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EXECUTION 90 Day Cold Calling Challenge

Crazy GG

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Hello everyone!

I will be making a 90 Day Cold Calling challenge where I will call local businesses for 3 months straight on working days.

With this, I hope to change my life so stakes are high...

I will be posting updates at the end of each day.

P.S.This is inspired by @Vilox legendary post about cold calling and @Fox original webdesign thread. You both guys are legends.


A bit of background
So I started with my business about a year ago before my last year at university.

I messed around with selling websites and Facebook advertising to local businesses.

Even though I have had a bit of success so far (a few clients here and there), it's no where near being a sustainable business and right now I am actually where I started a year ago - without any clients.

Having thought about it a while, I realized that the reason I am not successful is that I am not prospecting consistently...

I might call businesses for a week and then the next two weeks I waste on following up on dead leads and learning how to run a better offer on Facebook even though I don't have any clients.

In my heart I know that I should be reaching out to new businesses but as you all know, our mind is fantastic at procrastinating and making excuses.

No more - I have had enough.


My goals
  1. Prove myself that I am worthy of calling myself an entrepreneur by doing something that actually matters.
  2. Develop a routing of prospecting consistently.
  3. Have a sustainable business at the end of 90 days.
If I can achieve these 3 goals, I will have changed my life. That's the goal.


Challenge Details

  • I will be selling websites.
  • I will call a minimum of 20 new businesses every day (100/week) no matter how many follow up calls I need to do.
    • That's a minimum of 1200 new businesses contacted at the end of 90 days
  • I give myself 3 days maximum in which, if for some reason I cannot do the daily calls, I can compensate the next day by calling 40 businesses and the challenge is still on.

Okay, that's it for now.

See you all this upcoming Monday!
 

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Stargazer

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Sounds like a plan.

Do you have an ideal client type you are looking for?

And do you have an outline of what you are going to say when connected?

This might sound weird but have two pictures on your desk.

An average type of man and woman.

If a man answers talk to the male picture and if a woman vice versa.

Might just be me though. I like to 'see' who I am talking to. :)

Dan
 

Vilox

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90 days is a tall order if you never picked up the phone before. I only did 30, and had to use brute force to push through.

Here are a few tips to make the most out of the experiment:
  • Have an actual product to sell
    Seems like you know how to code a site. But is it a good site? Can you increase their revenues? If you can't, there'll always be a voice in your subconscious telling you that you're wasting people's time. Things get a lot easier when you have a product that’ll offer a ROI. Then you’re actually doing people a favor by ringing them up and presenting your solution.
  • Go all in
    Instead of doing 90 days, maybe take two weeks and dedicate yourself full-time to the experiement. When I wasn’t on the phone I was reading, researching new leads or talking to people already in the industry. Working a day job and making two or three calls during your lunch break might help with overcoming anxiety, but you need time to review and think about where to improve.
  • Find a solution for lead generation
    Back when I started out, I ended up spending more time finding people to call than I’d actually spend on the phone. As a matter of fact, it become a welcome excuse to not pick up the phone first thing in the morning. Get a list with 100 people to call now, so you don’t have to divert your attention later.
  • Record yourself
    I started way too late with this. You’ll pick up nuances you missed during the call. You can judge whether you would have convinced yourself. Listening to your own recordings in a daily review session is beyond incredible.
  • Reach out to people in the industry
    I hit up a few people in the industry and asked them to review one of my calls. People are a lot more helpful than you’d think if you approach them with a clearly-defined problem. Best decision of my Sales career.
  • Keep your head up
    It took me like three weeks to sell my first site. You’ll stumble. You’ll make a fool of yourself. More than once. And that’s okay. You’re moving ahead. Picking up the phone and not closing the deal is a success. Not making a call in the first place is the real failure.
  • Sales is hard, but everything worth doing is
    And whether it's dating, making friends or making money, Sales is one of the most transferable and valuable skills to have. Even if you don’t sell a single site, it’ll still be an immensely helpful experience.
All that being said, let me know if you need anything.

To your success!
 
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Crazy GG

Crazy GG

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Sounds like a plan.

Do you have an ideal client type you are looking for?

And do you have an outline of what you are going to say when connected?

