Archive for category: Cold Calls
What does running for city council have to do with sales?/in Cold Calls, Lead Generation /by Ray Ruecker
Happy belated fall everyone!
It’s been a few months since I last blogged so here goes.
I live in the Kansas City metro. I specifically live in Mission, Kansas. Kansas City is a collection of several cities on both sides of Kansas and Missouri. The Missouri border from my home is just a few miles away.
The population of Mission is roughly 10,000 people or so. Four years ago, an open city council position came up, I applied and interviewed and they chose someone else. There are 4 wards in my city with 2 representatives each. It was a good experience and I put it behind me and moved on.
Fast forward a few years later. I had lunch with the former mayor of Mission who served 3 terms and was running for another public position and we caught up over a meal and I asked how things were going. She lives in my neighborhood and our dogs play together quite often. This past spring, we caught up again and she asked if I considered running for City Council. I said no and it was out of sight and out of mind.
We had a few more conversations about the open position and right before the deadline, I filed with the election office, paid my $25, and became an official candidate for City Council. I’ll spare you the boring details of elections and politics, but I want to share with you 3 quick lessons that tie into sales and lead generation.
Tap into YOUR circles of influence and don’t try and do it all yourself. What I mean by that is this: After I threw my hat in the ring, I connected with past and present city council members, mayors, influential citizens and let them sing my praises and endorse me. Me tooting my own horn = self-indulgent. Others tooting my horn = solid testimonials and referrals. These people know others I didn’t know personally and it helps to get the word out.
Target your profile audience ruthlessly well. I obtained a list of registered voters and combed through it. I was able to see their basic contact information and more importantly IF they voted or not in the past several elections. I’ve been sending out direct mail, placing signs in people’s yards, etc., and wanted to target ACTIVE voters. It didn’t matter if they were the same affiliation as me. What I cared about is, have they voted in the past 4 recent elections? That eliminated several folks to reach out to. I understand that national elections get the most sizzle and attention, and local elections are not high turnout elections. In sales, targeting correctly is half the battle. Don’t waste your time on prospects who aren’t a fit for you.
Perception is a reality to a certain extent. I ordered 100 signs and have placed them strategically throughout my ward and city. Yes, I had permission to place signs in my neighbor’s yard, but I also connected with friends and people who DON’T live in my ward, can’t vote for me, BUT live in high traffic areas. For example, my friend Nick lives across from a large park with lots of walkers and people driving by. I placed two in his yard. I also approached businesses I frequent that have high traffic and placed them in their work area. For companies and sales executives, pick the RIGHT channels that make sense and be there. Don’t be on every social media channel. Go to the places where your target audience is. I’ve gotten calls from old friends out of the blue who keep saying they see my signs everywhere. Everywhere is relative and I appreciate the sentiment. Have a good website, solid LinkedIn profile, and channels that fit YOUR situation.
Normally I don’t mix business and politics but there are similar principles that overlap between sales and politics. At the end of the day, all elections are sales contests and it’s our job to convince the voters to choose us.
My platform I’m running on? Common sense at the local city level.
I’m Ray Ruecker with Connect 5000.
(Image by Kevin Norris from Pixabay)
It’s Official: My Book Is Finished and Published!/in Cold Calls, General, Lead Generation, Uncategorized /by Ray Ruecker
My 2-year-old “baby” was finally born on October 8, 2020, a few weeks ago.
How to Score from First Base! (In Sales): A Step-by-Step Guide to Shorten Sales Cycles and Multiply Revenue is now available via paperback or Kindle.
Here’s the link: https://www.amazon.com/dp/1735638307
If you’re a sales, marketing, or lead generation leader or executive, I highly recommend this book if you have outbound sales challenges or need improvement with your current system.
Here’s the book summary:
Do You Struggle to Get On First Base with Targeted Companies?
If long-term growth is your goal, this is your playbook. Because in today’s business climate, connecting with key decision-makers and securing meetings is a challenge. Executives rarely pick up the phone, typically ignore emails, and if you do happen to make a live connection, you have seconds to gain their attention. But even with these challenges, you can be successful at connecting with targeted companies by generating qualified sales meetings.
Learn how to:
• Write an introductory email or sales letter that gets a response.
• Leave voicemails that pique curiosity and result in a returned phone call.
• Quickly find contact information for direct decision-makers.
• Bypass the gatekeeper and connect with executives.
• Communicate your values and capture someone’s attention in 10 seconds or less.
• Ask open-ended questions that uncover a prospect’s pain, problems, and challenges.
Whether you are a new or seasoned sales professional, How to Score From First Base! (In Sales) will breathe new life into your day-to-day sales activity. Using both creativity and purposeful connection, this playbook provides a step-by-step guide to shortening sales cycles and multiplying revenue. Because if home plate is your endgame, first base is where you have to start.
Happy Spring! (Sort of.)/in Cold Calls, General, Lead Generation, Prospecting, Sales /by Ray Ruecker
I hope you and your family are holding up okay in this bizarre, unprecedented, and uncertain season of life we’re ALL experiencing.
I unfortunately don’t have anything profound to say that hasn’t been said already.
