In today's episode (EP04) I'm speaking with Dan Jourdan, the Sales Energizer, and as his name suggests he's not lacking when it comes to energy or enthusiasm for making sales calls.
Dan's focus is on training sales people on how to grow their pipelines through effective outbound calling and my conversation with him revolves around all things cold calling, whether that's completely cold, or where the prospect know's a little bit about you already.
In the episode:
- Dan makes the case that outbound calling is more important than ever in the digital age.
- The opportunities that exist as a result of other people's reluctance to embrace calling.
- He shares what separates an average call from a great call.
- We discuss how Dan prepares himself for each call he makes, and how sales leaders can get the best out of their teams through sales coaching.
- Plus a whole lot more.
Dan's Website - www.danjourdan.com
Matt: Dan Jourdan, welcome to the podcast.
Dan: Yes, sir. Thanks for having me. I'm all excited about this. It's always fun doing a podcast across the pond.
Matt: Good, good. Yeah, well, I'm very excited to have you on. I've watched a couple of interviews and videos and some of the content that you've put out and I think you're ... we're in for a treat today. So thanks for joining us.
Matt: Give us a sense of who you work with. Who would be some of the clients you work with. What's your background in terms of who you work with?
Dan: Very good. When I was a boy, I was in a neighborhood that everybody owned their own business. Every dad, every ... actually, I remember I went to my friend, Gary Zissman's house, and I'm there playing, whatever, and his dad comes up to me and he says, "So, Danny, how are you going to make a living? What are you going to do?" And I looked at him, I said. "Mr. Zissman. I'm 12." But that's the whole thing. That's the neighborhood that I came from. Everybody's in kind of the small business and they expect you to have a trade. Once you have a trade, then you can do whatever you want, but you always have something to fall back on.
Dan: The reason why I'm saying that is because in my business career, I tend to work with people like that. I tend to work with companies that have that kind of mentality that they got to grow, they got to do this, they're excited about doing their own thing. So a lot of software companies, startup companies, or traditional companies that are looking to grow their business because they're getting ... there's a lot of competition now that's coming in. But anybody that has a business that needs a lot of customers to grow that business and they've decided to do that through phone sales, I'm their man.
Matt: Okay, so I have a question right off the bat then. I'm a marketer. My background is marketing. Now what place is there for outbound calls or cold calling? There's no place for it, surely. You've got all of these tricks. All of us digital marketers have these tricks to drive inbound leads. We don't need cold calling. We don't need outbound anymore. Pitch me on the cold call. Pitch me of the outbound approach.
Dan: Yeah, no, it's great. I love when people say that because as soon as they say, "It doesn't work anymore," and "There's no place for it," that means that nobody's doing it. In sales, the main thing is you want to zig when they're zagging. So this is perfect. There's so much less competition now and there's an entire generation of people that don't know how to deal with the phone call. They don't know what to do with themself. It used to be, it's hard to get through the gatekeeper. First of all, you take that word out of your vernacular. When you picture a gatekeeper, it's like someone [inaudible 00:03:59], the doors and all ... if you have that view of somebody there, you're going to act accordingly.
Dan: Man, when I imagine the person on the other end of the phone, I'm imagining just the most welcoming ... you're going to walk in and they're going to give you hot cocoa with some marshmallows. That's what I'm imagining. So that's my approach with these people. They can't handle it. They're like, they want to help you. Sure, you need to speak with Bill Jacobs. Hold on, I'll let you know if he's there and you're right in. It's great.
Matt: Yeah, tallies with our experience as well. Very much so. At Refract. We're an outbound sales-led organization and absolutely, I think the zig when other people are zagging is very true. So I guess-
Dan: Well, what you want to do is make sure you don't use the Wolf of Wall Street, 80s approach, and try to hammer people down. Nobody likes getting punched in the face but everybody loves helping people. So if you approach it that way, "Hey, I wonder if you can help me. Who would be the person I need to speak with regarding ... boom." And you're home free. And really, everybody can do that.
