Episode 4 – From Homeless to Cold Calling Pro With Justin Hughes
In today’s episode, Gary is talking with Justin Hughes. Justin shares his story and talks about how cold calling was able to take him from being homeless and on the street to a successful businessman and trainer. Justin gave some scripts you can use and implement right away to get past the gatekeeper and get on the phone with decision-makers and what to say to them to book appointments.
Key Topics Discussed:
- Where does somebody start with cold calling (2:20)
- The right approach to call (4:32)
- The most effective ways (11:17)
- Advice for those reluctant to pick up the call (14:12)
- Benchmarks to track while cold calling 16:30)
- What else people should know (18:18)
- Persistence and consistency (20:04)
Learn more about the content discussed in this episode:
You can find the full course and more at https://www.massiveleadgen.com or email Justin directly.
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00:00:03 Gary Ruplinger
Justin, welcome to the show. Glad to have you here.
00:00:06 Justin Hughes
Glad to be here.
00:00:09 Gary Ruplinger
Well, thanks so much for joining us today. I’m excited to get conversation going on the topic of cold calling, but for anybody who’s not familiar with you or your story, could you give our listeners just a little background on how you got here?
00:00:24 Justin Hughes
Yeah, I started my sales career in college Dot recruited into a multi-level marketing company. And kind of learn this tips and tricks of sales through the coaching programs that they had in place. I was in college for radio broadcasting and eventually became a DJ, but I was always doing sales to supplement my income. And at one point I ended up working in an outbound call center doing appointment setting for an insurance agency and that’s where I found my niche. Um, the thing that I excelled at was getting those appointments booked and getting a calendar filled up. Ended up homeless for a while and actually built my business based around cold calling from the homeless shelter in the Public Library and within four months of ending up homeless, I was able to get into a house. Loss to contract and loss that House. Four months later, four more months in a homeless shelter. And I’ve been house for almost three years and producing a nice middle-class income on less than a full weeks’ worth of work.
00:01:29 Gary Ruplinger
Oh wow, so your experience with cold calling is that it very much your livelihood. Depends on getting results from this.
00:01:37 Justin Hughes
Absolutely, I was able to get out of the streets and secure my life ’cause your security is at risk when you’re not safely and stably housed. And I was able to dial for my life and make it work. And one of the areas that I Excel at is actually setting appointments with senior level Executive C Level VP level executives at large companies, and that reputation got me a pretty high billable rate that got me off the streets.
00:02:10 Gary Ruplinger
Wow, so if somebody’s looking to, I guess get started with this. Where does somebody start with cold calling?
00:02:19 Justin Hughes
Well, there’s. There are basically two things you need for cold calling. Aside from, you know, a phone or computer-based phone, and those are a script and a list, and what a lot of people do is they’ll go to their sales managers or get list or. The purchase leads online what I like to do is actually use a free database of businesses called Reference USA. It is a US based business to business database that is freely accessed through every Metro library and I can pull, you know, contact information, phone number. Office address state of location. An even a name for a title. You know if I’m looking for the controller or the CFO, I can pull that information up through that database. And basically, you need to have a list that has prospects that are the right target for you. And the second thing you need is a script. And scripting is an art form. Writing an effective script may take several adjustments throughout the first few days of calling, but there’s a basic formula of Hi, my name is. This is the company I work for. We provide this valuable thing to you. Here’s why we are calling. We would like to book a time to meet with you. And if you follow that basic formula and make sure you’ve got a really keen value statement in there, you’re more likely to get the appointment than if you don’t. So again, the two things that I would start with are a list which you can pull for free from Reference USA. If you have a library card at a Metro library and you can pull it online from your own home. Uh or and a script so that you know what to say.
00:04:06 Gary Ruplinger
That’s awesome, so I’ve I will say I I’ve been on the receiving end of many cold calls from various businesses, and I feel like there’s. Well, there’s a lot of people who are just annoying and terrible, so how? How do you? I guess approach it from this person doesn’t want my call today. How do you kind of get in the mental state to call people?
00:04:33 Justin Hughes
Well, a lot of that has to do with the value that I’m bringing them. I honestly will only work with clients or work with the products or services that I see as valuable to the person that we’re dealing with. And if you know inside yourself if you’ve got the mindset that what you’re calling about is valuable to the person you’re calling. They may, they don’t want your call. They do not want your call ever. But they want your solution to their problem. And you got a call from that mindset because a big key to getting the appointment versus not getting the appointment is the confidence and sincerity that you put off when you talk to them. And I’m sure you’ve realized on those bad calls that they come across insincere or they come across really shaky. It would you say that’s accurate.
00:05:24 Gary Ruplinger
I would say both of those things are very accurate.