This might sound weird but have two pictures on your desk.

An average type of man and woman.

If a man answers talk to the male picture and if a woman vice versa.

Might just be me though. I like to 'see' who I am talking to. :)

Dan
Hey Dan!

Yes, I have a very basic script ready.

As for the outline, not yet. But your suggestion makes a lot of sense and after 1-2 weeks when I will have talked to a few business owners, I will sort of know which ones I like and then I can look to implement having two clear pictures and descriptions of business owners that I am looking for.
 
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Crazy GG

Crazy GG

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90 days is a tall order if you never picked up the phone before. I only did 30, and had to use brute force to push through.

Here are a few tips to make the most out of the experiment:
  • Have an actual product to sell
    Seems like you know how to code a site. But is it a good site? Can you increase their revenues? If you can't, there'll always be a voice in your subconscious telling you that you're wasting people's time. Things get a lot easier when you have a product that’ll offer a ROI. Then you’re actually doing people a favor by ringing them up and presenting your solution.
  • Go all in
    Instead of doing 90 days, maybe take two weeks and dedicate yourself full-time to the experiement. When I wasn’t on the phone I was reading, researching new leads or talking to people already in the industry. Working a day job and making two or three calls during your lunch break might help with overcoming anxiety, but you need time to review and think about where to improve.
  • Find a solution for lead generation
    Back when I started out, I ended up spending more time finding people to call than I’d actually spend on the phone. As a matter of fact, it become a welcome excuse to not pick up the phone first thing in the morning. Get a list with 100 people to call now, so you don’t have to divert your attention later.
  • Record yourself
    I started way too late with this. You’ll pick up nuances you missed during the call. You can judge whether you would have convinced yourself. Listening to your own recordings in a daily review session is beyond incredible.
  • Reach out to people in the industry
    I hit up a few people in the industry and asked them to review one of my calls. People are a lot more helpful than you’d think if you approach them with a clearly-defined problem. Best decision of my Sales career.
  • Keep your head up
    It took me like three weeks to sell my first site. You’ll stumble. You’ll make a fool of yourself. More than once. And that’s okay. You’re moving ahead. Picking up the phone and not closing the deal is a success. Not making a call in the first place is the real failure.
  • Sales is hard, but everything worth doing is
    And whether it's dating, making friends or making money, Sales is one of the most transferable and valuable skills to have. Even if you don’t sell a single site, it’ll still be an immensely helpful experience.
All that being said, let me know if you need anything.

To your success!
Hey Vilox, great to hear from you and thanks for the advice!

I do have a great product to sell!

I understand what you mean by going all in - the thing is that I have done cold calls before and I have gotten over most of the anxiety - my problem is not doing the calls regularly enough.

I also outsource my lists and I have a list of 100 businesses ready!

I definitely like your suggestion about asking someone to review my calls - I hadn't thought about that!

About recording - I have recorded myself in the past and done the daily review sessions but I wasn't sure about what I needed to look for...What is it that you look for when you review your call?

Thanks :)

P.S. What software did you use to record yourself?
 

Vilox

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About recording - I have recorded myself in the past and done the daily review sessions but I wasn't sure about what I needed to look for...What is it that you look for when you review your call?
That's not a good question. If you didn't notice anything you're either a natural-born salesman or socially retarded.

Ask yourself: Were you satisfied with what you heard? Would you have been interested if you were the prospect? Personally, I had a lot of 'uhms' and 'ahs' in there. Another problem was delivery. I was too quiet, too fast, and too timid. It's not only what you say, but how you say it. Conviction goes a long way.

But those are issues you should notice yourself. If you find someone to help you, ONLY send them what you think is your best call. And for the love of god, show that you put some effort in. What do you think went well, what didn't? If you're running against a wall, what have you tried to get over it?

Case in point, it's been more than a year since I started my thread, and to this day I get dozens of messages like:

"sup, i'm afraid of picking up the phone, what should i do?".