Matt: As a marketer, I certainly have contact with a lot of people in the sort of SaaS arena, software arena. And industry, I think it notoriously relies on that digital approach because it's where people are comfortable. In your experience, what's holding people back particularly in some of those industries that may be reluctant to do outbound sales or to cold call? What's holding people back and what tips or advice can you give people to sort of get them over the hump there?
Dan: In that industry, the SaaS industry, a cold call probably isn't the most effective way to get someone's interest. But, somewhere in the sales process, a call is going to be very beneficial to make the sale. So the reason why, companies like that, I would recommend that they cold call is not necessarily to make that initial sale. They'll get inbound leads, what they do, but the reason why they need to do the cold calling is because what better way to practice? What better way to grow your skills than to make those cold calls? So then when you get the inbound call, baby, you're ready. Your voice is ready. Your emotions are ready. You know what phrases to use that work. You wing it all.
Dan: The most common one is don't say, "Is this something you're interested in?" Say something, "I just want to see if we're a good fit." For some reason, a good fit works better than I want to see if this works for you. Whatever. And so these words you learn on the cold call so that when you have the actual sales call, it's just a lay up.
Dan: Yesterday, I was on a call yesterday. Someone I had met and then we're talking. I went to help him and I have him some ideas of what he could do for his business, and then he asked a famous question, "Well, that sounds great. Can you do that for me?" I'm like ... you know, there's the buying sign. And I actually said to him ... part of what I taught him was how to position, answer objections and how to close at the end of the objection. I already kind of taught him this, and so I said, "All right. I'm about to close you. Are you ready?"
Dan: It was so good. He goes, "Yeah. What do you got?" And even though he knew what was coming, he couldn't get away from it because he was set up for it. But those types of things you learn on the cold call so you can make the sale much easier.
Matt: What is it from your perspective then that makes a great call? What is it that separates out great from just average?
Dan: I use humor a lot and I use unabashed honesty, and it's for a cause. If someone says, "Is this a cold call?" I'll be like, "Yes. This is as cold as it gets. It's freezing." And I do that because, like you smiled, generally I'll get a laugh. Here's something I learned a long time ago. If you can make them laugh, you can make them buy. And so the difference between a good call, an average call, and a great call is the level at which you can build honest, sincere rapport with the person on the other side. They don't need to buy. Some people, it's really ... and I don't need it. If someone's going to sell me diapers, I got no need for diapers. [inaudible 00:08:17] sales pitch in the world, I don't need diapers.
Dan: But if you can gain that rapport where they kind of like it, and you say, "You know what? Why don't I grab your email address. We'll stay in touch from time to time. We'll see what happens. Is that good?" And boom. Now they're on your email sequence and boom, boom, they've got five or six emails. Then they get another phone call. Now you're their best friend. And, and, I don't know why I'm getting all excited, but and, if you build enough rapport, they'll actually be subconsciously looking for business for you. They enjoy when you call them back. They recognize your voice. So that's a great call, when you've said enough, a hint of rapport that they'll recognize your voice the next time.
Matt: How important is preparation? How important is the preparation for the call? Is it something that can be done sort of on the fly? What does it typically look like for you? What sort of preparation would you advocate people do?
Dan: For a cold call or for a sales call?
Matt: I'd say primarily for a cold call.
Dan: Okay, for a cold call, I'm preparing but I'm preparing a lot but I'm preparing myself. I know what I'm going to say. I have my script. I know how to get them started. I know how to get them to nod their head, isn't that right? You see? I know how to do all that. I'm going to get them going. I know what I'm going to say. I'm preparing myself. And if I have more important calls, if I have a couple of important calls that I know I really want to get, they'll probably be after like the 15th. I takes me about 15 dials before I'm in the zone, where I'm getting going. So that's my preparation.
Matt: You are clearly a very high-energy, high-intensity person. How do you-
Dan: [crosstalk 00:09:58]. It's all about drugs. Nah, I'm just kidding. Actually, I don't even drink coffee.