2 quick quotes that come to mind:
“We have nothing to fear but fear itself.” – Franklin D. Roosevelt (No worries, I’m not taking the virus lightly!)
“If you’re going through hell, keep going.” – Winston Churchill
Connect 5000 had corporate office space for 4 years and a while back, I made the decision for shut down the office and have everyone work from home since I had maybe 2 total visitors swing by my office. (Several clients aren’t located in Kansas City.)
So working from home hasn’t had any major impact on the company.
BUT, with school cancelled the remainder of the year, it’s been a challenge working from home with my 2 kids and wife here all day instead of being in school. Small inconvenience comparatively speaking.
Unfortunately, us small business owners have companies to run during this virus outbreak and we all have a sense of urgency with a recession looming in the background.
We all have sales calls to make and clients to convert.
Prospects in good times were hard enough to connect with and now, our jobs are even tougher. My advice is when you reach out to prospects is to acknowledge the obvious, BUT get back on track and get right to the point of helping your prospects.
Creative Lead Generation Idea: A CEO of a managed services provider in Atlanta, Georgia, gave me this morning:
Send your prospect a bottle of aspirin asking, “Is your technology (Or insert something else) causing you headaches?”
I love it! Short, sweet and to the point! When was the last time you received a bottle of aspirin in the mail?
Hang in there folks!
I’m Ray Ruecker with Connect 5000 and hoping for a quick end to this virus.
Another Sales Weapon To Add To Your Arsenal/in Cold Calls, Lead Generation, Prospecting /by Ray Ruecker
Happy 2020 everyone!
I can’t believe half of January is already gone! Where does time fly?
Last July I was in Hawaii for a family reunion and met up with a Sales VP who was a past client of mine. She told me about BombBomb, a video service. I looked it up and put it in the “Save for later” ideas.
She joked that she was waiting for the FBI to show up at her condo any minute.
Then later in the fall, I heard about BombBomb through Vanessa Edwards because I subscribe to her newsletter.
So in December 2019, I filled out the contact form to request a demo, took a tour, got my questions answered and signed up for one year.
As I’ve mentioned in the past, it’s really hard to get prospect’s attention because they are busy and bombarded all day long.
AND, lots of companies have done away with work desk phones and the ONLY way to catch executives is via email or if you have their cell phone, which they don’t tend to give out easily.
BombBomb is a video marketing service you can use from your desktop and very user friendly. Their website is www.bombbomb.com.
(No worries, I don’t get a penny for referring you to them!)
You can send quick, personal videos to prospects using your work Outlook email or through their online platform.
Voicemails can be impersonal, boring and easily deleted.
Bombbomb gives you a chance to stand out when leave a message, maybe even the same exact voicemail you’d leave a prospect, BUT the prospect can now see you and it gives you a chance to be memorable and let them know that you’re a down to earth individual who wants to connect and communicate versus some anonymous stranger trying to get your attention.
The company has plenty of resources, tips and secrets to get you going. Don’t worry about your videos trying to be slick, professional and perfect. Aim instead for authenticity and just being real.
Let me know how results are working for you if you sign up!
I’m Ray Ruecker with Connect 5000!
Happy Labor Day!/in Cold Calls, Lead Generation, Prospecting, Sales /by Ray Ruecker
Happy Early Labor Day everyone!
I received a well-written email from a potential provider this week asking for some of my time.
I ignored it.
The CEO sent another email and I responded. We went back and forth and I agreed to a demo.
After I agreed to a demo, he emailed me 4 questions, which I graciously answered.
The calendar invite was sent out, I accepted it and thought I wouldn’t hear from them until the scheduled time.
The CEO’s direct report then reached out to me asking me to fill out a 2-minute survey.
I get what he was trying to do but it was a bit too much, especially when they reached out to me initially.
I politely declined the survey and shared with him I had already answered the CEO’s 4 questions.
Folks, don’t over qualify your prospects and don’t make them jump through several hoops! Especially when you made the first contact.
Now if I had originally reached out to this company FIRST, I would understand them wanting additional information before moving forward so they didn’t waste their time or they could assign the appropriate rep.
Make the buying decision experience as smooth and easy as possible.
And if you pre-researched your prospect in advance, you shouldn’t have to ask several questions once they agree to a demo.
Wait for the discovery call to ask these questions when you can chat live with them, not via email.
Have a great holiday weekend!
I’m Ray Ruecker with Connect 5000! Cheers!
Video In Case You Have A Bout of Insomnia/in Cold Calls, Lead Generation, Prospecting /by Ray Ruecker
Happy March Madness everyone!
My team, the Kansas Jayhawks, got knocked out early in the NCAA tournament, which was not exactly a surprise.
This post today will be very short.
I was recently asked by a facilitator at Johnson County Community College to give a presentation to a group of entrepreneurs and small business owners on sales prospecting and lead generation.
The video is long and about 1.5 hours.
Here’s the link so please enjoy!
Ray Ruecker with Connect 5000
Another Reason To Keep Your Sales Pipeline Full/in Cold Calls, Lead Generation, Prospecting /by Ray Ruecker
Happy mid-summer everyone!