Why on earth would I even dignify that with a response? I'm always happy to help you climb the ladder, but I'm not going to climb it for you. Here's a good message for comparison:

"I've been making 20 calls a day for the past two weeks. 48 calls ended with the secretary shooing me off. I tried to refer to their boss on a first-name basis to imply friendship, I pitched them directly, I asked to get connected to a decision maker. I even feigned anger once ("How dare you not connect me?!") to imply status, but all to no avail. Here's a recording that paints a good picture of the situation. I'm friendly, enthusiastic and accommodating, yet I get told in no uncertain terms that their boss is not interested. I was wondering if I could get you on a 10 minute call to discuss the matter."
 

Crexty

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I'm happy to see this post. Not many people are willing to pickup the phone these days.

My advice for you would be to just get in there and start. I was once told this and it was the best advice ever given to me.

You're going to mess up on some of the calls.
You're going to get hung up on a lot.
You're going to annoy lots of people.
You're going to want to quit.

But just keep going, every no / negative reaction you get is 1 call closer to a yes.

People have made millions on the phone, you can too. Go get it
 
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Crazy GG

Crazy GG

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Day 1 Summary

Dials: 20
Reached: 4 (20%)
Leads: 0 (0%)

Just finished my first prospecting session. Hadn't done any cold calls for more than 2 weeks so definitely had some anxiety in the beginning but felt great afterward!

Only managed to reach 4 businesses which is quite low. However, reach rate is usually very low on Mondays so we will have to see in the next couple of days.

The conversations I had weren't that great, either. Two people dropped the phone during my intro while the other two had the following objections (I am calling plumbers, by the way):
  • "Don't need one (a website)"
  • "You're a young entrepreneur and you're costing us money"
Here is my intro script, by the way:

Hi, this is Crazy GG,​

I found you guys on Yell.

I am young entrepreneur and I saw that (you don't seem to have a website) your site seems a bit outdated, so I wanted to reach out and ask if you have been thinking about (getting) updating it?

["Yes"] Oh I see. Do you have any person in mind or your just looking around?

["No"] Okay. I sense that you don't see much value in a new site...How do you currently get new customers?​

It's a bit early to make any conclusions but I feel like I took too long to get to the point which is why they dropped the phone so early. I am trying to speak relatively slowly and clearly in order not to sound like a typical telemarketer but it seems like it backfired a bit.

That's it for today!

Talk to you tomorrow
 

Vilox

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Well done!

Hi, this is Crazy GG,
I found you guys on Yell.

I am young entrepreneur and I saw that (you don't seem to have a website) your site seems a bit outdated, so I wanted to reach out and ask if you have been thinking about (getting) updating it?

["Yes"] Oh I see. Do you have any person in mind or your just looking around?

["No"] Okay. I sense that you don't see much value in a new site...How do you currently get new customers?
You're skipping a step here. For most people a website is 'just a thing' they have. They don't know that they could earn more money by updating it, so why bother? You have to use those precious first seconds to make them realize that it's advantageous for them to talk to you. (new site = consistently higher profits)

Screen your leads a little and look for companies who have clear problems. Even someone who's not tech-savvy will concede that a site that has been built more than 10 years ago probably needs some work. Once you got the basics down you can focus on more advanced issues (landing page, email funnel, call back service). I love bringing in competitors ("We built a new site for a company quite similar to yours [niche, staff size] three months ago, and since then they've made at least 100 additional sales each month"). SMEs are really afraid of falling behind, and rightly so.

Anyway, preparation will take a little longer if you go down this route. But since you don't seem to be overly afraid of making the call I'll just assume that you want to generate sales as soon as possible. Trust me, just a little research makes the entire call A LOT easier and will save you time in the long run.

That being said, playing the numbers game works just as well. Personally I needed the first 1000 calls just to stop letting my feelings be affected by whatever the person on the other end of the line would say to me.

Keep up the good work!
 
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Crazy GG

Crazy GG

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Well done!
You're skipping a step here. For most people a website is 'just a thing' they have. They don't know that they could earn more money by updating it, so why bother? You have to use those precious first seconds to make them realize that it's advantageous for them to talk to you. (new site = consistently higher profits)
Thanks for your input!

What would you suggest to capture their attention within first seconds?

"Hey, just wanted to ask you guys if you are looking to increase your profit margins?" - something like that?

I know you're supposed to sell not the site itself, but what it does, but I feel like the line above might come off very "salesy".
 

