Wednesday Dec 23, 2020
EP62: Never, Never, NEVER Retire a Follow-Up Call
In this follow-up to last week’s Market Dominance Guys’ podcast, “Your Sales People Are Brain Surgeons,” Chris and Corey have another conversation with ConnectAndSell’s customer success manager, Donny Crawford, about using the telephone plus your beliefs to gain market dominance.
First things first, they discuss how to get prospects on the phone who are the most likely to set a meeting with you. It sounds like a numbers game — more dialing equals more people picking up the phone, which equals more meetings set, right? But as every sales rep knows, you can lead a prospect to a conversation, but you can’t make them link you to their calendar. That rate of success is fairly low. In his experience calling on prospects, though, Donny discovered an amazing way to increase the dial-to-meeting conversion rate: make more calls to people on your follow-up list. He found out that if at first you don’t succeed, call, call, call again. Wait till you hear what his success rate is — and then listen to the story Chris tells about follow-up calls, which corroborates Donny’s experience.
Donny also shares the most important key for success in a cold call, and then he lists for you all the other ingredients in his proven recipe for successful conversations with prospects, one of which is his practice of listening to his own recorded cold calls to hone his ability to sound human.
As Corey says in the wind-up to this interview, what we’ve got here is “another great, fantastic episode of the Market Dominance Guys!” We sure do!
About Our Guest
Donny Crawford is a Customer Success Manager for ConnectAndSell. He is responsible for providing Flight School training to sales representatives of ConnectAndSell customers in order to help them become more effective and successful when cold calling.
The complete transcript of this episode is below:
Chris Beall (02:15):
There are some weird sub lists that are out there, but you're right, Donny. The big question is, do they trust you? If you handle the first seven seconds of the first conversation right, they trust you for the rest of their life, and it's not a voluntary thing, unless you blow it.
Corey Frank (02:31):
Well, that's true. We talked about that many times, about the trust. I'm curious about... Let's talk some turkey here on some actual conversion rates. Just ballpark conversion rates here, Donny, of what you've seen from maybe dial to meeting. Implementing this practice, if I didn't, if I'm an average inside sales leader on the street, and maybe I use a dialer. Maybe I don't. Maybe I use ConnectandSell. Maybe I don't. I'm probably in the what dial to meeting range, would you say? Just an at rest, average inside sales team?
Donny Crawford (03:12):
I don't know. Chris, would you say probably somewhere in the 500 to 700 dials to get a meeting range?
Chris Beall (03:17):
Yeah, it's pretty normal to see... 500 is a reasonable cold number.
Corey Frank (03:22):
Yeah. That's what I would say. Maybe a little bit higher for tougher gets, if the persona or ICP is higher, and then my contact conversion rate. For every hundred people I talk to, for instance, on a given day, what should I expect? Four? Five? I don't know. Maybe a little bit more, a little bit less? What do you generally see?
Donny Crawford (03:44):
I would say the less trained sales rep who's on their own doing what feels comfortable is, on average, going to set meetings around maybe 3% of the time on a first conversation, maybe 4%. The well trained, the well honed in skilled cold caller, the person who is having those initial conversations, I think that can rise up to 5% to 7%, 7% to 9% for a first conversation. For a first conversation, most of the time, the majority of the time, probably 90 out of 100 conversations, they're not going to turn into a meeting that first conversation. It's okay. Everyone needs to be okay with that.
Corey Frank (04:29):
Okay. What have you seen after you go to the flight school to implement this process that... I love the fact that a lot of it was implemented under duress. You had this Damocles plan hanging over to you, all the best ideas. I had a friend... All the best ideas come from being in the vicinity of porcelain in the bathroom, in the shower, or wherever. The second best ideas come under duress under stress. It sounds like this concept of the follow-ups here. What have you seen from some of the ratios, some of the ranges of a conversation percentage? When you have a proud graduate student of the Donny Crawford Academy, what can I expect to see?
Donny Crawford (05:15):
What's nice is that you can almost break it down to the actual follow-up number. On a first conversation, if you're scheduling at about a 5% rate, then you can almost expect that the second conversation itself will be around a 10% to 11% rate to schedule meetings on just the second conversation with the prospects that you're reaching. On the third conversation, if you actually happen to be able to get a second follow-up in there, you're going to convert at around a 16% rate on a third conversation with the prospect.
Corey Frank (05:51):
With those numbers, I don't want to lead the witness here, but for Chris had Dottie, is that a great equalizer? Even if I'm a rep that maybe struggles with my empathy, my pitch, my messaging, the fact that I am still following this process, you don't have to sell it. You don't have to be a Tony Award winning actor on stage to sell it. Just following this methodology, I'm going to see a 3x from what I would if I was just purely calling cold.
Donny Crawford (06:25):
Conversation to meeting conversion, you'll see a 9x dial to meeting conversion. The reason is, you'll be calling on a bucket that's three times more likely to answer the phone.
