be able to call somebody and get an appointment and it's such a struggle and cold calling is such a bad name. That if there was a way to just be able to call somebody and schedule appointment and have it be done. I would love for that for it to happen.
Corey Frank (03:12):
Well, I can already tell, Chris and you probably picked up on this. You've known Jennifer a little longer than I have, right? The cadence and the tonality you use just to explain yourself is probably indubitably what hooked Chris, so is that how you guys met? Chris, were you a cold call from Ms. Standish here? How did you guys meet?
Chris Beall (03:32):
I can't remember.
Jennifer Standish (03:32):
Chris Beall (03:35):
But I know she told me that she had an idea and it's such a tremendous idea that I asked her not to tell me more about the idea until she got a provisional patent on it because I think I said, "Jennifer, at this moment I'm the most dangerous person on the face of the earth and you should protect yourself before you speak with me."
Jennifer Standish (03:56):
Yeah, so we were introduced by David Masover because we were both on his podcasts and so Chris and I just had a nice lovely conversation and I said, "I have this idea about how to end cold calling." And so I told him and then we spent two and a half hours on the phone.
Corey Frank (04:10):
Oh that's nice.
Jennifer Standish (04:11):
And he said, "you need to get a provisional patent for this. You have to protect yourself and then we can build it because it's a brilliant idea." And I got off the phone thinking that I was going to be the next Elon Musk and I felt as if my life trajectory had just changed and it didn't turn out quite as I had expected but the idea is still there.
Corey Frank (04:34):
Jennifer Standish (04:34):
And who knows but I really think that what's missing is we spend so much time on the sales side, becoming more efficient, trying to be more effective, working on bettering ourselves, coming up with a great cadence and all that stuff.
Jennifer Standish (04:48):
But nobody's dealing with the prospect side and how they're part of the problem. When we call these prospects, there are so many things that get in our way from reaching the prospects. Nobody's dealing with them and their bad behavior and how they are costing their company's money and how their gatekeepers are costing their businesses money and how somebody needs to tell these people or maybe it's the CEO or the president, guys you need to start taking these calls. There's a lot of reasons beyond why these sales people are calling you. It's a great networking event. You have no idea why they're calling.
Jennifer Standish (05:26):
It could revolutionize our company. How about karma? Are people cold called? Why don't you need to pick up these cold calls? Because our people are cold calling. What goes around, comes around. You just never know. All of this types of reasons. Take these calls. What I would hope to happen is the number of calls that you were required to get through would go down. We wouldn't need to be making all of these numbers. We wouldn't need as many sales people out there hounding away. It would just facilitate business. We could-
Corey Frank (05:58):
And if I have it straight Jennifer, that... Chris, help correct me. I'm hearing you say if your message to the world, if your message to humanity is to accept and take more cold calls.
Jennifer Standish (06:13):
Yes. Take the call-
Corey Frank (06:14):
Take the calls.
Jennifer Standish (06:16):
Take the call.
Corey Frank (06:17):
That's a great t-shirt.
Jennifer Standish (06:18):
And what I tell them whenever I present, I will have people come back a week or two later and say, "Jen, I didn't think I would ever want to say this to somebody but I took a cold call and it turned out to be a great decision for my business."
Corey Frank (06:35):
I love that.
Jennifer Standish (06:36):
Time and time and time again.
Corey Frank (06:38):
We had a guest on who's a great friend of ours, his name is Robert Vera. He runs the Center For Innovation and Entrepreneurship at Grand Canyon University and one of the things that he mentions a lot is that to take a phone call, to take a cold call especially, there's a special intrapreneurship mindset that these folks have to have. Not an entrepreneurship but an intrapreneurship. So, Jennifer calls me and she's going to give a face melter of a screenplay of a pitch and it moves me but still I got to think of my boss, Chris Beall here whether he tolerates this culture of intrapreneurship of change, of improvement of kaizen, et cetera. What do you think about that, Chris? Is it our job as cold callers to arm them, to preempt the message that a boss will say to stifle the great message and emotion that you just stimulated and was a catalyst for me to say, "Hey boss, I got an idea,” versus. “I get a lot of crappy phone cold calls"
Chris Beall (07:45):
Corey Frank (07:46):
And I may not be that motivated to make change.