CaioSakai

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Crazy GG, that's a very nice topic and motivational to those with the same challenge as you have like me.

Currently I'm starting to cold call companies in a more research like fashion to my educational business, your post gave me a good boost to keep pressing! (it's not easy at beginning for sure!)
 

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Crazy GG

Crazy GG

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Crazy GG, that's a very nice topic and motivational to those with the same challenge as you have like me.

Currently I'm starting to cold call companies in a more research like fashion to my educational business, your post gave me a good boost to keep pressing! (it's not easy at beginning for sure!)
Glad you are finding it useful. Go get 'em!
 

Stargazer

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What do you mean plumbers?

One man bands or small plumbing companies looking to grow?

The former you are probably wasting your time if where you live is anything like the UK.

There is a reason they ignore calls and bugger off half way through your job to do another one. There is a reason we say 'you can never get a good any tradesmen type'

It is because they have no end of work irrespective of their websites being bad or even existing.

So they definitely don't need your help.

A small company sitting at number two or three in town though is a different kettle of fish. They want to be number one. They have big overheads, staff diaries to fill up etc.

Are you calling the former or the latter group? If the former change to the latter group.

Dan
 
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Crazy GG

Crazy GG

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What do you mean plumbers?

One man bands or small plumbing companies looking to grow?

The former you are probably wasting your time if where you live is anything like the UK.

Dan
I definitely see your point. Right now I feel like I am calling to mix of both groups because I am emphasizing the actual calling over researching but I will pay more attention to the type of businesses they are once I establish a daily routine of picking up the phone and calling.
 
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Crazy GG

Crazy GG

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Day 2 Summary

Dials: 21
Reached: 10 (47.62%)
Leads: 0 (0%)

Okay, today was a big improvement in people reached as I actually got to talk to more businesses.

I kept my script similar to yesterday's because I wanted to call more people before I jumped to conclusions (I just made it a bit shorter).

Hi, this is Crazy GG. I was calling because I saw that (you don't seem to have a website) your site seems a bit outdated, so I wanted to reach out and ask if you have been thinking about (getting) updating it?
All of the people respond with NO to the first line (which I expect), so I try to ask them more about why they feel like a new website is not useful for them - some of them actually took the time to tell me why which is great because I got some info out of them!

My biggest thing to improve is to stay in the calls when they say NO and throw out the objections because I feel like I kind of give up when they say NO which is actually when the real sales begins (according to sales experts I have read).

So my goal for tomorrow is to stay in the calls no matter what as I am not allowed to drop the phone myself.

Till tomorrow, hustlers!

P.S. One guy asked me if the website I was offering was for free which was a bit funny. But I guess I wasn't really coming off as important, so I need to sound more assertive.
 

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(Not tested at all so take with pinch of salt. But am not a million miles from this.)

Hi. I'm not a customer but I just have a real quick question for you. I've been asking local plumbers why they don't upgrade their websites. After all you upgrade your phones, your tools and your vehicles on a regular basis. Heck, my mate upgrades his wife every 3 years. So what is your reason?'

And then deal with it.

So basically I am getting right to it. You don't know me and I am not enquiring about any work so want that switched off in their head immediately. Quickly move from their to yours to get them thinking they do upgrade. Reason I use upgrade is look at your TV. Upgraded right? Chuck a cheeky line in as I am talking to males and then waiting.

This would be for one man band types. An office would have a different lead in. More professional if you like.

Not saying use the above as I don't call plumber type people. Just want you to know how I kind of adapt what I learned about this Thomas Watson line years ago.

Dan
 
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Crazy GG

Crazy GG

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(Not tested at all so take with pinch of salt. But am not a million miles from this.)

Hi. I'm not a customer but I just have a real quick question for you. I've been asking local plumbers why they don't upgrade their websites. After all you upgrade your phones, your tools and your vehicles on a regular basis. Heck, my mate upgrades his wife every 3 years. So what is your reason?'

Dan
Will definitely test this either on Thursday or Friday...Thanks!
 

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What do you mean plumbers?

One man bands or small plumbing companies looking to grow?

The former you are probably wasting your time if where you live is anything like the UK.

There is a reason they ignore calls and bugger off half way through your job to do another one. There is a reason we say 'you can never get a good any tradesmen type'

It is because they have no end of work irrespective of their websites being bad or even existing.

