Cold Call or Network…That is the Question

These are in the order that I read them, not necessarily in order of importance.

I hope that you read the posts behind the links before you read this.

If you can’t make a cold call, shame on you. Learn!

If you won’t make a cold call, get another job.

If you don’t, won’t or can’t network, don’t sweat it. You haven’t made enough cold calls.

Think about your process for finding customers. Start – Middle – End. Start – Middle – End. Start – Middle – End.

The more you start…the more middles you have…the more ends you’ll have.

The more ways you know how to start…the more likely it is that you will start…the more you will start…and so on.

Set a goal that you want to start ‘x’ number of times a day and agree that everything counts. If your ‘x’ is 20 and you attend a breakfast where you meet 20 people and you exchange business cards, maybe you’re done for that day. Then see how many different places you can start?

Have you ever started a sales process at a board meeting? at a ball game? at a wedding? at a rotary meeting? in a supermarket? a gas station? coffee shop? on vacation? on a holiday? any other interesting time or place?

Are You Ready?

Many of you know that I don’t typically schedule early morning meetings. I’m up early and I don’t mind working with my laptop or talking with you on the phone (if you’re fun) while I drink one of my morning cups of coffee, but it’s a ‘special order‘ for me to get up and out before 9 or 10. (BTW – as soon as Katie sends me the clip and/or Ron sends me the pictures, I’ll tell you what got me ‘up and out’ last Thursday.) That being said, when my prospect or client shows up, I am there and ready!

A week or so ago, I arrived early for a 7AM meeting. I noticed a “breakfast” sign a few doors down, so I walked over to see if they had anything interesting. They weren’t open. Huh? 7AM Friday morning? I’m not really a breakfast person, but I could swear that 7AM is a pretty important time on a weekday.

Imagine if you showed up for lunch at noon and there was a sign on the restaurant door reading, “Back at 3.”?

Remember how you felt the last time that you walked up to an ATM and it read, “Doing maintenance. Please check back in a few minutes.” (and that’s actually understandable!)

A few mornings ago, it was dark and I heard the sprinklers start on the golf course behind my house. Why? Probably because the golf course management didn’t want to inconvenience their customers by making them wait mid-round during daylight.

Remember this post about our cruise last year? Did you read all the comments?

How about the post about Woody Allen’s advice two years ago?

And btw, if you’re looking to impress, ask yourself whether it’s wise to show up with a bedhead.

So, this is a private message, but if there’s something you can use, feel free.

If you’re prime hours are 9-3, the coffee has to be ready at 9. So do the muffins. You probably have to be there an hour early to do the brewing and the baking. Even though you’re an excellent conversationalist, customers want to walk in, fill their cup, bite a muffin, then talk. They don’t want to hear you say, “I just put the muffins in. They’ll be ready in a few minutes. Incidentally, look at your early birds (the contractors). Do they have Dunkin Donuts cups in their hands as they walk around or on the dash in their truck? Is that acceptable? Give them a reason not to stop. If they’re showing up at 8, brew and bake to be ready for them. Make it special. If they buy Monday through Thursday, Friday’s on you.

OK. Enough seriosity. How about a little Yogi Berra?

Pizza guy asks, “Yogi, you want your pizza cut in 4 slices or 8?”

Yogi replied, “Better make it four. I don’t think I can eat eight.”

…..Give your customers what they want!

Brandy at the Wayfarer

This is Rick pretending to be the Phantom Gourmet.

The Wayfarer Restaurant is just off Route 9 in Cape Porpoise, Maine. It’s about 3 miles from our house and we’ve been a few times for breakfast, once or twice for dinner. Tonight was special! It’s BYOB, so we brought a nice Spanish Red. Lauren greeted us as we entered and showed us to a booth in the back of the restaurant near the door to the kitchen. I had decided that if I ordered off the menu, I’d get the filet, but I asked Lauren if she tell us about the specials. Prime rib…no thanks. Sea Bass done special. Elaine said she’d have that. Haddock Oscar. Baked haddock, with lobster claws smothered in a bearnaise sauce. Comes with asparagus and choice of pilaf, mashed or baked. I’m up for that. Elaine says, “I didn’t know about the lobster.” and switched.

Both Elaine and I looked at the sauce and agreed that it didn’t look like any bearnaise that we had ever seen, but


So, Elaine’s eating and I’m done except for a little bit of Bearnaise sauce left on my plate.

Here it comes!

Kitchen door opens and out comes Brandy. We’re the first table, so she asks how it was. We raved, but we also mentioned that it didn’t look like Bearnaise sauce. So, Brandy tells us her secret. Spends a couple of minutes. She’s a very fun lady and a great chef. We ask her how often she offers that special. We ask her what other special specials she has and she mentioned sweet potato encrusted haddock and lobster stew. So, we kind of agreed that we’re gonna call and find out what the specials are before we make reservations anywhere. Then, Brandy does two things that floor me. First, she says that if we want a particular special, call her a few days ahead and she’ll make sure it’s on the special board. Then, as she’s about to leave, she asks, “Need anything?” I point to the sauce on my dish and say, “A roll.” She smiled. Went to get one, then came back and said that she had to put more in. Next thing I know, Lauren brings to fresh, too hot to handle, rolls with a little dish full of hot Bearnaise sauce. I wiped up every drop in that bowl and my plate.