Matt: How do you deal then with, you reach somebody on the phone, maybe you haven't spoken before, you're bringing your energy, your intensity, what do you do and how do you deal with it when the person that's meeting you on the phone just is way off in terms of their energy and enthusiasm. Do you just push through? How do you calibrate to what's coming back through the phone?
Dan: Good question. That is a good question. Years ago, I had a deli. It was my first business. I was 18 years old and I had this deli. And I'm high-energy like you say. One guy came in very early on and says ... he said, "[Deej 00:10:42]," he called me Deej. He goes, "Deej, hey, listen. You're a nice guy. I like you. I hope you do well." He goes, "You drive me freaking crazy in the morning." He goes, "I can't come in here."
Dan: So I calmed myself down and I stopped and I slowed down. So my dad comes to me, a little French Jewish man and he says, "Danny, qu'est-ce que tu fais?" What are you doing? Where's my son? Basically. So I told him the story. And my dad gave me a little advice, and I'll give it to you. He said, "Danny, your friends, your customers, and your employees will become a reflection of yourself." He goes, "Be yourself otherwise you'll wind up at 50 years old, surrounded by a bunch of people you don't like and don't like you and that's no way to live."
Dan: That was his way of saying, if someone doesn't like you or if you're not compatible with that person, who cares? Move on. It's not for everybody. And I'm not the type of person with the cold call. I don't take a rifle approach. I don't find somebody perfect and I say, "Oh, that's the guy." I do have a different ... there's different methods for that. But for cold calling, I take a shotgun approach. Give me a list of a thousand names. If 900 of them hate my guts, I don't care. I got 100 new clients.
Dan: So I might tell ... don't have this energy. If this isn't you then don't be you, but be your best when you're on the phone. If you've ever seen tennis players, they go crazy. I'm going here, I'm going here, I'm going here, but in between points, they're slow, they bounce the ball, they putz around, and who knows what they're doing. But when they're in the game, they're their best. After this call, I can go to sleep. You don't know. You don't know what I'm doing. But when I'm on, baby, I'm on. So I'm telling you, be your best. It doesn't have to have that energy. People will respond to your ... the people that hate me will like you and vice versa.
Matt: I think that's really, really sensible advice especially as a Brit in the UK, we have maybe slightly ... there's cultural differences and what have you. I think, like you say, be yourself, identify your own approach, and [crosstalk 00:12:53].
Dan: I have this thing. I train all my people with the five fundamentals of fails, that I've created. Number one is honesty. You just got to be honest. And that means honest with yourself, with your personality. It'll mesh. It'll work really well. You know this from Refract. There's certain things. There's an art and there's a science. One of the science parts is, the amount of time where the prospect is speaking and the sales person is speaking, and you want to have the prospect be speaking more. That's something obviously you can measure with Refract which is awesome, but I have people that look up to me who are sales people but they're introverts. And I'm like, I'm jealous. Look at me, I can't stop talking. That's my biggest issue. An introvert normally is very curious and they ask questions and hell, they can watch. If you can speak 30% of the time and let your customer speak 70%, you can watch them sell themself. An introvert is a much better sales person than me. There are some people that hate me. Nobody hates the introvert. Because the more the customer talks about themselves, the smarter they think you are.
Matt: We have a lot of people listening to the podcast, people who are managing teams. So not necessarily doing a lot of calls themselves although some of them most definitely will be. There'll be a lot of people listening, they're managing small teams of sales people. Mixture of introvert, extrovert. Different energy levels. Give us some tips. Give us your thoughts in terms of how those people can get the absolute best out of their teams.
Dan: The best thing they can do is record. Everybody needs to record their ... and everything. They record their cold calls, record their presentation, record their demonstrations when they're demonstrating everything. Everything needs to be recorded. It's the most frightening thing you can do. It's terrifying. But it's the most helpful thing you can do. And it's great that a manager can critique everybody and can sit and change this and do that and all that, but it's even more wonderful for an individual to do it for themselves. And with your product, when you can kind of analyze it like that, it's just dynamite.
