(Taken from Chapter 20: It Only Takes 1% to Have a Competitive Edge in Sales)
Shortly after I formed QBS Research, Inc., I started receiving tons of sales calls. Registering my company must have triggered something that put my name and contact information on every salesperson’s mailing list. As you might imagine, it didn’t take long before I got sick of being on the receiving end of so many cold calls. You know, the calls that interrupt an important thought, meeting, or project, where the salesperson is working just as hard to stay on the phone as you are to get them off. Trust me, I can get rid of a pesky salesperson with the best of them, but at some point, I would rather just not be bothered.
Since sales training is my chosen profession, it may seem a bit odd that I wouldn’t like cold calls, but I don’t want to have my time wasted any more than you. This all changed for me, however, on May 7, 1999. That’s the day the first shipment of my book, Secrets of Question Based Selling, arrived. Suddenly, we had a warehouse filled with books, and thousands of people out in the business world who had never heard of the Question Based Selling Methodology. Marketing the book was an integral part of my business plan, and it was definitely time to pull out all the stops.
Later that night, I received a cold call at my house from a fellow named Frank Myers, who represented a mortgage company. My first inclination was to get off the phone as quickly as possible. For some reason, I didn’t. Instead, I listened for a few moments and waited for an opening. After Frank’s opening blurb, a pregnant pause ensued, so I jumped into the conversation and my selling instincts took over. Here’s what happened:
TF: “Frank, can I ask you a question?”
Frank: “Sure, Mr. Freese.”
TF: “Since you are in sales, is it safe to assume that you will make a bonus or commission if I buy something?”
Frank: “Yes, we are measured against certain sales goals.”
TF: “In that case, do you have access to the Internet?”
TF: “Do you have a pencil handy?”
Frank: “Yes, sir.”
TF: “Good, then write down this website address.”
I explained to Frank that going immediately to this website address and buying the book, Secrets of Question Based Selling, “will do a lot more to increase your income than staying on the telephone with me.”
“Thanks for the tip, Mr. Freese.” Frank said in an enthusiastic tone, and we politely hung up. Frank felt great because I was cordial and gave him some valuable advice. I felt great because it was suddenly comfortable and easy to get off the phone.
Later that evening, I checked our website and sure enough, Frank had ordered not just one book, but six—for himself and others on his team. I used the same approach with the next salesperson that called, and they bought books too! Of course, not everyone who called purchase books, but it worked often enough that I had uncovered a trend. Cold-callers had suddenly become a very lucrative market for QBS book sales. Not surprisingly, receiving cold calls became much less annoying, now that we were generating revenue each time we picked up the phone. You might even call it reverse telemarketing.
I realize that this strategy of reverse telemarketing may not apply to everyone’s business, but at the very least, if you ever get tired of receiving cold calls from salespeople, do me a favor. Have them call me.