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Taking the Cold Out of the Cold Call

In 1982, Curt was finishing his Masters and planning to get his PhD in Clinical Psychology when Garry Kinder talked with him about going into the insurance business. Remembering his success selling cemetery plots door-to-door and marketing to churches while in college, Curt took a serious look at the opportunity. (Having your future father-in-law consult with you on your career choice might have played a small role in his decision!) But, Curt has never doubted his decision.

Curt attributes his success to persistence and diligence. He knows his efforts are blessed, so he shows up early and stays late. Curt still enjoys the challenge of prospecting and the anticipation of what might be behind the next door. He researches and makes phone calls. Curt prefers telephoning to asking for referrals/introductions from his clients. He gets names from clients but lets them volunteer the introduction.


Curt prospects in nests. Currently he works predominately with attorneys and physicians. His process: Research, telephone, set appointments.

On the phone there's one goal: Set an appointment under favorable conditions. "To do this, you have to take the sterility out of the phone call by turning the cold call into a warm call." (Curt doesn't pressure anybody simply because he doesn't have time to meet with people who don't really want what he has to offer).

Here's a sample of a typical call Curt makes to physicians: 
"Dr. Jones, this is Curt Ladd calling. Is this a convenient time for you to talk?" (What's this about?) "I run First Financial Center of Dallas and for the last 25 years I've specialized in working with physicians in Dallas helping them with their overall financial planning. In fact, I do work for several other physicians at Presbyterian Hospital. I would like to come by and visit with you to show you the work we've done that has been beneficial for your colleagues and could also be beneficial to you. In your particular practice, would getting together work best for you one morning or would afternoon be best for you?" 

There are three times in this call where you have the opportunity to take the cold out of the cold call. The key statements are: "specialized in working with physicians", "other physicians at Presbyterian Hospital" and "has been beneficial for your colleagues."

Once in front of a prospect, Curt's focus is on the warm-up - seeking common ground. "This shows people I'm not just another financial planner coming in to sell them something. Hopefully, they discover I bring a lot more to the table than just managing their money and insurance. This establishes credibility as well, because any proposal I make is based on their needs and desires."

Curt's closing ratio is high. "If you do your work properly in your first meeting and design your proposal accordingly, you don't need a closing strategy." There are very few people he sees who do not purchase at least a portion of the proposal.

His assumed close goes something like this: "What do you think of the recommendations? (Waits for response, answers any questions they have, then proceeds.) "Let's get the process started." (Explains the process.)


•  85% of new business is investments 
•  MDRT - 23 years 
•  TOT - 2 times 
•  COT - 4 times 
•  Manages $65 million of assets for clients 
•  Will manage $140 million within the next five years 
•  Mid-August 2007 production has eclipsed the entire year of 2006 (which was a good year) 
•  2007 was his best year to that point

We appreciate Curt Ladd, 25 year veteran in the financial services industry, allowing us to share his success story with our clients. For 23 years, Curt has produced at the MDRT level and above. He's an independent CFP and runs First Financial Center of Dallas, TX.


Develop Call Courage

Right from the start, you want to eliminate timidity, hesitancy, and apology from your manner and speech. Here's something from Shakespeare that has helped us over the years: "Our doubts are traitors, and make us lose the good we oft might win by fearing to attempt." And it was Goethe who said, "Boldness has genius, power and magic in it."

You'll learn to cope with call reluctance and to build call courage by following these suggestions:

• Stay sold on what you are selling. The stronger your belief in what you are selling, the more likely you are to project yourself as an intelligent, informed, competent professional.

• Saturate your mind with positive, upbeat feelings. Tell yourself you're enthusiastic, effective, prepared, and persuasive. Take these "mental vitamins" regularly and you'll be able to trigger favorable responses.

• Learn your lines. Prepare yourself technically. Know your product. Prepare so that your presentations are as natural as your breathing. Knowing all about your ideas and learning your lines gives you a competitive edge. It builds your persuasion power - your call courage.

• Focus on the rewards of success. Your next call can result in a sale that can change your entire week or month - even your year or career. Feelings follow thought. Act the way you want to feel.

• Remind yourself that most people are nice people. Prospects often fail to show they are nice during the early minutes of an initial contact. This is especially true of first-time buyers. New prospects are often tense and nervous and act a bit "abnormal" - as though they aren't too nice. This is an even stronger reason for you to stay in control and remain poised and confident. Let prospects key off of your attitude - never key off of theirs.

• Take the pledge. Memorize the following pledge: I will never begin talking to a prospect on the telephone, in a seminar, or on an interview until I have written out my script, rehearsed and learned the lines so they can be expressed naturally, conversationally, and persuasively.

Call courage must be developed if you are to succeed in selling. You must conquer call reluctance. Act courageous! Do the thing you fear - and do it now!


Make the Telephone Pay

There are four basic strategies on which your telephone success depends -

  • Have a reason for calling. Have something to discuss that motivates the person at the other end to want to listen.
  • Be prepared to respond. Be mentally and physically "ready to strike."
  • Follow a prepared script. Know what you are going to say and how you are going to say it. Your early words are critical to your success.
  • Be brief and convey a certain sense of urgency. This you do by speaking a bit faster and louder than normal.

Here are 12 proven ways to develop your telephone effectiveness. Review these often:

  1. Maintain a positive attitude about using the telephone.
  2. Choose a private place to make your calls.
  3. Organize your calls.
  4. Seek some common ground with the person at the other end of the line.
  5. Build and use a script.
  6. Introduce yourself, your company and state the purpose of your call immediately.
  7. Verify the name of the prospect to whom you are speaking.
  8. Speak as if you were with the prospect and looking directly at him or her.
  9. Be assertive.
  10. Avoid an argument.
  11. Dial until your allotted time is up.
  12. Thank your prospect.


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