Corey Frank (06:37):
Donny Crawford (06:38):
I actually had a customer who called me once. They're a very important customer, a customer I just signed a deal with yesterday for something that had a fair number of commas, and some zeros, and stuff like that. I felt good about it at the end of the day. It made me think back to very early in our relationship where we'd done a little tiny deal with them. We were just a few weeks into it. I got a call from a guy who reported directly to the boss who's the son of the person whose name is on the company. He said, "You got to get up here." I said, "Why?" He said, "Well, we'll tell you when you get up here."
I jumped on a plane in San Jose and I got off in the appropriate city, and went over to the place, and was ushered into a boardroom where I got to sit for a little while and cool off. Then, a bunch of people came in, none of whom were on my team, all of whom were acting pretty serious. Finally, the big guy came in. He sat down and he said, "You lied to us." I said, "Well, so I'm curious. Which one of my many lies I chose to tell you?"
He said, "It was a big one. You told us we would get three times lift on follow-up calls." I said, "Well, from what I'm seeing, you're getting about 3.4 times." He said, "No, we're not. We pay for dials. We're getting nine times lift. Why didn't you tell us? We would've focused harder on it. The reason we called you up here is to get a detailed step-by-step instruction manual on how to make maximum use of follow-ups, creating them, and using them, and maybe retiring them." I said, "I don't have to talk to you about the third one. You never retire. You never do."
Corey Frank (08:26):
All I had to do was have you come to Scottsdale and show me that manual? That's all I had to do?
Donny Crawford (08:32):
All you had to do was allow me to fulfill the request I made to come to Scottsdale [crosstalk 00:08:40].
Corey Frank (09:20):
[crosstalk 00:09:20] I bought the technology and I knew what I was doing, Chris. I didn't need no stinking training school, come on [inaudible 00:09:29]. When the student is ready, the teacher will appear. I was waiting for me to get up here, but what are you going to do?
Chris Beall (09:36):
Donny couldn't shut up. You would've listened to him.
Corey Frank (09:42):
That's right. That's amazing. Three in nine x time. Obviously, if I do all the other things that we've talked about, Market Dominance Guys, such as empathy and tonality and screenplay writing, and I implement the logistical processes of Donny Crawford here, that I can obviously expect to get some pretty impressive numbers. Getting out of the Gates in Q1, it seems to me that this isn't a really complex... There's not many barriers to entry to actually start doing this. It's not like I need to do a lot of plumbing, correct?
Chris Beall (10:20):
To do Blitz and Coach, there's no plumbing, right Donny? [crosstalk 00:10:24] Do you have an Excel file where you wind up in an hour to be annoyed by Chris Beall for an hour in order to get to the point where you finally believe in his breakthrough script approach? Is that it?
Donny Crawford (10:36):
Yeah, exactly. I think you have to narrow down on what truly valuable theme are you offering this person you're reaching out to for the first time. If you break it down, and we've heard Chris talk about it a lot. There's three values. If we can touch it, if we can find those three values, economic, emotional, and strategic value that we're bringing to the marketplace, and we can just clearly identify that in simple to use words, and just a very simple phrase, and say it with belief, and believe in the value of the meeting that we're going to set up with this organization, there's no problem.
If you can figure out that thing that you're offering the marketplace that's a breakthrough, and then you have a list of people that you need to tell all about this, and you're excited to do it, and you have the belief and the sincerity in your voice, and a little bit of skill. The little bit of skill is actually not what you have to begin with. The skill comes when listening back to your own recordings of these calls because when I listen to myself, I'm like, "Oh, why did I say it that way?" The next time I deliver it, I'm not going to say it that way anymore. I'm going to practice it and listen to myself, and I'm going to hear how I'm coming across. Do I sound human?
That's what I need to actually get across. You can learn that in one blitz, absolutely. You listen to yourself and you're like, "Oh, freak. That was horrible." The next time you come to the next blitz and you're calling those same people, delivering the same value prop to them, you're going to be able to say it in so much more. We actually have organizations who are doing blitzes and by their third blitz, they've increased from about the 5% conversion rate. Some of our customers that I've worked with, they're setting meetings on first conversations around 15%. 17% we've seen sometimes, just because they truly believe in it. They have that natural way of interacting with someone that they've learned after a few blitzes. It's really pretty [inaudible 00:12:50].
Chris Beall (12:51):
By the way, I'm going to make an analogy here that both of you guys will understand, and I won't. I'm going to do it anyway. You guys have both been to church once or twice, right?
Donny Crawford (13:00):
I have, yeah.
Chris Beall (13:02):
Just checking. Think about it. When you think about believing and the key to success in sales is believing in the value of what you're offering, and what you're selling here is a meeting. You have to believe in the potential value of this meeting. Not certain value, right? There's a little faith here. Potential value of the meeting for this human being you're speaking with, whether or not you ever move forward and do business with them. When you really believe that, this whole thing becomes very, very easy. Think about the setting of church. It's a lot easier to believe when you go to church and it's full of other people, than it is when you go to church all by yourself. You go all by yourself, it's a little tricky to have it not be a building. When you go with a whole bunch of other people, it's actually a little tricky just to have it be a building.