So they definitely don't need your help.

A small company sitting at number two or three in town though is a different kettle of fish. They want to be number one. They have big overheads, staff diaries to fill up etc.

Are you calling the former or the latter group? If the former change to the latter group.

Dan
This.

Is there really a need? The plumbers I know are either working for a larger company or are self-employed contracted by agencies. They seem to have something to do all the time.

Someone with my number must have been a plumber because I keep getting jobs/contracts all the time(Im no plumber) and there seems to be a lot of available well paid work.

It's interesting that they are so bad at picking up the phone. That might be an opportunity worth exploring.
 
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Crazy GG

Crazy GG

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This.

Is there really a need? The plumbers I know are either working for a larger company or are self-employed contracted by agencies. They seem to have something to do all the time.
One reason I am calling plumbers and tradesman is that most of the time I will get to the decision maker since they are quite small and most don't have secretaries.

That's one upside of calling small businesses. Yes, they probably won't be able to afford to spend much but at least when I am practicing my cold calling, I can practice with the real decisionmaker.

When I gain more skill in calling, I will aim for bigger companies!
 
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Crazy GG

Crazy GG

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Day 3 Summary

Dials: 20
Reached: 9 (45%)
Leads: 1! (14.29%)

Got my first real lead!!!

So I decided to test @Stargazer 's suggested script and it worked quite well!

When I say I want to ask them a quick question and ask if now's a bad time, most of them are quite receptive and say "Go on" which buys me valuable seconds of their attention and I can proceed.

When I did proceed and start talking about websites, most of them dropped the phone, so in the middle of the prospecting session, I switched it to talking about their "online presence" as it doesn't trigger the defense mechanism that much. Overall, I need to improve on this part and make it shorter so they don't drop the phone.

From the plumbers that didn't drop the phone, I learned two things:
  1. Most of their business comes from word of mouth (expected)
  2. They don't do anything online (which means they don't see value of having a good site)
I know I need to attack the second point and show them that there is value.

This is actually my main thing to improve for tomorrow - when they say "I don't do anything online because most of my customers come from word of mouth", I need to come up with short and specific question that get's them to reconsider that.

Something like "Are you aware that most plumbers lose out on many potential customers online?"

I would be happy for suggestions as well!

About the lead

Funny enough, this was the first call I made today. The guy initially said that he doesn't need websites because there is no point but I stuck through and asked him more questions.

After a while, he asked if I do websites and I said "I am a new designer so I am looking for some portfolio work actually".

He said to call back at 6 so I will do that. Overall, my response wasn't the best because I implied I am cheap but will see what happens. At least I got my first lead :)

That's it for today!

Also - thank you all for responses. I appreciate them very much!

Till tomorrow
 
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Crazy GG

Crazy GG

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Day 4 Summary

Dials: 20
Reached: 10 (20%)
Leads: 1 (10%)

So today was a lot better in terms of keeping the conversations going. I had 4-5 conversations that were longer than 3 minutes, and the reason is that I try to ask as many questions as possible.

I only had 2 dropped phones which is quite good compared to other days!

Today I also discovered that there are plumbers that do care about their online presence. A lot more than you would think. A lot of them are quite familiar with SEO in general which means that there is some awareness out there.

The lead I got wasn't the best because he didn't explicitly say he needs a new site, but he said he's thinking about re-branding and doing a new logo (apparently he's a graphic designer on side) and I said I would be happy to help him out with building a new site, so he said to send over my details. I will try to follow up with him in the next couple of days.

Main thing to improve

I definitely need to improve on the type of questions I ask.

I am okay with getting them talk now but I am not developing any needs and I feel it's because I ask questions haphazardly and a lot of them are situational questions (if you're aware of the SPIN model).

Tomorrow I will look to improve on this.

Other than that, hopefully Friday will bring some more leads!

Cheers,

Crazy GG
 

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Vilox

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Have you thought about recording the calls and uploading to youtube like this guy?
I'm no lawyer, but sharing calls publicly without the other party's consent might cause trouble down the road.
 
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I'm no lawyer, but sharing calls publicly without the other party's consent might cause trouble down the road.
It depends on the state. Some states are 1 party consent, others are two party.