00:05:26 Justin Hughes
Yeah, so the difference between me and a lot of my competitors in the cold calling market is that I come through sincere and when I say how are you today, I genuinely want an answer. I genuinely want to know how they’re doing and when I go into the product sales. I’m confident that what I have is valuable to them.
00:05:44 Justin Hughes
It’s worth the two minutes on the call an if it’s valuable enough, it’ll be worth the fifteen 3060 minutes on the appointment, and really, that’s it. If you believe that it has value, then you shouldn’t have to worry about that. They don’t want my call ’cause they don’t, but they do want the solution to the problem. And if that’s what you’re offering then that’s how you need to approach it. Does that make sense?
00:06:10 Gary Ruplinger
I think that makes a lot of sense is that it’s the tone. It’s the sincerity I would say. Yeah, having received enough of them that that has been a big difference maker on the ones that I’ve taken and the ones that I’ve hung up on so.
00:06:27 Justin Hughes
Yeah, and you know you don’t have to be insincere. But at the same time, you also do want to build rapport quickly, like when a caller goes through an, they get a receptionist. What we call a gatekeeper. You want that gatekeeper to like you. So, one of the high-level tactics that I use is. I will mimic their speech patterns or mirror their speech patterns.
00:06:54 Justin Hughes
I’m not mocking them, but I’m lining up my speech with there so that I come across as like them, ’cause we like people who are like us or who do like us. An if you come across as like them, you speak similar to them. They’re more likely to like you, which means they’re more likely to help you out. I build report very quickly on the phone because I have to. But also, because I sincerely like these people that I’m talking to. They are as soon as they pick up the phone. They are my new best friend because they are going to help me help their business succeed. And a technique that I use constantly is if they say hello. I don’t say hey I say hello. If they say hey, I say hey if they kind of do it in a singsong way, I’ll give that back to them. It’s a subconscious thing. It gets into the subconscious of saying oh, this person is my tribe, and that’s where you’ll get a lot more help than resistance. ’cause everybody who’s ever done cold calls has been shut down by a gatekeeper. I’m no exception. I still get shut down by gatekeepers, but it happens a lot less often for me than it does your average guy dial in through the phone book.
00:08:03 Gary Ruplinger
That’s awesome. I’ve never I have heard many tricks, I guess per say on how to get past him, but the whole treats him like a real person and sincerely care is I like that I like that a lot.
00:08:17 Justin Hughes
Yeah, it doesn’t have to be a trick really. It just has to be a technique that works and treating somebody like a real person treating them like they have value like they’re not standing in your way, treating them like they’re your friend. Who’s going to help you get to their boss? ’cause one thing you gotta keep in mind that gatekeeper if they let through the wrong call. They’re getting yelled at by their boss. And nobody wants to deal with that, so you got to give them a reason to put you through and a lot of people will do a trick you know, like hi this is Justin. Can I speak to Bob and they’ll bypass any kind of credential building and more often than not, they’ll get Bob’s? Not here. I can put you in his voicemail or Bob’s in a meeting. Call back later or something to that effect because you’re raising red flags for that gatekeeper. That says, hey, this is a salesman. He’s trying to sneak past me. Don’t sneak past him. Tell him what you’re calling about. Hi, this is Justin with ABC Company. I’m trying to get in touch with Bob Smith because we have a service that will add $50,000,000 a year to your revenue. We have a service that will save your accounts payable time 10 to 20% of their time spent every month. Give the give the gatekeeper a value statement. Just let them know that there’s a reason that Bob wants to talk to you.
00:09:36 Gary Ruplinger
That’s awesome. So then when they put you through to the to the proper decision maker then or the person you’re asking for, and that’s where you kind of lead in with your script.
00:09:48 Justin Hughes
Yeah, I lead in with the script and again I hit the value statement as early as I can. You know depending on what the. Product or services? I might start it with some questioning. For example, I’ve got an EPI 8 accounts payable solution. That’s why controllers are a good point of contact for me and I will straight up tell him hey we are calling because our research indicates you’re not using virtual payments for your accounts payable. Is that still correct? Once I’ve got an answer there, I have a couple of directions I can go on my scripts if they say yes, I’ve got a scripted answer of. Oh great, are you familiar with virtual payments and how they work? Then I give a brief rundown in the value statement. If they say no, that’s not correct. We are oh fantastic. Let me ask you. Would it be worth 15 minutes to check out a competitor? See if we can raise your vendor participation rate, which will drive more rebates. I’ve got a value statement in there. Either way, that gives me an option to get that appointment with the person I’m trying to get the appointment with.
00:10:49 Gary Ruplinger
That’s very interesting. So that kind of leads me to my next question there when it comes to your I guess mission on the on the call I’ve, I’ve seen two ways that are pretty popular. One is the. Essentially the are you in front of a computer. Pull up such and such versus the OH. I’d like to schedule this much time with you. When are you available? Type of ones, when you’re doing these, which approach do you find effective or neither of them?
