How to become Captain Cold Call
If you feel like you need superpowers to hit quota this quarter, discover what it takes to transform into sales superhero, CAPTAIN COLD CALL!
By the end of the webinar, you'll have a better understanding of a whole host of skills and techniques to power up your results.
Can Captain Cold Call meet quota? Yes. Definitely.
Joe: Hello and welcome to B2B Superpowers brought to you as ever by Lead Forensics. I’m your host, Joe Ducarreaux. In this webinar series, we bring you the very best sales and marketing superheroes to share their best tips and tricks to guide you to becoming your very own superhero.
Our superhero this week, who’s on hand to help you answer the call to become Captain Cold Call is none other than Matthew Provins, Head of Partnerships and Enablement at Glencoco.
Matthew, how are you doing today?
Matthew: I’m fantastic. How about you?
Joe: I’m all good. Thank you. Very excited to start this with you, this is exceptional stuff. So armed with exceptional communication skills and unwavering confidence, Captain Cold Call possesses the ability to connect with prospects and turn even the coldest leads into warm opportunities.
So Matthew, as we know, a lot of superheroes have an Achilles Heel or a weakness that could deter their performance. What is the Kryptonite of cold calling?
Matthew: So this is one I actually spoke with my colleagues about to see if they agreed with me. We all agreed, it’s having expectations going into a call.
That is probably the biggest Achilles heel that anybody can have. The best cold callers don’t go into it expecting it to be a cold call or convert into a meeting. They go into it expecting to have a conversation and build a relationship. The best thing you can legitimately do is just be a human being. Be yourself. Go in and have your questions ready to go. But also be prepared to answer questions with your prospect and don’t get a defensive or off put with the objections. I know we’re going to go more into objections later and I’ll cover my bases there. But that’s overall it, it is just not having expectations.
I know that’s a big thing, mostly with newer or green SDRs. That’s something that you get better at as you go on into your career. But if that’s something I had been told going in, I would have ramped up even faster.
Joe: Yeah, I suppose it’s, as you say, a mistake that you probably make very early on in your career. Thinking well, this call is definitely going to sell straight away, straight off the bat. So can we go a bit more into the building the relationship side of things then? What techniques do you use to help build rapport when you’re on a cold call?
Matthew: Once again, I know we’re going to go into active listening later, but that’s probably the number one thing you can really implement when it comes to building a relationship. Is just legitimately showing the person that you care about them, their time, their day, their job, their company, every little piece of information available. It’s very psychological. I studied psychology when I was going to college, I ended up dropping out, but I took a lot of those skills from learning what I got from my professors and implemented that when I transitioned into my first SDR role. It’s truly just understanding what that person on the other side of the phone is going through as you’re having that conversation with them. Putting yourself in their shoes and understanding. Okay. If this person were to say this thing to me, how would I respond?
Joe: 100%. The number of times that I have to put myself in those shoes if we’re creating a piece of content for Lead Forensics or something like that. I have to look at it and say, okay, if I’m seeing this for the first time, what is my initial reaction to this? Does it work?
You’re trying to find out what pain points that your prospect has, how much of it is trying to determine whether or not they’re a good fit for you, in the same way that you’re a good fit for them. Does that make sense?
Matthew: I’m going to say something that some SDRs and leaders won’t like but disqualifying is more important than qualifying. I’m just going to say that off the bat. It is more important to find somebody who’s not going to fit because then that gets you a step closer to finding somebody who will fit. Even then, when you’re using your disqualification questions, you may find that this person may be a fit later on. So not only have you found out that this person doesn’t work now, but you’ve created a warm lead six months down the line, a year down the line, whatever it is. Then you can reach back out to them at that point. Now you’ve already built that relationship up and getting that lead into a meeting is super easy.
Joe: We mentioned right at the very start of this, we were going to come to objection handling. So let’s go into that right now. So objection handling, it’s a common foe for salespeople. So what techniques can we equip ourselves with to make sure we’re ready for action when we’re cold calling?
Matthew: So this one is probably fairly typically hard to implement, it has to become a habit. It’s using ‘yes and’ rather than ‘yes but’. There’s a surprising amount of SDRs I speak to and enable that don’t know that. Especially new people coming into the field, even sales leaders. They’ve tried to close me on demos and they go, yeah, but compared to our competitor. I don’t care what you’re like compared to your competitor. I want to know what makes you unique. Why should I be speaking to you right now? I may speak to your competitor, that shouldn’t matter to you. What should matter is what makes you good, not better. But good in your own unique way.