4 more weeks to go until school starts. (But who’s counting?)
This summer has flown by quickly. Usually June, July, and August are slow until after Labor Day.
The economy has picked up and I’m thankful to have added 2 new reps this summer.
Quick story: A fractional CFO reached out to me a few months ago. He was a consultant for a 16-month client of mine. He listened in on calls, knew our track record and results, etc.
He was consulting for another healthcare startup company. We had multiple conversations with him and the CEO and if I was in Vegas, betting it would be a client, I would have bet highly with the odds in my favor.
He was a referral, he worked closely with the Sales VP at my client, etc. Referrals tend to move forward at a higher rate.
He requested a proposal and brought it to the board. One of the board members put the brakes on the process because he had a local resource who specialized in calling on healthcare organizations.
The prospect ended up going with them and let me know by phone.
A “yes” is better than “no”. “No” is better than silence and prospects avoiding you.
Keep your foot on the pedal and don’t let up. Verbal deals are never a sure thing until they are signed!
I’m Ray Ruecker with Connect 5000.
Lead Generation / Client Referral Gift Idea/in Cold Calls, Lead Generation, Sales /by Ray Ruecker
I’m an avid reader and about a year ago, I read John Ruhlin’s book, “Giftology”.
It was a fine read with practical advice on corporate gift giving that’s not too self-serving.
A few months ago, I happened to get one of his emails since I had subscribed to his newsletter. Apparently, he hadn’t written in a while and he was out of sight, out of mind to me.
I decided to re-read his book since it’s a short read and gave me some fresh reminders.
Meanwhile, one of my client’s recently referred me to another client and I’m very grateful.
I’ve never met the woman in person and was trying to probe and get some ideas on what she liked to send her a thank you gift.
She wasn’t too revealing on her restaurant and shopping preferences which were fine.
I ended ordering a Cutco knife she can use on a daily basis with her name engraved on it.
I had it gift wrapped and sent to her home.
She loved it! Here’s part of her email response:
I received your surprise gift today. Thank you very much. It was a very kind and thoughtful personalized gesture. Your gift will be much used.
I don’t think what I did was anything that warranted more than a simple Thank You. Patti’s good work bore fruits. Nothing more.
- When you send a corporate or client thank you gift and you have it engraved, don’t put your company name on it. Put the person’s name instead. They’ll remember who gave it to you for the rest of their life.
- If you’re trying to break into an account and are having difficulties, send your prospect a knife with their name on it with a note saying something to the effect of: “Can we carve out some time to chat?”
I’m Ray Ruecker with Connect 5000!
2 More Reasons Why You Should Pick Up The Phone to Prospect/in Cold Calls, Lead Generation, Sales /by Ray Ruecker
Happy mid-October everyone!
It’s been a while since I’ve posted!
In the past, I could make 100 sales calls and reasonably expect to generate 4 to 5 meetings easy. 4-5% response rate.
Seems lately that the sales landscape is much harder to navigate and it’s increasingly difficult to connect with decision makers, regardless of vertical, geography, or management level. Such is life.
As the late Jim Rohn said, “Don’t wish it was easier, wish you were better. Don’t wish for fewer problems, wish for more skills. Don’t wish for less challenge, wish for more wisdom.”
When I reach out for business development efforts for Connect 5000, I make 15 touches before moving on:
6 phone calls / voicemails / attempts to connect live
2 snail mail postal letters
(I’ve noticed that many companies now won’t even let you leave a voicemail. I’ve been told repeatedly that the executive doesn’t have a direct extension or the only way to get a hold of them is by email only. If you can’t leave a phone message, or response rate for email is abysmal, try sending a letter or two to your targeted prospect.)
This week alone, in doing some callbacks for targeted executives, 3 CEO’s who I’ve targeted are no longer with the company. We aren’t talking about entry-level folks, people!
How do I know that?
Because I don’t solely rely on email only. Just because an email doesn’t bounce back as undeliverable, doesn’t mean it got through.
Takeaway #1: Add the phone to your sales arsenal. Just because an email doesn’t bounce back, doesn’t mean it got through. Plus people, including yourself, may have thousands of unread emails in their inbox.
Another observation I’ve noticed is that people don’t update their LinkedIn profile right away, or at all.
I don’t expect when someone loses their job or gets terminated, to update their profile right away. But 6 months or 1 year later, it’s very misleading.
Recently, I reached out to a company after visiting their website and looking at their management team. The website had this particular executive on the website. LinkedIn said this person was still at the company. I called the company and the person who answered said that the executive hadn’t been with the company in years and that they hadn’t updated the website.
My guess is that this company was small but wanted to portray themselves as something bigger than they really were. Kind of like a bag of chips.
So rather than emailing an executive and hoping they respond even though they’re no longer employed there, pick up the phone and save yourself the time and trouble.
Takeaway #2: Countless LinkedIn profiles are not accurate and updated. Company websites aren’t correct either. Take the extra step, pick up the phone, and ask for the executive. If he/she isn’t there, cross them off your list and move on. Bad data is of no value to you.
Enough sales ranting from me. Ray Ruecker with Connect 5000.