Dialing for Dollars

Part of my job operating a small business is marketing; part of that marketing effort involves making sales calls. I think most business people, small or large, can relate. It (the business) is (almost) all about the marketing. Some of these are to “friendlies” – that is, past clients or contacts. Some of these calls are cold calls. They may be referrals from clients (that is, warm leads), but some are purely speculative and cold. I spend some days making numerous calls in hopes of actually speaking with a handful of people. Those are my “dialing for dollars” days. Dialing for Dollars was a television show in the 1970s (though it originated long before) involving a host who announced a password, then randomly (allegedly) called people nationwide to give away money if they knew the password. I remember hoping for that call, alas, it never came. (Neither did Ed McMahon ever arrive with a large check, but that’s another story.) Making sales calls requires focus and attention – making them can be difficult, and the colder they are, the harder they are. But, they have to be made. Marketing and sales never end. It does get slightly easier over time, but one has to get into the call mindset to make them – this comes more naturally for some people than others. I think of the fact that I make these calls when I receive sales calls, during the day at work anyway – B2B as it were. I received a sales call just minutes before typing this post. As long as the caller is professional and pleasant, I speak with them in the manner in which I would hope other professionals would speak with me. I know how hard it is for the people making the calls. I try to build good karma by talking; one might even learn something beneficial by having such a conversation. It is rare that I call a prospect, whether a warm or cold call, and immediately get hired. Though it has happened, I know it will never happen if I don’t dial the phone. With rare exception, one must do some dialing for dollars, or other form of marketing and sales to get business, and to remain in business. It is just a fact of (business) life. And, it is an odds game when timing is everything, and if it is a lucky day, then the payoff will come. In the meantime, keep dialing!

In our business, sales and marketing calls are a fact of life. I daresay I have spent more time during my career in marketing/sales pursuits than in doing any other task. If there is no marketing, in fact, there will be no work for anyone at Magnus to perform. Over the years we have been in business, David and I have employed a variety of people who have approached their assignment of making marketing calls with trepidation, fear, and more than a little insolence. We have hired so called “marketing” and “sales” people who never, ever generated a lead. And, the employees we have asked to make marketing calls have told us everything from “It’s not my job”; to “I’m not comfortable talking to people on the phone”; to “Dr. Pigott, why don’t you do this instead of me?” ensuring an extremely negative reaction on my part. Where, oh where, do these people think business comes from, the same trees that sprout money for their paychecks? I have been making marketing and sales calls for 45 years. My first and second jobs were telemarketing jobs. Believe me when I say making marketing and sales calls never gets any easier. But neither does life, or many aspects of it, but we still keep living, don’t we? I cannot guarantee that any sales or marketing calls will bring in business, but the one thing I can guarantee is that not making the calls (or engaging in other marketing activities, such as attending networking meetings, making speeches, etc.) will never bring in business. It just doesn’t work that way. To those who say they prefer not to make marketing calls on behalf of their employer’s business, instead, preferring clients’ money be magically deposited into their employer’s bank account, eventually resulting in a paycheck to the employee, I say, “Please let me know when you grow up, or become part of the real world, or decide to be a team player.” Meanwhile, we will keep dialing for dollars and hoping our dialing pays off in the form of work for all of us to perform.

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