So when somebody throws you an objection, oftentimes that’s going to be a pain point that you can utilize. Be like, yeah, and I completely agree with you on that point and we can actually help you with this as well. It’s just using the word ‘and’, ‘and’, ‘and’ moving forward through that. Once you use the word ‘but’ that creates a negative connotation and it immediately sets your prospect away from you. It’s a very political power move. It’s something that takes a lot of time to really implement and use. I even catch myself many times using ‘yes but’ rather than ‘yes and’ and I’ve been doing this for a while now. You just have to mentally think, how am I talking? How does my prospect hear me? Sometimes just slow down. It’s better to have a pause in your conversation than it is to go, ‘um, uh, but’, things like that.
Joe: Absolutely. There’s a few points that I wanted to cover off on that one. So the ‘yes and’ thing, that resonates with me particularly because I’m aware that a lot of improvisational comedians say that’s the rule, isn’t it? You always say ‘yes and’ and you go with the bit but buy yourself that time.
Something that I’ve discovered when I’ve been doing recordings, podcasts, anything like that. As much as I don’t want there to be dead air within the call or within the show, whatever it is that I’m doing. Sometimes the person on the other end of the line will fill that silence for you. If you deliberately leave that pause, it’s on both of you. Both of you are recognizing, okay, there is a silence, someone needs to fill it. 50% of it is them. So then what might happen is, you just take a breather, calm yourself down from whatever, just bring yourself back to center yourself. What might happen in that silence is they open up with something else that you can go, Oh, actually, that is something that we can use.
Matthew: I think that’s a superpower move right there. Because if your prospect is truly interested and they want to have that conversation with you, they will be the ones filling that silence. Then you immediately know, I have them on the hook, I just need to continue this conversation, reel them in.
Joe: Absolutely. Well, that’s a fantastic tip. Thank you, Matthew. That’s a fantastic piece of value that you’ve given for everybody watching this. So I think we’ve covered off the active listening piece. Did you want to add anything more to active listening at all?
Matthew: The most important thing to active listening is not just shutting up but it’s also asking questions and not just any questions, but the right ones. You’ve got to make sure your questions are open-ended because once your prospect gives you a ‘yes’ or ‘no’, that part of the conversation is done. It’s very hard to continue that part of that conversation. So asking them an open-ended question rather than, Is your favourite colour green? It’s, why is your favourite colour green? That is my favourite colour, so how you say it is going to be a huge pointer because then that continues the conversation down the line.
Surprisingly, people don’t do that so often. As I’m listening through people’s cold calling. Why are you using closed-ended questions? That’s probably one of the biggest pieces of feedback I have to give SDRs every day.
Joe: Again, there’s a parallel with myself there. That’s absolutely right. I try to make sure that every question I ask, it’s not a simple, ‘yes’ answer. Because suddenly, oh, well, that’s that answered then, let’s move on to the next thing. Getting back to Captain Cold Call then. Resilience is absolutely a key power of Captain Cold Call. So how can we emulate this when we’re handling rejection?
Matthew: Handling rejection is something at the very beginning of your career, it’s very important to internalize that majority of the time you’re not failing. It’s just exactly how sales is. So you need to have the mindset of when I get this ‘no’, I’m a step closer to getting a ‘yes’ from the next person. That’s all it truly is. Let’s be realistic. Not everybody’s going to be cut out for it. People are going to churn. That’s just how it is.
If you’re one of those people where you can stand up and think, I’m not going to take this rejection as a failure. I’m going to take it as a learning lesson on how I can improve. Most of the time it’s just going to be that person was going to say ‘no’, no matter what I said or asked.
You have to get over yourself. That’s really it, right? The sooner you realize that, not only the easier your career is going to be as a sales rep, but the better you’re going to be as a sales rep because you’re going to be able to continue smiling while you’re dialing.
Joe: Nice. Very good. It puts me in mind something that I’ve only recently learned myself. So, a friend of mine, Tyler Witt, who also works for Lead Forensics, he’s a fantastic sales leader. He said, the thing to do when facing the constant rejection that you get with cold calling is separate your result from your performance. Because as you said, that could be the best cold call of your entire career but that person still might not say ‘yes’. It cannot be your fault in that instance because you have done the best you possibly can, but they still said ‘no’. So separating the result and the performance is absolutely crucial.
That’s something that I’ve absolutely taken on board. So that’s just a little tip that I’d offer up for people trying to become Captain Cold Call.
Matthew: That’s a fantastic tip. I completely agree. Even beyond your career as an SDR, even as a leader, you often have to separate what you’re doing from the result that comes from it. Without failure, you cannot learn. Albert Einstein made a quote about that. I don’t know what the exact quote is, but something like if you, if you don’t fail, if you only succeed, if you’re perfect, then you don’t learn anything in life.
Joe: If I could tie it back to superheroes, I very much remember Alfred in Batman Begins saying, ‘Why do we fall Master Bruce? So we can learn to pick ourselves back up’. You can really tell I’m enjoying this superheroes angle that we’re going for. Fantastic.
