Did you know that everyone has a built-in SPAM filter?Posted by: David Regler @
When you get one of those cold-calls, or the door-bell goes and there's this guy with a name-badge and clipboard...you just know that you're about to be SPAM'd.
Senior executives have had so much SPAM that they've installed firewalls and sophisticated human SPAM-filters, otherwise known as PA's. They put policies in place so that anyone who answers the phone must immediately junk-folder any call that is SPAM.
It's even got so bad that some companies register with the Human SPAM police, otherwise known as the CTPS in the UK, to publicly say "no Human SPAM here".
In the electronic world, SPAM filters work on the basis that if it looks like SPAM then it is SPAM. Some people use overly-zealous settings on their SPAM filters, and so they only get emails from people that they already know and are on their white-list (this is a bit like CTPS or no-name policies in companies).
So, here's the thing. The way to avoid the Human SPAM filter is simple: Don't SPAM.
I contact senior executives daily on behalf of my clients. Sometimes I just phone them up. Sometimes it's by email and sometimes I reach them via a networking site, such as LinkedIn.
However, when I contact them I make sure that I do not look or sound like SPAM.
For a start, I'm usually contacting them because I've invested time researching their company to make sure my approach is well targeted. I take time to check that they will be interested in my proposition before I initiate contact.
If I'm unable to check this before-hand (a real cold-call, yes I do these too), I don't just launch into a script that doesn't respect their time, I ask simple questions to quickly establish if there's an interest. In short, I think about the person I am calling before, during and after my call. I work from the stand-point that I want to potentially develop a relationship and so I treat the person politely and with respect.
Sure, the reality is that not everyone is going to be interested in my proposition. If I've done my research and I have a well-targeted approach, maybe I'll be successful with 30-40%. But, I've still dealt with the people who are not interested in an honest, straight-forward & respectful way.
At this point you could be forgiven for thinking, "So What?". My approach may not seem very special. In fact, you could say that all I'm doing is thinking about who I approach and being professional when I contact them.
And here's the thing...this is the exact opposite to how 95% of tele-marketers work.
My approach takes time; it's about creativity & flexibility.
Most call-centres work a "numbers game". What's it like to do a job where you're grinding away at the numbers with very limited success. You start to get a negative process mind-set..."just another call, say my pitch. Not interested? OK, onto the next call. Every No is nearer a Yes, right?".
So the call-centre says, "we're only getting a 3% success rate, how can we get more people to make more calls faster? Let's automate dialing, let's chain everyone to their desk and give them huge "target boards" to motivate them."
No wonder some of them have 140% employee churn-rates.
Is it any wonder that companies put policies in place to avoid these poor people? Speaking to 100's of depressed and demotivated drones every day must have health & safety implications ;-)
I've coached entrepreneurs on "cold-calling". One woman I coached was concerned that she would make mistakes when she made the calls. I said "that's great, making mistakes is just human. And the more human and unpolished you are the less you sound like you're calling from a call-centre"
That's it...it's just about one human connecting with another. Be polite, think about the other person and ask for what you want. You may be surprised how simple it really is.