Author Archives: Jean Lubao

Why Is Cold Calling So Unproductive For The Vast Majority Of Salespeople?

Twenty years of research conducted by Chet Holmes, The Ultimate Sales Machine, has shown that only about three percent of prospective customers are in the process of buying your product or service right now. This is why it takes one hundred dials in order for most salespeople to get 2 or 3 First Appointments with prospects. In those rare instances, the caller has been fortunate enough to swerve into the three people out of 100 who are currently interested in buying the product or service that you sell. You must get appointments with more than just these three percent.

3% are currently interested in buying the product or service that you sell.

7% of your prospective buyers are open to the idea of buying or have already started thinking about buying your product or service.

The other 90% fall into the following three categories:

30% are not thinking about it.

30% think they’re not interested.

30% are definitely not interested.

Almost 90% of the people that the salesperson is trying to reach are not thinking about his product or service. Is it any wonder that voicemails are not returned? Is it any wonder that administrative assistants don’t cooperate? If these people are not thinking about the salesperson’s product or service then it doesn’t matter how the salesperson frames the message, the prospect is not likely to respond positively by scheduling an appointment.

Since the average salesperson is not aware of the reality of this situation he doesn’t have a clue about how to craft his initial message or how to respond to objections. Since he doesn’t know any better, he just guts it out and keeps making the calls, even though he is acutely aware of how unproductive the activity is.

Or, on the other hand, he just gives up on cold calling altogether and depends entirely on the marketing department to generate leads or he depends on networking and referrals. I like to say that if someone tells me they get all of their business through referrals, it is code for “I suck at sales.”

The problem with inbound leads, networking and referrals is that they don’t provide the salesperson with enough prospects for him to prosper.

Highly effective salespeople are able to persuade a portion of the 90% who would otherwise be disinterested, to schedule a First Appointment. How do they accomplish this? See our blog called: The Research Briefing is the Answer.

Get Call Backs From Voicemail

Voicemail can be extremely frustrating because the research shows that the call back rate on VM is normally less than 1%. The good news, however, is that this result can be altered dramatically. Salespeople who have been trained properly are able to routinely get 30% of their voice mails returned by prospects. These returned calls can potentially result in a First Appointment with the prospect up to a third of the time. This is a game changer, because now, instead of voicemail representing nothing but frustration, the salesperson is actually enthused about leaving a voicemail because he knows that for every 10 voicemails he leaves he will get one appointment! If you were to get one appointment out of every 10 voicemails you leave, how would that impact your production?

The problem with most salespeople is that their voicemail messages are entirely too long. In fact, research shows that 90% of your potential audience isn’t thinking about your product or service, so you can easily see why very few people would return a voicemail. They aren’t interested!

On the other hand, highly effective salespeople don’t give their sales pitch on voicemail. They simply say something like, “Hi _____, this is Jack Frisby. Please contact me prior to close of business today / tomorrow. The best number to reach me is _________. Thank you.

Now granted, leaving this voicemail takes a little chutzpah. However, even though it may be slightly irritating to some prospects, you will get a return rate of somewhere near 30% by using this simple voicemail. Of those returned voicemails it is possible to convert a third of them into First Appointments if you have a compelling message. By using the phrase: “Close of Business today” or “Close of Business tomorrow” (if you are calling in the afternoon), you are conveying a sense of urgency. Your tone of voice must also convey authority. You want the prospect to be intrigued enough to call back.

So, welcome Voice Mail. There’s a real human on the other end who may need your product or service. He just doesn’t realize it yet.

Benjamin Franklin and Character

benjaminBenjamin Franklin was committed to growth. He spent seven days every week concentrating on one specific character trait. At the end of each day he would actually sit down and evaluate how well he had demonstrated that particular character quality on that particular day.

He kept these notes in a journal. At the end of each week, he would move on to the next character trait on his list of twelve. He continued this pattern for twelve weeks, working through twelve essential character qualities. At the end of the twelve weeks, he started over again. This continued for a considerable period of time, namely, a lifetime.


How about you? Are you that intentional about developing strong character as a salesperson? What if you sat down at the end of each day and evaluated how well you had demonstrated the character qualities that enable you to be a great salesperson?

If you come to believe, as I do, that developing strong character has the potential to positively impact your sales career and your life, you will need to find a partner or two who are also committed to character growth. You will need to sit down with these partners and lay out a plan for how you are going to hold each other accountable for the development of these character qualities.

That plan might include a weekly meeting, perhaps over breakfast, where you will ask each other tough questions and agree to answer them honestly. This is necessary (not optional) because learning anything new takes hard work. My experience is that most of us are inherently too lazy or too undisciplined to stick with it when the going gets tough or the novelty wears off.

Ben Franklin stuck with it for a lifetime. How about you?