Matthew: I’m a huge nerd. I love superheroes too. So I appreciate this a lot.
Joe: That’s fantastic. You’re a perfect fit for us then Matthew. Let’s move on to the next point I want to ask you about. If we’re trying to become Captain Cold Call then, one of our nemeses is surely the gatekeeper. Can you give us some pointers on how to get gatekeepers on our side?
Matthew: I think the first thing is actually not to think of your gatekeeper as a nemesis. I love how you picture that! Your gatekeeper can become your best friend or your champion, as we call it within the sales world. Most sales leaders, if you’re listening to this, you get cold calls throughout the day. I get cold calls throughout the day and sometimes they annoy me. I’ve had a busy day. I’m a little bit grumpy, but one thing I will never do is treat somebody badly. You have to think the same thing of your gatekeeper, no matter if they are gatekeepers, if they’re the front desk receptionist, if they’re the intern, who cares. The first thing you want to ask them is how is your day going and so and so. Treat them as a human being, develop them into your champion.
I was listening to a call the other day, I had a session with one of the SDRs on our platform. I spoke with her directly about this. The next call she made, she said. Hey, so and so, how’s your day going? Blah, blah, blah and then that gatekeeper gave her the direct mobile line to the decision maker. It was as simple as just treating them like a human. That’s the only secret. That’s really all you need to know.
Joe: But be genuinely interested in that as well. It’s the difference between. ‘Oh yeah, how are you doing’ versus ‘Hey. How are you doing? How’s your day? Everything going, alright? What’d you have for lunch? What are you having for your dinner?’ Something like that, I suppose. So we’re trying to convert them from our nemesis into our allies is what you’re saying.
Matthew: Exactly. There’s a lot of superheroes that have done that. Batman versus Superman. Superman became the ally after the great fight, after he was revived from the dead. You look at it exactly the same way. He remembered who he was and your gatekeeper can remember who they are and their job is to help you.
Joe: It’s a perfect analogy. I’m very pleased we didn’t go down the route of just going like, Oh, our moms have the same name. So that means we can be a team now because that was ridiculous. Speaking of the Caped Crusader, just as Robin looks up to Batman, we can leverage mentors when improving our cold calling powers. What key lessons should a good sales leader pass on to their trusty sidekicks?
Matthew: Before I really delve deep into that, I want to say your mentor is not an end all be all to your success. Your mentor can give you the resources and can enable you to be successful, but it is legitimately up to you whether or not you will be successful. You have to make that proactive decision and look retroactively upon yourself. If you are truly going to do that, because not every person is going to be successful, but each person has their own version of what success looks like.
So going deeper into that with what actually getting a mentor looks like, my first mentor in the sales space was a dude named Matthew Binder. All the Matthews are fantastic. I would highly recommend following him. He’s going to listen to this and be like, Matt, stop having people follow me on LinkedIn.
But the first thing he ever told me was probably two to three months into my career as an SDR, maybe four. He said, keep track of everything, build out a sales playbook. Because while some of sales is luck, it’s kind of a small part of it. Sales is all about strategy and data. So if you can keep track of your strategies that are working, you can keep track of your data points behind those strategies that are working. Then you can replicate those processes and become successful.
Not only that, but that helps you get promoted in the future when you can present to your manager and beyond, this is what I did to become successful. This is why I should get promoted or I should get a raise or whatever.
Part two, work with your AE, work with your manager, VP of sales, whatever. Figure out what they’ve done and are doing to be successful. Replicate those processes. Now, the biggest mistake that people make within replicating another person’s processes is using that 100% of the time. It is their process because it is their process. It works with what they do. It works with their personality. So now what you have to do is take their processes and align it with who you are as a human. Once you have figured out how their processes work, that’s when you can do that. It typically takes anywhere from 2 weeks to 3 months to really figure that out. Everybody has a different learning curve and that’s fine. Don’t don’t beat yourself up because you’re slower than SDR A. You, 2 years from now, maybe more successful than SDR A because you took the time. It’s the tortoise versus the hair. It’s the same idea there.
Joe: I was desperately trying to think of an analogy that works in superhero format.
Matthew: Me too! I can’t think of one.
Joe: I’m sure that Ant Man fought someone big at some point. We can maybe use that one. I guess it’s taking certain lessons from mentors and applying them at appropriate points rather than wholesale copying. Because as you said, what works for person A isn’t going to work for person B.
Matthew, I love it when this goes around on LinkedIn. So I have to ask you this. Do you have a favourite cold call opener or a favourite superhero catchphrase?
Matthew: Oh, man.
Joe: You did say you were a nerd, so I realize I am putting you on the spot here, but I’m sure there’s one in the backlog.