Dan: So what a manager should do is find the people that are most successful in their ways, record them, and why are these people successful? Record that and use that as the training for everybody. You don't need a third-party like me to come in and rearrange your whole training program. You got some people that are knocking the cover off the ball. Copy them! Copy them. Analyze what they're doing well and copy them. Your sales people will kind of train themselves according to how the best people are working there, or they will leave and leave room for other people.
Matt: That's excellent. Great advice. So just to finish up then, any other examples that you can think of? You coach, you train, you teach people how to do this day in and day out. Can you share an example of maybe either an individual or a company where you have seen a big transformation in terms of cold-calling or sales calling? A particular individual or a company would be great, where you've seen a marked improvement based on applying some of the teachings and the knowledge you share with people?
Dan: Oh, gosh. I do a lot in the insurance business because a lot of insurance people get on the phone and they do a lot of inbound calling and buying and we were able to ... every insurance company I work with can improve their sales by 20%. Almost immediately. To the point where, depending on how long the company's been in business and I have one in particular that's completely stopped buying names and buying leads anymore. And what we taught was ... you've heard the story of acres of diamonds. Everybody's heard this. Have you heard this?
Matt: I haven't. No. No, tell me.
Dan: Very briefly, years ago there was a ... in Africa, there was a guy. He was all excited because they were finding all these diamond mines. So he's all excited to sell his farm and go around Africa and find diamonds. So he spent his entire life doing that. And finally, in despair, he threw himself in the river and killed himself. Died terribly. The guy who bought his farm, one day he's at the stream. This is a true story. One day, at a stream, finds this weird looking rock. Turns out to be a huge diamond. That whole farm was the largest diamond field and mine in all of ... to that point. Giant thing.
Dan: The point is, many companies have old customers and past customers and past leads and past prospects that have kind of just died. Man, that is a diamond mine. So what I've trained these companies is instead of going off with the new stuff, you've got something right here. You've got lists of everything right here. If you just manage this, call on these people, you can explode your business. And it's the quickest ways that companies ... I have one in particular here. They grew like 50% right off the bat. They got a bunch of those customers. We've been waiting for you to call us. It was crazy. And most people have that kind of gold in their backyard, and if they just had a little system to contact them, saying the right words, and managing that team to do that stuff, it's a freebie that most people pass up. Quickest way to jump your business.
Matt: Yeah, fantastic advice. One I know that a lot of businesses would value and would benefit from. Okay, so we're coming to the end of our time, Dan. Is there anything else that you wanted to share? Anything we didn't touch on that perhaps you think might be useful to the audience?
Dan: I could say this. The job that you're on right now, if you're calling, or if you're even helping people make calls. This isn't the place that you're going to be for the rest of your life, but more people have become CEO's of companies. More people have become ... the presidents and owners of companies have come from this exact role. Like my dad said, he didn't give me much advice, but I was graduating school and he, "Danny, what are you going to do?" So I said, "I'm going to get a job, or whatever." He says, "Okay, remember this. You have a job, you have one customer and he's called a boss, and if he gets a wild hair up his rear end, decides to fire you, you've got nothing. But, if you're a salesman, well then you have 100 bosses, but they're called customers. And if one of them fires you, who cares? You got 99 more."
Dan: You see, security in life doesn't come with having a job. Security in life comes with the ability to earn an income anytime, anywhere, in any place in the world, and this skill, this particular skill is the one skill that you can do that and feel safe and secure that you're free. You can do what you want, and rise to the top with the skill of being able to make something from nothing. Make a relationship from zero. By picking up the darn phone.
Matt: Dan, that is fantastic. I appreciate your time. Thank you for coming on the podcast. How can people-
Dan: Now, if anybody's interested in finding out about me-
Matt: You beat me to it. I was just about to say, how can people connect with you Dan offline?
Dan: Jeez. What's wrong with you people? It's danjourdan.com. J-O-U-R-D-A-N. Or you can go to coldcallguy.com, and set up some time with me. We'll hook it up. If we can help your company, we'll let you know. If we can't, I'll let you know that, too. Fair enough?
Matt: Sounds perfect. Cheers, Dan. Thank you very much for your time.
Dan: All right, bud.