Corey Frank (13:57):
Chris Beall (13:59):
That's what these blitzes do, I believe. They allow us to believe together. That belief shows up in our voice. This is the ultimate surfer's question. I'll switch from surfing to rock climbing, and show an example of a power of belief. There was a rock climbing problem that I used to work on at the end of Campbell Avenue in Tucson, Arizona off the north end. There's a little thing called Campbell Crag. There was a very obscure part of it that had a very obscure problem that very few people would attempt, because it was so ridiculous. I would go over there every single time when I showed up. As soon as that was warmed up, I'd walk over there and try this thing. I would fall off at exactly the same point. This went on for two and a half years. I went out there probably five times a week. I never got past this point.
One day, I was on my way over there, and I realized there was a line. That is, there was one guy at the bottom already. I didn't know him. Never seen him before, and he blazed up this thing. I did not learn one thing technically from him, but I did learn one thing from him. It could be climbed, and I raced up it like nothing. He watched and said, "Oh, you've done this before." I said, "Well, kind of. Just never past this point." Belief inside of yourself drives the opportunity for belief, which is the foundation for change inside of another. When we sell what we're asking for or hoping for, what sincerely want is for another person to change the way that's useful for them. Until we believe they won't believe it. It's hard to believe when you're alone.
There's a show on TV called Naked and Afraid. After the third day on Naked and Afraid, nobody believes anything, except bugs are really bad and they're getting hungry. If you remove one of the two people on that, they tap out, as they say. The other person generally just folds up after a day or so, because they don't have anybody to sustain their belief that they're going to make for those 21 days.
Corey Frank (16:14):
How did you do it then, Donny? Again, if you have this plan, this great sales leader that you had, who poked his stubby finger in your chest to say, "Listen, I'm going to get it out of you."
Donny Crawford (16:25):
Very skinny finger, by the way.
Corey Frank (16:27):
Skinny finger. Okay. Gotcha. Like a Mr. [crosstalk 00:16:30].
Donny Crawford (16:30):
Oh my goodness, he was [inaudible 00:16:32]. I mean, it was just ridiculous.
Corey Frank (16:35):
Gotcha. He believed in you when you didn't believe in you, and this process that you used, did the process give you belief, and then that compounded to the point where now it was a switch versus a dial? Let's talk a little bit about how this epiphany happened for you.
Donny Crawford (16:56):
I think that the act of sandbagging follow-ups to Thursdays, if we're returning back to that experience, sandbag... I'm saying I could have called these people on Mondays and Tuesdays and probably set meetings, but it wasn't going to be financially beneficial to me during the blitz if I set meetings on Wednesday instead of Thursday. Literally, in the truest sense, sandbag these are follow calls to Thursdays where I would get a better advantage. A better outcome. I know that putting a large bucket together of people that I was going to be incredibly comfortable talking to because I had talked to them before, the cold call feels uncomfortable. I like it. I don't mind it, just because I know exactly how to manipulate people's minds. When I get into a first conversation, I'm so good at it.
I enjoy meeting new people, and I know what I need to say and accomplish that I'm okay with it. It's way more comfortable to call someone who I've already spoken to before. My belief in the power of the follow-up when I was sandbagging [inaudible 00:18:09] into my blitzes became solidified in that moment. Not only was I able to win the little competition and get some Amazon cards or whatever, but I was also able to see the concentrated effort into a follow-up list would produce a lot of meetings. I was able to be taken off a plan after a month because I knew that I was going to produce and start overproducing even what the expectation of me was. The belief came pretty soon. It was a revelation right type of thing that if I attack and even structure my regular calls...
What the beauty of blitz is, and I think I can even relate this to flight school, is that if flight school takes place on one day a week, every single week, repeating for four weeks in a row, on the first week that I'm making calls, and I find a couple of people who are just busy on a call. They can't talk right now. They're not giving me the time of day, but I put a follow-up to next week, I can come back to my second week of calling, get a couple of those people online, and actually make something happen with a second conversation. You can actually build belief in this. Even within four weeks, you can already start seeing the production value of following up with someone. It's pretty cool.
Corey Frank (19:31):
If it goes through the snake as you load it up, then that's where the exponent occurs.
Donny Crawford (19:37):
Yes, absolutely. Absolutely.
Corey Frank (19:40):
That's beautiful. What a great story. I'd love to have you back again and again here, Donny, sharing some other war stories of... These percentages that you're seeing, the 3x and the 9x or so in the conversation conversion rate, and the dial, that's pretty sexy stuff. I think for anybody listening who wants to boost their Q1 without an investment in the tech stack, I don't want to have to do any more email, no more SEO, SCM. I don't have to invest in any virtual trade shows. I can just give Donny a call here and he can walk through the process. Certainly, if you want to use ConnectandSell, you amplify those types of results. I just think that's a simple process that every sales leader should be adept at, especially moving into these tougher times to get prospects. With that, this has been another great, fantastic episode of the Market Dominance Guys with Chris Beall and Corey Frank. Until next time.
Chris Beall (20:43):
Thanks, Corey. Hey, Donny. Thanks for being on. I know one customer today I talked to, they wanted me to send some thanks your way, too. That was a great blitz today.
Donny Crawford (20:51):
I appreciate it.
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