Matthew: Maybe. The wheels of my brain are turning right now. Maybe I can give both, let’s see. For my favourite cold call opener is probably just the very simple one of, ‘hey this is a cold call, if you find whatever I’m saying disinteresting at any point of this call, feel free to hang up on me’. When you give somebody an out and they don’t take it, they never will take it.
Joe: Opening it up with that permission, isn’t it? I completely understand why you like that opener, because you’ve identified the pain point. With cold calls sometimes it’s the wrong time. You go, Oh, I really don’t have time to speak to this person. So just by saying, look, I know where you are with these, feel free to do exactly what you want to do at any time. That’s a smashing one. The one that I really remember that went round last year, it was just getting overused and overused and overused. Can I have 27 seconds of your time? Suddenly everybody was using that one. So it just became like, here we go again on that one. Has that given you sufficient time to come up with your favourite superhero catchphrase? Or just a quote?
Matthew: I’m Batman. Every time I see the movie, it puts chills down my spine. Alfred, said something along the lines of, Endure, Master Wayne. That’s really what I try to intrinsically do every day is just endure and work hard.
Joe: Fantastic. It’s so simple, isn’t it? But it’s so evocative. Yeah, it’s fantastic. Speaking as we were of lines from comic books and movies. The best superhero movies and comic books obviously have a tight script, so what are the essential components of a successful cold calling script, do you think?
Matthew: This is going to be really funny that I say this after you said a tight script, but the best scripts are the ones where you improvise. A cold call needs to not be a cold call. It needs to be a conversation with somebody that you’ve never spoken to in your life. That’s why, as a theater kid, all my friends find me crazy. My family thinks I’m crazy, but if I’m on the train or on a plane, anywhere. I like to go up and talk to a random person and I just like to say, hi, how are you doing today? Or if I see somebody that looks down, I’m like, hey, are you doing alright?. Maybe even, if we’re at a Starbucks I offer to buy them a coffee, whatever. You can sometimes build the best friendships or relationships that way.
It’s just by being a genuine human being and that’s the most important thing for a cold call script. It’s understanding the most vital parts of what you need to say and ask in that conversation, but throwing the rest of that out.
Joe: This is the lesson that keeps coming back to me when I’m doing webinars and podcasts, is that people buy from people. So if you present yourself as the most human version of yourself possible and not Hey, corporation on the phone here. You’re going to be way more successful every time.
Something else that strikes me as a challenge for cold calls is staying calm. So do you have any tips for staying calm during a cold call if it’s potentially not going the way you want it to go?
Matthew: Before I start a cold calling session, I listened to some heavy rap, to get me pumping. I’m not even joking. The most trappy American rap, you can imagine.
Joe: Who should you go to?
Matthew: Probably J. Cole. I love J. Cole. Hobson is really good because he tells a really good story and I love stories. A lot of people are going to be like, oh my god, he listens to Hobson. Hobson was one of the people that actually developed the rap that we have today, but a lot of people don’t know that. So they’re going to go Google him after this and be like, oh my god, he’s right. I know I’m right. What was the other part of that question ? What do I do during the cold call?
Joe: If it’s not going the way you want it to go, how do you not get overwhelmed with it?
Matthew: Honestly, it just takes practice, you take a deep breath, understand that this is not your failure, understand that your goal is to just have that conversation. I don’t meditate as much as I used to, but I used to meditate all of the time and not some weird vibey, California, Los Angeles thing. It’s something where you’re just sitting there breathing, at your own pace and not trying to think,
Joe: right? Yeah, it’s incredible how just a few breaths can just reduce the adrenaline and it just increases oxytocin, dopamine, that sort of thing. Yeah, absolutely. It’s hugely helpful.
Matthew: Yeah, it’s releasing yourself from the expectations that other people have of you.
Joe: 100%. So, Matthew, just to wrap up our conversation and complete our training so we can go on to become Captain Cold Call. What’s the one key piece of advice you’d like to leave everyone here with today?
Matthew: As Nike says, just do it. When you think of cold calls, don’t be scared, you’re going to have to do it at some point, so just go and do it now. Build confidence, nobody goes into this job with, I’m going to absolutely kill it, I was ready to poop my pants the first day I had a cold call and I was thrown at enterprises my first day as an SDR. I didn’t do 100% well. I did book one meeting within my first two months and then I became a good SDR. So don’t be afraid. Just go and do the job.
Joe: If I may add to that, as my Mum likes to say, feel the fear and do it anyway.
Matthew: Darn right.
Joe: Excellent stuff. Matthew, thank you so much for sharing your B2B Superpowers with us today.
Remember to keep an eye on Lead Forensic Socials for news of more B2B superpower webinars and we’ll see you again very, very soon.
Matthew, thanks very much.
Matthew: Thank you.
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