Stopy being lazy…Why Cold Call Selling Still Works

Stopy being lazy…Why Cold Call Selling Still Works

written by john c ashworth

cold call selling still works mowing service door-hanger
This guy came around twice this spring. I didn’t hire him but I think about him every time I go out to mow in the heat 🙂 -John

I know. This might be hard for you to believe. Or, maybe more likely, you believe it on some level, but question the effectiveness and efficiency of the method. Or, you just don’t like it and don’t want to have to do it. I don’t either. Because I know it’s literally one of the least efficient ways for a business to generate good sales leads. But it does in fact work, and I suggest you do whatever it is you need to to steel yourself to the idea and get to work. That’s what I’m doing today. And I do it any other time my pipeline is drying-up, and I want to stir things up.

My late father, Billy Chicago, used to say that about me…

“The thing about John is that he’s always out there stirring things-up.”

That really reinforced the idea for me. I looked up to and respected my Dad very much. He was a salesman too. And cold-calling was exactly what he did when he needed to find customers for Warren Printing; and it worked for him too.

The challenge is that because it’s not the most efficient thing you’ll do to generate leads, it’s easy to get discouraged and very quickly, or avoid the work altogether. Cold-calling also doesn’t often produce an immediat result. And that can be even more demorilizing.

Today is my last day of work for the week. I’m headed to San Antonio Texas to go watch my son Carl graduate from Air Force Boot Camp. I’ll tell more of that story in the coming weeks. It’s a good one. My real point here is that following a massive quarter of sales in Q2, my pipeline is as dry as the Califonia desert and if I’m going to hit my numbers for July, today is a day when I need to make things happen. Or, at the very least, go stir some things up – as many things as I can – so that upon my return on Monday, the seeds I planted already this month, and especially today, will have begun to reach for the sun.

I know this will work.

I’ve done it countless times before.

…and yet it would be so easy today to get lazy, head into my vacation a little early mentally and promise to hit the phones hard on Monday.

Nope! Time to get to work.

No matter what, today I bring my ladel; and I get to work stirring things up.

I suggest you do the same.

-John

PS It doesn’t matter what kind of business you’re in. Cold call selling still works. The story I read this morning that inspired this post was one where a local business had been drop-in called on by a pizza shop owner, a baker, and a computer salesperson. All three made sales. The observation was that 40% of these kinds of calls will yield business, especially when combined with a special offer. It reminds me of my work as a pizza delivery man for Dominoes while in gradutate school…we used to head out in the middle of the afternoon and spend a few hours hanging coupons on doorknobs. This ALWAYS produced a great night at the shop. It literally NEVER failed to bring more business than we would have had otherwise.

PPS The image above is that of mailbox stuffer I received this spring. I still do my own lawn, but I think about this guy every time I go out to do it. Especially when the temperature tops 85-90 degrees. He didn’t get me this year, but he almost did and if I ever do need help, this is the guy I’ll call. I’m sure he landed plenty of other business with his efforts this spring. He came around twice.

podcast – How great sales copywriters hook their readers

great sales copywriters are sentimental people
How great sales copywriters hook their readers

podcast produced by john c ashworth

podcast produced by john c ashworth

I received a great email newsletter from Eddie Shleyner of Very Good Copy this week.

He was talking about how good copywriters are often sentimental people. I agree. Listen to the 3-minute podcast above and see if the leading passage doesn’t stir you emotionally. And then ask yourself how you can connect on that same level of humanity with your readers, and disocover the powerful ability to draw them closer.

I totally recommend Eddie’s email newsletter. You can get it here.

John

How to write like a pro

How to write like a pro

written by john c ashworth

with inspiration from my new favorite book, ‘On Writing Well’ by William Zinsser

The essence of writing is re-writing. A universal truth I have worked to instill in my son who seems to believe like so many others in his generation that one round into the keyboard is enough. I have to make it a point now to ask him if he’s actually read his work out loud to himself at least once before sending to me for review. This has been a telling experience for him, and he is learning slowly that the essence of writing is re-writing. He doesn’t like it so much. Because when you have to approach it that way, it feels more like a job.

When I first started learning about how and why to blog for business growth, I remember reading in countless places the suggestion that authenticity ruled and that just getting the words out there, regardless of their cleanliness, was the most important thing. Perfect is the enemy of done as I like to often say.

Many of those older posts still exist here on the ash flash and when I come across some of them, I cringe and secretly hope no one is looking. I really don’t like how exposed they sound. They are raw and incomplete. I know there’s value in just getting things out there but I think the problem is that it drives this unnecessary feeling that as soon as you’ve written something, you need to get it posted and live and public because somehow that validates your effort. I stopped thinking and acting this way a few years ago and instead have put my focus back where it belongs. On the craft. I started writing again just for the sake of the craft and how it makes me feel when I’m engaged with it. That’s the really truly important thing. That’s it. No one is sitting around right now and waiting for what John might post today. For the few devoted readers I do have, I want them to know that I’m putting in the effort and that I truly appreciate them being here. Taking the time to read what I have shared.