Chris Beall (07:51):
Well, I think that there's two kinds of change that you're dealing with. So one is very private which is the choice to attend a meeting and when we think about the psychology of a cold call, a cold call is always a mistake not by the person making a call but by the person answering the call. It's very rare that they answer the call thinking this could be a really cool cold call, I'm so ready for this, right? And so what they're really doing is going, huh, I don't know what this is and for some reason I feel like I got to pick it up and then they realize it's a sales rep and then the defenses go up and then we have an issue, right? So I think then this is a fascinating area to me. In fact, I just had a post golf meeting two days ago with a marketing expert.
Chris Beall (08:42):
And she said, "Hey, I'm helping a company out that's doing account based marketing, ABM." So ABM basically is like Market Dominance Guys, basically we say make a list. It's like okay so make a list, right? And she asked me this question. She said, "how can cold calling work together with ABM? It doesn't seem like it can because in ABM we have to know lots about each individual target on the list before we have a conversation." And so I think the first order of business for the cold caller is actually a psychological order of business which is can you get somebody curious enough to take a meeting and nothing else. And all that requires is that they be a human being. It doesn't matter what business they're in. As long as you can say something that A doesn't cause them to reject you. I don't mean reject you as a person.
Chris Beall (09:34):
Just reject the idea of taking a meeting with anybody you're associated with but B has to resonate with them while not answering the question. So, that's thing number one. Thing number two, the intrapreneurship thing I think comes into play once you're in the discovery meeting or the breakthrough sharing meeting or whatever you want to call it because that's when you're on stable ground. That's when you're in the confessional. If it's run correctly and in the confessional, you can discover the answer to the question.
Chris Beall (10:02):
Does it make sense to do the next thing, right? Whatever the next thing is. Does it make sense for Corey to come talk to Chris or does it make more sense for Corey to go do the test drive? And de-risk it a little bit through direct experience? Corey can make the decision but it's funny how this relates to cold calling. Cold calling is essentially a mechanism to allow enough human trust, human interaction and curiosity to be generated such that two people will get together for a little bit of time and explore a possibility and that's it and I think the key to cold calling is to know that's it and not much else.
Corey Frank (10:46):
Jennifer Standish (10:48):
Can I add something?
Corey Frank (10:49):
Jennifer Standish (10:50):
I also think that we have to accept that a certain percentage of the population doesn't like to be sold to and they will shut down meetings to their own detriment but there's nothing you can say to them. They just will not be sold to and we just have to accept that but everybody else is somewhat willing. Some people are more willing than others. I've had situations where I get no objection. I get, "sure I'd love to, absolutely. I'm available in this particular date and time" and it's super easy. Other times there's a little bit of pushback but then people are amenable to scheduling appointments. So we just have to accept that some people are more willing to meet with people and are interested in what people have to-
Corey Frank (12:37):
Jen, how much of that do you think and you've seen, you've probably experienced bad cold calls, you've probably from your background, taught many folks to learn this skill. You have, right? A voice. We have a handful of folks on this podcast, all brilliant folks of course present company included with me and Chris but a lot of the folks that are on these podcasts of ours, right? They have a voice that can just melt butter and they have a command of their tonality, their stammer, their pregnant pauses, is that something that you see as correlating to your success?
Jennifer Standish (13:15):
Corey Frank (13:15):
When you're on-
Jennifer Standish (13:18):
And I'll tell you cold calling trainers do not spend enough time working with people on their delivery because it's 80% of your success as a cold caller. A great script, hits all the points with a terrible delivery will get no appointments but a great delivery with a mediocre script will still get you appointments. Absolutely.
Chris Beall (13:41):
But write that one down. So this is actually why we do Flight School. Flight School is about learning to manage your voice under pressure because it's one thing to learn in some role play but then under pressure, away it goes and you tighten up and I have an analogy I've used it before here. I'll use it again. So in the next room over there I have this wonderful Kurzweil electronic piano and it's got all these beautiful voices and stuff and there's a song that I play most evenings for Helen and I play other stuff too but I play for my fiance, right? She's been a guest on the show so go check her out anybody who wants to do that and I know full well that she thinks that I am a very good piano player and a pretty passable singer but I'm also pretty sure if somebody walked in the room while I was playing that I was sure was a real piano player or worse, a real piano player and a real singer.