Success Factors

In order to achieve True Success in life it is important to recognize: FOUR KEY SUCCESS FACTORS: Character, Purpose, Knowledge and Skill.

CHARACTER: Good character provides the foundation for good Selling.

PURPOSE: Purpose drives behavior. If there is no Purpose or Passion, the behavior that follows will be mediocre at best. Once the foundation of Character has been laid, it is important to address the question of Purpose:

  • What is your purpose in selling?
  • Why is it important?
  • How will successful selling help you to accomplish your goals in life?

KNOWLEDGE: In order to grow you must learn. In order to learn you must gain knowledge. In order to grow as a successful salesperson you must learn good principles of selling. You must acquire knowledge from others who have been successful in sales.

SKILL: Knowledge alone, however, does not an effective salesperson make. Knowledge must be transformed into Skill. Skill comes as a result of practice, coaching, and trial and error. Knowledge will not increase your effectiveness as a salesperson one iota unless you can put that knowledge to use by transforming it into SKILL. Then, and only then, will your success be impacted.

Together, these Four Key Success Factors constitute THE WHOLE PERSON. The combination of these factors is a powerful force that will propel you toward success in selling and in life.



Creativity is approaching a need, a task, or an idea from a new perspective. contrasts creativity with under-achievement. This seems a little unusual since under-achievement does not seem tobe the opposite of creativity. However, creativity is often the by-product of a high level of achievement. Therefore, under-achievement would result in lack of creativity.

mikeLook at a great basketball player like Michael Jordan. Jordan was cut from his high school basketball team! Jordan wasn’t always as talented or creative as we came to know him, but he did possess a desire to develop himself to the greatest extent possible. This desire drove him to hone his skills to an extremely high level. As a result, he became very creative on the basketball court. He had mastered the fundamentals of basketball to such an extent that this enabled him to perform creatively.

What does this look like for effective salespeople? Like Michael Jordan, they have honed their sales skills to an extremely high level. As a result of mastering the fundamentals, they are able to enter into the creative. This is very important in the search for qualified prospects. Let’s say that you have honed your skills in prospecting to a very high level. This is when creativity kicks in.

Creativity will enable you to uncover prospects that your competition may be overlooking.[quote]

What are some creative ideas for locating potential customers in your selling situation?

Where do your prospects congregate?

Where do they shop?

Where do they play?

To what clubs do they belong?

How can you market your product and services to them?

What sources of information might be useful to you in identifying potential customers?

How could you creatively approach your prospects in order to engage them in conversation?

Who else sells to your potential customers? Could you form a referral with several people who also sell to your proposed customer?

Who are your potential customer’s clients? Could you approach your potential customer though one of their clients?


Creativity is approaching your potential customer from a new perspective.


Wheel-Chair-Racer Highly effective salespeople focus on what is most important and they demonstrate the determination to stick with it. Searching for new prospective customers is perhaps the most important activity that you will engage in as a salesperson or business owner. Highly effective salespeople recognize this and are determined to carve out time every day to get this done. Those who struggle to consistently prospect, often find themselves back on The Big Nasty. (For an explanation of the Big Nasty Click Here)


Chet Holmes teaches the importance of focus in The Ultimate Sales Machine. He says, “The key to being productive is to stick to the six most important things you need to get done that day. Every salesperson should have at least two and a half hours a day of brand-new prospecting. And that’s for salespeople who have a full load of current clients. Salespeople who are not managing a large list of current clients need to do at least four hours per day of pure cold calling… All it takes is pigheaded discipline and determination.”

Highly effective salespeople recognize that searching for new customers is a vital activity that must be their top priority. When they arrive in the morning they begin with this top priority and stay on it until it’s completed. Only then do they move on to other responsibilities.

Things To Think About

  • What responsibilities do you have that cause you to become fainthearted in sales?
  • How much prospecting do you need to be doing every day?
  • How clearly have you identified your prospecting goals?
  • Did you set them or did someone set them for you?
  • How can compelling goals help you overcome faintheartedness?
  • How can you develop the determination to stick to your plan to search for qualified prospects?

Have you ever dreaded making a cold call or calling a client with disappointing news?

Have you ever dreaded making a cold call or calling a client with disappointing news? Is your dread causing your palms to sweat? Have you ever driven around town just to burn time? I like to jokingly (sort of) say that if anyone tells you they love to cold call, they will also lie to you about other things.

Perhaps you have even reviewed your life insurance policy because you have contemplated what would happen if you just steered the car off the bridge up ahead.

If you’ve ever experienced the angst that I’ve described, which is sometimes an occupational hazard of being in sales, then join us each week for our Sales Junto.

If you haven’t, good for you. I hope you never do. Join us so that you don’t.

It is my hope that the Sales Junto will represent truth to you and that the truth will set you free to more fully enjoy your career in sales, which will increase your joy in life.