00:11:17 Justin Hughes
Honestly, I find that setting an appointment taking a two-minute call to set a 15- or 30-minute appointment to do a discovery. And then when I’m doing full on sale soup to nuts closing, I’ll do it 2 steps. So, I’ll do a discovery call that I set an appointment for and then from that call I’ll book an appointment for my picture presentation because it one. It gives me more chance to build report so that I can lessen the brunt of ’cause I’m dealing with 567. Figure you know business deals. I I’m looking to lessen the brunt of that by building Report. But it’s not to be said that you can’t get somebody on the same call to go ahead and log on to their computer and go to whatever landing page or on boarding service you use. I just find it’s more affective if I do it in a few steps because I get more opportunities to get recognition from that person. Does that make sense? It does like they recognize me a little more each time, and by the third meeting when I’m actually doing my picture my presentation, there’s a little bit of camaraderie, a little bit of friendship built so that they don’t feel uncomfortable with pulling out payment information for. You know a 6-figure check that they’re going to write this year.
00:12:41 Gary Ruplinger
I like that I think I believe that’s an NLP technique right where your kind of spacing things out so that like you said, each time they know you and like and trust you a little better each time. So, you’re not trying to do it all in 15 minutes right away.
00:12:56 Justin Hughes
Exactly and you know it is small amounts of time. Each time it’ll be. A two-minute call to set a 15-minute appointment, a 15-minute appointment to set a 30 minute or hour-long appointment. However long the pitch takes, and then you know you can follow up with and I love to make sure that I keep good relationships with my clients, so I follow up with handwritten notes or small gifts that are sent throughout the year that are not. You know birthdays or Christmas gifts there so unexpectedly and that helps to build that relationship so that every time I call them with a new offering or a new product, they’re going to take that call because now I’m there, buddy. It’s genuine, I’m building friendships. I’m building genuine friendships with these people, but that friendship still serves an end for both of us. They get a solution to whatever problem they’re dealing with, and I get a Commission check from it.
00:13:50 Gary Ruplinger
So, if somebody was saying OK, this this sounds like this could be affective. I can see how this would work, but I think for a lot of people it’s they’re their reluctant. They have a lot of reluctance to even pick up the phone. Do you have any advice for people who are kind of thinking the same type of thing or like? I don’t want to get on the call and do this? Around the phone.
00:14:12 Justin Hughes
Absolutely the best thing I do too. ‘cause everybody faces call reluctance making that first call is the hardest thing. I liken it to getting in, getting out of bed in the morning on a cold day. You really don’t want to get out from under your blankets, but once you do and you get in the shower and you get yourself going, it just kind of rolls from there. The best technique I use to make sure that I can overcome that call reluctance is to gamify it. It’s I keep a scoreboard. I keep a call sheet a little I can’t find 1 right now but I keep a tally sheet that I keep track of my dials. How many decision makers I got on the phone and how many yeses I got it’s a score? It’s a game for me because my aim is to see OK.
00:14:57 Justin Hughes
How many decision makers did it take to get me an appointment? OK, how many appointments do I want today? Let’s make sure we touch that many decision makers, so let’s keep track of that score. And when you’re doing that, not only is it a little more fun and you can play little games like go for 15 knows before lunch. Go for 20 knows before lunch to increase the. The likelihood of getting a yes, but you’re also tracking your performance, which allows you to improve, you know hey, I’m getting a lot of decision makers on the phone, but I’m not getting very many yeses. OK, we need to alter the script or the pitch so that it works better. Or hey, I’m getting a lot of dials in but I’m not getting very many decision makers. OK are we asking for the wrong level of decision maker? Are we looking for the wrong guy who’s never gonna be able to?
00:15:47 Justin Hughes
The one to answer the phone, is there a better way to approach this guy? Maybe cold email might be a better way to get in touch with him or LinkedIn, or you know, sending him a handwritten card might be the better way to get him. But if you’re keeping track of that data, you can both make it a game and have fun with it and constantly improve your numbers.
00:16:11 Gary Ruplinger
That’s awesome, are there? Are there certain benchmarks that you’re looking to? Let’s say you start a new campaign. Are there certain numbers where you’re looking and saying alright? If I’m making this many dials and I’m not talking to enough people or I’m getting this many knows, I’m not. We gotta, make some changes somewhere in the process.
00:16:31 Justin Hughes
Yeah, I basically no matter what the contract is no matter who I’m reaching out to. If I haven’t got if I’ve had. You know a good amount of decision makers, say two or three decisionmakers an hour, but I haven’t gotten a yes in three hours. OK, we need to revisit the script if I’m dialing for three hours, and I’ve only gotten one decision maker, even none, then there’s something going on where I need to figure out what am I getting screened by all the gatekeepers. Or is it just everybody’s out of the office today? You know, you gotta take a look at that, but I’d say any section of three hours long if I’m not getting some sort of result in that period, it’s time to reevaluate. And just so that you kind of have an idea of what the volume is, I do 20 to 30 miles an hour, so if I hit 100 dials and I haven’t gotten a single person on the phone, OK, it may not be worth my time to make calls today ’cause something’s going on where nobody is answering. Let’s try emailing these people. I’m sending them a LinkedIn connection request.