Chris Beall (14:46):
I would suddenly suck to the degree that even Helen would know it even though she'd be too nice to say anything about it and that command of your voice under pressure is the essence of being able to cold call. Helen and I listened to Cheryl Turner once for about 20 conversations and I asked her, "what'd you think?" As Helen's not a cold caller of any stripe and she said, "what's amazing is the emotional pivots and they happen in split seconds and so she knows what she's going to do, but then she does what she has to do with her voice." And I thought that was a really good phrase. She knows what she's going to do but then she does what she has to do.
Jennifer Standish (15:30):
Chris Beall (15:30):
And that's it.
Jennifer Standish (15:31):
It's the mental agility.
Chris Beall (15:32):
Jennifer Standish (15:33):
Corey Frank (15:34):
How do you teach that to... I'm a new grad, Jennifer and I was a history major, liberal arts major, communications major. I'm going to land on your floor. Maybe I'm a middle child so maybe a little bit more introverted, right? Chris has some theories on that in a minute but how do you draw it out to somebody because these are big bad strangers, people who hang up on me and they have teeth and they can ruin my career and they can pull up my LinkedIn and they're going to track me down on social media. What do I do with all this stuff here before I make a phone call?
Jennifer Standish (16:07):
Well, I'm an extreme introvert and I can do this and I think right there I would say well, we got to talk about your mindset because if that's the way you're going into this, yes, you're going to have problems. If you think everybody's going to hang up on you, everybody's going to be nasty to you, that is exactly what you're going to get. But if you believe to your core that your product or service can help people. If you have integrity, if you're calling because you believe that you can help people and you do your homework but if you do your homework and make sure that you're calling the right people, you're not calling everyone under the sun. Nobody likes to receive irrelevant calls, right?
Jennifer Standish (16:48):
You come up with a targeted list and you're calling with the motivation of wanting to help. You're not here to sell. You're wanting to introduce yourself and have a conversation that you're going to sound very different and sometimes I can't make somebody sound different and I will send them to a vocal coach. Sometimes it doesn't help and there's very little I can do but I can always start with a mindset and I can sit down and go through all the things that they're bringing to the table that are going to get in the way and I can help them. I can't do the work for them.
Corey Frank (17:25):
Jennifer Standish (17:27):
And then we'll see. But a lot of times when I'll say you're allowed to call a business during business hours to discuss business, I give you permission. Right then and there they're off to the races. They're like, that's all I needed. Just give me permission. That's all I needed. Other times it's when you told me that I really help people, that's all I needed. I do help people and I sell cleaning supplies but I keep people safe and healthy and my customers would be lost without me because when you really look at it, all of the businesses all over the world, we are all ultimately trying to help people.
Corey Frank (18:05):
Jennifer Standish (18:06):
Even paper, look at paper. What is paper? Well paper communicates ideas to people. It's all about people. So if you can trace your company and what it does back to how it helps humanity, then you're selling with a purpose, a noble purpose-
Corey Frank (18:21):
Jennifer Standish (18:22):
And then people can get behind it. So I tell sales managers all the time, where are your case studies? You need to be telling these people every single day look at what we did, look at how we helped these people. Look at all the wonderful things we're doing. That's what we are as an organization. We need to be proud of ourselves.
Chris Beall (18:39):
Well, so Donnie Crawford and I are going to be doing a webinar two days from now about how to conduct a breakthrough sharing session. What people should call a discovery call. I'm not really fond of the word discovery call even though I love discovery as you all know Corey, I'm into it but it means I'm going to discover something about you that lets me make you buy my product.
Corey Frank (18:59):
Chris Beall (19:00):
And that's a disingenuous approach to that next step. If you think of it as a breakthrough sharing call, I called you because I truly believe we've discovered a breakthrough and I want to share it with you because I think it has potential. At least this meeting has potential for you to learn something that'll change your life. We may never do business together and this to me is the critical break point that Donnie and I are going to go over.
Chris Beall (19:26):
The mindset break point is to get to the essence of the mindset, to say the following. In the event we never do business together, as I have to sincerely believe in the potential value of the meeting that I'm offering not the product but the meeting, to this human being not their company but to them, in the case where we will never do your business together and if I believe that sincerely then I can take what I'll call the Scott Webb mindset which his mindset is, I envision this person is about to step in front of a speeding bus and I may have to hit them hard in the middle of the chest to keep them from stepping in front of that bus but I know of the bus is coming and they don't. So it's my responsibility to get them to the meeting because that's where something magical can happen.
