Like most business owners there are periods when satisfying a client just isn’t going to happen. As a cold caller, I not only need to generate leads and set appointments for my clients, but I must sometimes educate them as well. Cold calling believe it or not is a marketing art form. Not everyone can or should do cold calling . It takes a certain amount of patience to first locate the decision maker of a company and then talk them into a meeting they didn’t know they wanted. Not everyone has the instinct to book a meeting with someone and pre qualify them as a viable lead at the same time. My rule of thumb is to never book an appointment with a prospect for a client who…
A. Don’t have a need for the product or service.
B. Aren’t looking to make a change to current service within 1-3 months
C. Have no interest in meeting to begin with.
When you have a limited number of hours to book appointments for a client, (usually for me it’s 7 hours a week). You sometimes don’t make your quota. Let’s face it; 7 hours a week isn’t a lot of time to make 100 calls just to find that one person who may be interested in meeting with my client and fit the criteria listed above. Not to mention the fact that I need to get through 50 or so people who tell me “ not interested“. And let’s not forget those people who let their calls go directly to voice mail (who are nearly impossible to reach-by the way.) When you’re a cold caller it becomes imperative that you produce. Clients don’t really care how you produce so long as you do. When you don’t, it can sometimes be a problem explaining why the quota wasn’t met. I think that when a client isn’t happy with your work for what ever reason, there are a few ways to handle it. You can….
A. Try to satisfy the client as best you can. Sometimes you need to go that extra mile by putting in more hours (billing them for more hours may not be an option at this point especially if they are unhappy with your work to begin with.) Again, a client doesn’t really care how you get the job done. And like any business, it’s really about keeping the customer happy whenever possible.
B. Try to educate and explain why a particular plan of action isn’t working and re-work it. There have been times when a client will ask me to contact a certain industry and perhaps because of economic slow down, the results were less than satisfactory. Here’s a great example. I had a mortgage broker as a client earlier this year who was interested in booking appointments with prospects looking to re-finance. Now what’s important to note is that in my industry, each account is different. No two insurance accounts work the same way, particularly if you’re calling various parts of the world. Anyway, this account was focusing all of it’s marketing in the Northern Californian region. And as many of you know, the mortgage industry has gone thru some major problems with re-fi accounts. Mortgage brokers are also having problems with new accounts because of a trickle down effect in the market (too complicated to explain here without a degree in finance.) More than 90% of the leads I contacted at the time (which the client provided) were not interested in refinancing. Keep in mind that you can’t force someone to refinance their home or change insurance carriers or hire a new janitorial service. If someone isn’t open to changing; then they aren’t going to change…period. There has to be not only an interest in changing but also a need. Now the interesting thing about the mortgage industry as with every industry goes through slumps. Little did we know at the time that the mortgage industry would be next to experience this and in a big way. I don’t deal with failure well. Never have really. But the sense of failure that comes with letting go of a client teaches you valuable lessons that are frankly, priceless. All you can really do is the best you can with the information you have at the time.
more in the next column