I would bleep out any identifying information just to protect their privacy, but other than that I wouldn't worry about it.
 
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Crazy GG

Crazy GG

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Day 5 Summary

Dials: 23
Reached: 9 (39.1%)
Leads: 0 (0%)

Not the best day on the phone. Didn't reach many people and didn't get much out of the people I did reach.

People seemed to be put off by the idea of me wanting to ask questions as they see it as a waste of time, so possibly need to think of a more compelling opening line.

Still, the biggest thing to improve is my questions and getting plumbers to change their mind about online.

In the two solid conversations I did have today, the plumbers said they considered anything related to online a waste of time and they said they are getting enough work anyways.

When I asked if they thought whether a poor online presence (i.e. bad website) could speak negatively about their service (even to their referral customers), they even said yes but I didn't manage to build enough pain points.

Next week I will try to improve even more on my questions and possibly switch some things up in the opening line.

Have a great weekend guys,

Crazy GG
 
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Crazy GG

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Day 6 Summary

Dials: 20
Reached: 14 (70%)
Leads: 0 (0%)

It's Monday again - which means I'm back at it!

Today I had a very good reach rate which means that my previous hypothesis that people don't pick up the phone on Mondays was wrong.

I continued with the previous week's script but the first couple of calls didn't get past the initial line. That was probably due to the fact that there is not much value for the person answering (who wants to give his/her opinion to a random person who sounds like a salesman).

I decided to switch up the opening line and make it shorter: Hi! I'm not a customer, I just had couple of questions about plumbing industry and I thought maybe you guys could help. Do you have two minutes?

After all people like to help out, and I thought this line doesn't sound so "salesy".

It worked a bit better and instead of people telling me they're not interested or dropping the phone, they hesitated and thought about what I was asking (which means I wasn't triggering the SALESMAN sensor as much)

About 3-4 people asked me to call back this evening as supposedly it wasn't a good time to talk, so will do that this evening.

Other than that, I had one solid conversation with a plumber who said he considers online presence very important for his business. Unfortunately he already is getting his site updated already but he might be a good lead if I decide to sell digital marketing services for plumbers down the road.

That's it for today. Hopefully I get something in the evening when I follow up with those 3-4 people.

Crazy GG
 
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Crazy GG

Crazy GG

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Day 7 Summary

Dials: 20
Reached: 6 (30%)
Leads: 0 (0%)

After yesterday's unusually high reach rate, today I reached very low number of companies.

I thought a lot how I can adapt the opening line of the script to include something of value to the person picking up the phone which I felt I was missing in the previous days.

Since I am calling companies I find on one of the biggest online directories in UK and a lot of business I have talked to are not satisfied with it, I decided to go for that:

Hey, I was calling because I saw your company on Yell. I wanted to find out what kind of experience have you had with them?

I definitely didn't talk to enough people today to judge the effectiveness of this line but I myself feel a lot more confident using it, and I think the confidence is what matters most not the actual words so good enough for me.

I will now follow up with the companies that didn't pick up by email.

Still no sales, but I am trying to keep positive and look long-term.

Crazy GG
 

Vilox

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Hey, I was calling because I saw your company on Yell. I wanted to find out what kind of experience have you had with them?
Not sure where this conversations is supposed to go. Just tell them what you're about, but frame it in a way that's beneficial to them. Something along the lines of:

I help companies acquire and retain customers through the Internet vs. I build websites

Good job on keeping the streak going!
 
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Crazy GG

Crazy GG

Bronze Contributor
Read Millionaire Fastlane
Speedway Pass
Mar 28, 2018
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Riga, Latvia
Not sure where this conversations is supposed to go.
I'm trying to avoid their "saleman sensor" by starting the conversation indirectly. The goal is to get them opening up because many of the plumbers hate Yell and I am hoping that some of them would start going off about it and then I could jump in with my pitch.

I help companies acquire and retain customers through the Internet vs. I build websites
This is more of a direct approach and direct approaches hasn't worked well for me (I tried them day 1 and 2) as most of the people say "not interested" and drop the phone.

What do you say after the first line? "I was wondering if you're looking for more customers?" - something like that?
 

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