As Mr. Zinsser has pointed out, “…a badly written message can do a lot of damage. So can a badly written website. The new age, for all it’s technological wizardry is still writing based.”

Email, for example, is an impromptu medium, not conducive to slowing down or looking back. Ideal for the never-ending up-keep of daily life. If your writing here is disorderly, no real harm is done. But it is also very important to remember that email is where much of the world’s business is done. Millions of email messages every day give people the information they need to do their job, and a badly written message can in fact do a lot of damage.

William Zinsser, April 2006 in On Writing Well

Reality is only for those with no imagination

written by john c ashworth

It takes great imagination to pretend that the capital riot did not place on January 6th of this year. Along with a wide variety of varying and cockeyed belief systems. But that’s not the point of this story, just an example that helps reenforce the idea I’ve introduced in my headline.

A more positive example of how this ‘reality-bending’ can work is the ‘reality distortion tour’ that Steve Jobs created in order to put his ‘dent in the universe.’ You’re likely reading this post, in fact, on a device originally conceived by Steve himself.

My points here today are not political or hypothetical.

The point I really want to make here is one of marketing strategy. One in which you create unreasonable comparisons that favor your product or service. Because one really strategic way you can build perceived value in your products and services is by comparing what you offer to something that is totally different; and maybe even something that your prospect would never even want to buy.

The only limit in this game is your imagination.

The comparison need not be fair.

There are NO Rules – that’s what I really love about this strategy.

You can invest, for example, thousands of dollars a year in an expert coach to help you succeed. Someone who will hold you accountable to your goals, provide expert strategical guidance along the way, and all kinds of support to help keep you propped-up and pursuing your success with steadfast gusto, while your bank account drains at a dramatic and unproductive rate.

Or…

You can subscribe to the ash flash for free, stop by now and again, and very likely run into a post, podcast or video that will so dramatically change your thinking and perspective on a subject, that it will prove to be at the very least 10 times more valuable than hiring me directly as your guide.

See what I did there?

Have fun!

-John

How to clear your mind for great sales copywriting

written and produced by john c ashworth

First, here are a few tips to consider for your copywriting efforts before you even sit down to write.

  • Be fully rested with a good night’s sleep
  • Eat sparingly. Heavy meals will affect your mental sharpness. Try a little intermittent fasting before you sit down to write. I know this works very well for me and is one of the reasons I love to spend time writing first thing in the morning with only a cup or two of coffee on-board.
  • Exercise before you start. If you read this blog regularly, you know that I spent the first 20+ years of my career as an expert fitness professional and personal trainer so I’m a big, big believer in this idea and once again, practice it regularly myself. It’s truly amazing what one simple exercise session can do to clear your mind and make room for your mojo.
  • Turn-off your phone and eliminate any and all distractions. Lock your door, or at the very least close it tight, and make those around you aware that you are writing and are not to be disturbed for any reason.
  • Take a few moments of gratitude so as to cultivate a positive mood and environment.
  • Now, enter the prospect’s mind and the conversation happening therein and go!
How to clear your mind for great sales copywriting

john c ashworth in the home gym

virtual coaching with john c ashworth
Click here for virtual coaching powered by the fitness nomad…

Is your sales pitch missing this important message?

written by john c ashworth

If you are unable to quickly, easily and comfortably communicate the fundamental reason why people or organizations would choose to do business with you and you company above all other options, including doing nothing, you will likely have a very serious problem when prospecting for customers.

In fact, you might not ever even get your foot in the door..

Here’s a quick sales pitch formula to help you get started.

“We assist our _______[clients or customers] in the _______ [industry/business] to _______(what you help them do). We do this by _______[what do you help them do? what problems do you solve for your customers?].”

Don’t cheat this work. I know it sounds simple. Too simple, even.

But it’s not.

As soon as you begin working through this as it relates to your products and services and your company, you will see what I mean. If you haven’t answered other key sales and marketing questions about your business, you will have to go back and do that first, before you can get to this.

This process forces you to consider four very important questions about your business. Questions that I’m sure you’ve thought of at some point or another, but that I know first hand, most small business owners and salespeople don’t spend nearly enought time curating and clarifying so that they can truly hone their efforts.

I’m going through this again in my own work right now so I’m also speaking from very personal and timely experience.

Especially in light of everything that has changed over the last year and a half, it is time to reflect on how you, your work, and your business have changed in an effort to adapt to your customers and the marketplace.

What can you do differently?

How can you craft a killer unique selling proposition? (USP)

Here are those four quick questions that will help get you started.

  1. Dou you work with individuals, organizations, enterprises, associations, or governments?
  2. What industry or industry segment do you specialize in? What segment? What market? What type of business? “…OK, I know, that’s really a few questions in one, but they’re all related.”
  3. How do you assist your customers?
  4. How do you assist your customers?

OK, time to get to work.

-John