Chris Beall (20:20):
And when he adopted that mindset he went from a world class but to him mediocre 30% conversion rate and Jennifer was calling for me yesterday, kindly to set meetings for me and she set at a 50% rate on a list she'd never heard of before and God knows it wasn't. I don't need its best list in the world actually, a little hard to get ahold of him too. It'll dial the connective, I don't know 131 to one today or maybe worse and yet she said 50%. Well, when Scott adopted this mindset working at HUB International as the head of sales, he's the big guy there. He went from 30% to a hundred percent overnight.
Jennifer Standish (21:01):
Chris Beall (21:01):
Not overnight but in the next hour and he stayed there ever since. He converts a hundred percent of his cold conversations to meetings and he says the essence is to truly remind himself.
Jennifer Standish (21:15):
Chris Beall (21:15):
He's saving their life.
Jennifer Standish (21:16):
Oh yeah. I tell people all the time, imagine you had the antidote to COVID. You would be relentless. You would find the person who you needed to talk to, who could distribute that to as many people as possible, you would do your homework and you would not stop calling. You would not stop calling because this thing could save lives. It's that sort of purpose and you would be annoying but you would be okay.
Chris Beall (21:45):
When you hit somebody in the middle of the chest. I've actually done that by the way, when Scott said that thing about the bus, it turned out once in Des Moines, Iowa, there was a bus coming and it was coming in the fog and I did reflex without thinking and I hit somebody very hard in the middle of the chest and kept him from stepping off the curb. So when he said that to me, it actually made me shutter.
Jennifer Standish (22:06):
Chris Beall (22:08):
It's a little emotional just to remember that moment.
Corey Frank (22:10):
Chris Beall (22:11):
So this is a big deal. When we have a breakthrough, it doesn't have to actually be something that they end up taking advantage of, the knowledge of it is of value.
Jennifer Standish (22:21):
Chris Beall (22:21):
And that's all we're offering. It's that knowledge.
Corey Frank (22:24):
I love that it really comes about. We've talked about this several times Chris, right? The belief, the insistence mindset. You can only have an insistent mindset when you have firm belief in the value certainly of what you're selling, right? To your earlier point Jen, right? If I'm a new grad and I have all these boogeyman fears or worse, let's say I'm apathetic to what it is. I think I've shared this a few times on the podcast here is one of the stories, one of my great mentors years ago taught me when we were first starting one of our first companies is about a guy who's just minding his own business and walking past a construction site and there's five guys laying bricks and he goes to the first guy and says, "Hey, what are you doing?" He's like, "laying brick." Goes to the second.
Corey Frank (23:10):
"What are you doing?" He's like, "I'm building a wall", goes to the third guy, "what are you doing?" He's like, "making eight bucks an hour", goes to the fourth guy, "what are you doing?" He's like, "I'm building a cathedral." And the fifth guy, "what are you doing?" "I'm saving men's souls." All right. So arguably the latter two construction workers are the ones that you want as team members, you know that they're going to pay a little bit particular more attention to the runoff and maybe the cleanup and maybe the hard right corners of the walls. The first three pedestrians, tourists in the space apathetic. Yeah, I work for Saunders Prospecting here and well, what do you do? Well, I make 18 bucks an hour. I get paid X amount per appointment. Working my way through law school but generally not the folks that you want to put on any campaign and certainly they're conversion and rates will go less than pedestrian, I would imagine.
Jennifer Standish (24:07):
Right. So I would tell hiring managers to be very careful and I would also tell candidates be very careful. You could be a great salesperson, a great cold caller if you align yourself with organizations in which you believe, right? And I work with a lot of commercial insurance producers and I tell them, do you know that business could not continue without you? And you start them the story about the history of commercial insurance and you keep roofs over people's heads. You keep people employed. We wouldn't be able to do business without you, right? And then they start thinking oh my God, absolutely. So be very careful who you work for and if you don't work out one place, don't give up, try someplace else. Think of really about what is in your-
Chris Beall (24:58):
Wow. I love it and Scott, by the way, his thing is commercial insurance and I know he believes he's potentially saving these companies lives.
Jennifer Standish (25:09):
Chris Beall (25:09):
Saving those jobs.
Jennifer Standish (25:11):
Chris Beall (25:11):
I look at ConnectAndSell somebody ask me what do you guys do?We are determined to pull the cork out of the bottle that keeps the value of the innovation economy on the inside when it could be port freely on the outside where people could make use of it. We all rely on innovations. They're stuck inside of companies and they need to get out for all of us and that's what we do.
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