Sales are the music of business. The business body comes alive, moving to the rhythm of sales music. Jobs are created. The wheels of commerce turn. Sales gets the party started, catalyzing all else and curing all things. One sale begets another and another. And the beat goes on.
In the beginning, before the sale, out of the quiet nothingness, the ice breaks…with the cold call, the big bang. Engineers then have something to build or design because a cold call led to a sale. Accountants have beans to count because a cold call led to a sale. HR managers have people to hire because a cold call led to a sale. Operations managers have widgets to make because somebody sold something. Maintaining momentum is a much easier gig than giving birth to something from nothing, as with the cold call. When a company produces quality work, it leads to word of mouth referrals which creates more work. The cold calls of today, lead to the referrals of tomorrow. And the beat goes on.
The job esteem meter. On the big job esteem meter in the sky, cold callers get a double whammy. Cold callers pave the way for the future profits of business, however, the job itself toggles from being either invisible or dreaded. It tends to rank low on the job esteem meter. Unless you are an heir to an empire or a movie star, sales is one of the highest paying jobs on earth. Yet, as Rodney Dangerfield would say, “we don’t get no respect” for invaluable contribution to business success, and that goes for sales in general and particularly cold calling.
There are other vitally important jobs that tend to be invisible, under-appreciated and under the radar. Cold calling is one of them, but there are others.
Here are a few behind the scenes examples:
Ghost writers. Ghost writers write famous words, famous books, and sometimes about famous people, but nobody knows who they are. These are highly skilled invisible people but that is the nature of the job. Can you tell if a ghost writer is writing this article?
Garbage collectors. We only notice them when the trash does not get picked up or when they knock over the trash cans. But what would our world be like if nobody picked up the trash? Americans throw out five pounds of trash per day per person. I’ve heard our job of cold calling referred to as the garbage part of sales because it is tedious, fraught with rejection and the least liked part of sales. It is tedious and fraught with rejection but that is not a correct description of a skilled position who is also the point person of the entire sales process.
Cameraman. Cameraman is pretty much the definition of a behind the scenes job. People don’t notice the cameraman. They may as well be invisible. I used to work with someone who was married to a news cameraman. Sometimes he would pretend to film our birthday celebrations at restaurants. He was a big hit with us and we loved it, but that was the only time he was visible, when he was a hero to our small group.
Anesthesiologists. These are doctors who are invisible because we only see them for the 10 second countdown before we go unconscious. Of course, we don’t remember people we are around mostly when we are unconscious. With cold calling, the sale might die or the business body might even croak off when we don’t attend to our job very well, however, with anesthesiologists, the actual human body can die if the job is not performed well.
Cold callers. Do CEOs have jobs because of cold callers or do cold callers have jobs because of CEOs? At first, cold callers may get hired by the CEOs but the CEOs keep their jobs because of the cold callers who generate the leads that generate the sales. There are two basic types of cold-calling in business, telesales and teleprospecting. With telesales, the caller closes the sale over the phone. With teleprospecting, the caller sets a sales appointment to hand off to a sales rep who takes it from there. With most business to business products and services, the sales cycle is a longer, multi-step process that does not lend itself to telesales, although there are exceptions. In our role as sales appointment setters, we take on the identity of our clients so we are as truly a behind the scenes job as it gets.
The myth of anyone can do it. People who have not ever done cold calling often have the view that cold calling is not very difficult, requires little skill and almost anyone can do it. Think about what it takes to cold call a CEO and schedule a meeting. Not everyone is tough enough, smart enough, well-spoken enough or persistent enough to do that, however, if you can do that, you can do pretty much anything. In business to business cold calling, a great deal of skill is required to be successful. You need a high emotional IQ and a wide range of business, personal, and technical skills that are not adequately understood by many, if not most.
Superheroes of business. Sales is the bedrock of free enterprise. Maybe the true superheroes of the business process are those under-appreciated warriors that brave the cold and the unknown, calling people they don’t even know, making friends and prospects out of them so that others within the company can follow their lead. Maybe the true super-heroes of business are those lonely cold-callers who make it all possible…and upon whom all depends. The voices of cold callers are both literally and figuratively the instruments of commerce that make the music of business and part of the symphony of the free enterprise system. And the beat goes on. The beat goes on…forever.