So, although this post may seem a little different from the norm, I think that it’s a great example of what happens when the product is awesome AND the salesperson understands how to keep a customer for life.

You can reach Brandy at the Wayfarer Restaurant on Pier Rd in Cape Porpoise, Maine, but call (207) 967-8961 to make reservations because her front porch is usually full of people waiting for their table.

BNI and Tom’s Question for the Experts

When I first read Benefacto Nominus Idiocritus, I was very conflicted. I didn’t know whether to pretend I hadn’t read it or to link to it and potentially cause an uproar. Then, I remembered Tom’s Question for the Experts and all the great answers that he received.

I do, in fact, have very strong opinions about these leads groups, but seldom share them except with a few very close trusted associates because frankly, my opinions are closer to the aforementioned blogger’s than the typical lead group member. The reason that I’m choosing to comment is that many of the answers to Tom’s questions suggested that the strong should help the weaker if the weaker really want help and are willing to do what it takes and the strong shouldn’t worry about those that don’t want or need help. I consider myself an above average salesperson and an above average networker, so here I go.

Organized leads groups do serve a purpose. Some businesspeople don’t have a clue when they get into business. So, they learn how to develop business relationships. They also learn how the other group members solve problems, so honestly, it’s more of a learning experience than a ‘networking for profit’ experience. Respectfully, new business owners need all the help that they can get.

However, at some point, the member has to do a cost benefit analysis, but I don’t agree with the analysis that the blogger did. Here’s mine. If you’re objective is to sell $1,000,000 a year and work 2,000 hours in the year to do it, every hour that you work should result in $500 in sales. If you put 2 hours a week into your group, that’s 100 hours a year. At $500 an hour, you should be able to look back at the past year and be able to count at least $50,000 in sales that are a direct result of the group. The inaccuracy in my numbers is that the sale isn’t actually made at the meeting, so there’s follow up time that needs to be accounted for.

Now, here’s the rub. Most of the people that we’re talking about don’t sell $1,000,000/year. As a matter of fact, most would be happy to sell $100,000. If you use that number, their hourly rate become $50/hour and a mere $5,000 justifies the investment of time every year so they do it. Now, look at this page. Top right corner says that “members have passed $15,537,881 in closed business in the past year. Middle of the page says “100 chapters with an average of 27 members each”. Do the math. $15M divided by 2700 is $5,754.77 per member.

Maybe I was just lucky?

So, in closing, most of those people are happy selling at the level they’re selling at. They’ll never invest in making themselves better because they don’t see themselves being better. ‘Most’ is the key word. Some will aspire to $1,000,000 or more. Those people will eventually realize that they need to invest in themselves. They need to put their time into more productive activities and they need to associate with bigger thinkers.

Until they do, they are what they are. They’re probably as happy with their life as we are and we have no right to try to change them unless they ask.



If you haven’t been reading Frank’s blog, this will get you started.

This may be the most important post that I’ve read this year.

He hit’s the nail right on the head.

I’m not only suggesting that you read this post, but I’m suggesting that you forward the link to


Belated Sales Lesson

Remember this post? Ask me a question!

I did it to teach a lesson. But first, a story.

We returned from Mexico late on the 5th. I posted Success at Trade Shows on the 6th and Time Share Sales on the 8th. Then, Dave and Pete posted, so I could point you to them and it’s a good thing because I HAD NOTHING!

The resulting questions, teasing and banter made the ‘Ask me a question’ post the most commented on post since the RainMakerMaker started blogging!!!! Thank you very much!

Think about that.

From I GOT NOTHING to MOST COMMENTED in four words!

Here’s the lesson. Here’s how to apply it.

You’re on a sales call. There’s a lull. Silence. You’re looking at the prospect. The prospect’s looking at you. There’s really been no movement. The call’s essentially over. Try this.

Look at the prospect and say, “I feel as though there’s something….It’s like….Let’s try this. Ask me a question.”

When they do, it’ll be a whole new call! It works every time.

Incidentally, those four words not only led to all those comments, but one of those comments became a post,

Tom’s Question for the Experts, and I sent that post out to sales experts around the world asking for comments

and posted it on LinkedIn where more than 20 million professionals will have the opportunity to comment.

Let’s see what happens.

Tom’s Question for the Experts

Thank you for your participation on the last post. More on that later.

Tom Maloney asked a great question:

“Rick, should a sales superstar feel empathy for terrible salespeople? Or joy that this is their competition? Or annoyance that they have to deal with the negative effect that bad salespeople have on prospects? Or nothing?”

I answered:

“Tom, this is a much deeper question than I anticipated being asked, but it’s such a great question and with your permission, I’d like to answer it straight up! They are what they are. They believe what they believe. They want to be better or they do not. I, as most of you, meet salespeople every day that are successful or aren’t. That are skilled or aren’t. That are effective or not. Big picture? Who cares what I think? I’m one guy with a biased opinion. Tom, I’m gonna interrupt myself here and save this for another day. I want to call in the experts the way Dave did on his blog. Give me a little lee way here and I’ll get you some good answers.”

I’m sending this link out to experts around the globe to get their feedback. Let’s see what they say.