Cold calling is tough.
Truth is, it can be tough regardless of who you are calling on. So it makes sense to talk to the people who are most likely to buy your product, solution or service, right? Seems like a no-brainer but a common mistake many salespeople make is thinking the higher in the company you call, the harder it will be to get the sale.
This thinking is wrong.
While the person you are currently focused on getting a conversation with may actually have direct experience dealing with the challenges you solve, they may not actually be able to say ‘yes’ to a deal. You need to talk to the person who can make the final decision as soon as possible. Even if it is the more intimidating cold call to make.
There is certainly upside to visiting with end-users and mid-level managers. You can gain tremendous insight into the challenges they face and the impact on the organization and people. But you end goal is to get to the person who can say ‘yes’. This person is usually higher up the chain.
Calling too low could end up causing you to spin your wheels. End-users can be complacent and department managers can end up being more defensive and evasive. After all, it’s their department that has room for improvement (as what you are selling is almost always a solution) and you can be seen as threatening. The decision-makers, particularly the CEO are under the most pressure to produce the final results. They will have the most pain over targets not being met. They will be the bluntest with you about the issues the company department of interest has (which you may be able to solve). Finally, they will be more open to the solutions you propose because it’s not ‘their department’ and improving the departments performance is what matters to them, not their ego.
In this sense, ten cold calls to CEOs could be worth more than a hundred to mid-tier managers. Even with the extra time and effort needed to prepare and deliver to a CEO, it will still be far more efficient to call them.
Mindset matters more than you think.
Mindset is a very highly discounted strength when it comes to selling. Research has found that 80% of sales performance can be attributed to mindset, so having the right attitude toward prospecting and making cold calls is vital to the outcome.
It’s not the number of calls you make but the number of quality calls. Quality calls begin with calling the right contact within your ideal customer profile. So, if you want to sell more, start calling more of the people who have the authority to close your sale.