If I’m spending 3 hours on the phone and I’m getting plenty of decision makers, but they’re all telling me no well, then we really need to revisit the script and make sure the value statement is clear. There’s always something you can improve upon. Once you’ve got enough data, an anywhere from 7200 miles is enough data. Start making some assessments about what your performance is resulting in.
00:18:00 Gary Ruplinger
That’s it, those are. Those are really helpful numbers. I really like that. So, I guess what? What else should I be asking you that you’ve done a great job? I just kind of drop in some great scripting knowledge and some benchmarks. What else should people know if they’re thinking about this?
00:18:17 Justin Hughes
Well, there’s been a lot of research done. Into the field of outbound calling and there’s some numbers that your people. Your audience probably would get value from. It takes on average it used to take on average 6 Contacts to get a meeting with anyone individual. Now there’s some that a book on the first call, but there’s some that would take out to you know 12 or 13 calls to get him to book a meeting. The average was six. That average has gone up to 16.
00:18:46 Justin Hughes
So, if you’re not getting somebody on the phone, you’re still. It’s still worth calling them again and again and again. Grant Cardone, one of the guys I’ve studied under his process when he gets voicemails as he leaves a voicemail and he’ll call them back and leave two more voicemails. He’ll call them three times a day, morning, afternoon, and evening. Until they get back to him and he’ll keep calling and leaving voicemails. I do a slightly different. I’ll leave one voicemail every other day, but I leave what I call a blind copy voicemail, which is I don’t give them any information other than my name, my company, my number, the hours that I’m available, my name, and my number again. And that gives them. It’s kind of like blind copy email writing where you’re giving them some information but not relevant to what they’re asking for are not relevant to what you’re offering, so it piques their curiosity, and they tend to call back at a pretty higher high rate. But that that also say that if you’re not getting in touch with somebody and you’ve tried him 456 times. Don’t be afraid to bug these guys ’cause the answers already know. If you’re not getting in their face.
00:20:01 Gary Ruplinger
So, persistence is a huge factor.
00:20:05 Justin Hughes
Persistence and consistency are two of the biggest factors in success in this game, because if you’re not staying on top of your leads and dialing them again and again, or you’re taking a day or two days or three days, you know a week where you might only do 15 dials. When you know you should be doing 80 a day, you’re just not going to get the results that you want. You’ve got to be consistent and persistent dialing. You know in. In some organizations they do dials Mondays only, but they’ll do 8 hours of dials on Monday. That’s 250 calls a day. If you’re going to do 250 calls on Monday, make sure you’re hitting 250 calls every Monday. Don’t come in on a Monday and hit 20 and expect to get any good results.
00:20:53 Gary Ruplinger
So, is this do you do you recommend the Daily cold calling?
00:20:58 Justin Hughes
Well, that’s kind of the nature of my business is I spend my free time when I’m not running a sales appointment. I or doing an event like this. I’m making cold calls. I’ve been making cold calls since 9:00 AM. This morning is 130 my time. Anne, I’ve only taken off in the last half hour to talk to you. And once we’re done, I’m getting back on cold calls because if I don’t have appointments in my calendar, the only thing that keeps me employed is making calls.
00:21:29 Gary Ruplinger
That’s awesome, so you just eat, sleep and breathe this stuff all day.
00:21:33 Justin Hughes
I do like I said it’s it literally saved my life. It got me off the streets and it’s and I’m gonna be honest it’s not my favorite thing in the world to do. I don’t relish you know making 150 calls a day but it leads to the ends that I want. I want the success for my business. I want clients. I want clients for my clients, so it doesn’t make sense for me to slack off and not do the work.
00:22:01 Gary Ruplinger
Well, that’s great. You shared some great knowledge here with people. If somebody’s kind of interested in exploring this further with you, do you have any place we should point him towards how they should get in touch with you?
00:22:13 Justin Hughes
Yes, I’m always available at my email Justin Dot Hughes at massively gin. Dot com that’s Jenn with Gen. I have a course that teaches the art of the dial. The mastering of the cold call. It’s about an hour long. That is video and script help? I actually personally help each individual student with their script through the platform that I use, and that’s that massively gin.com/launch dash, A dash karere dash N dash sales and I know that’s kind of a long URL, which is why it’s very easier if you’re interested in that course just to. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
00:23:02 Gary Ruplinger
Alright, that’s awesome. I will make sure we put both of those in the show notes so if anybody wants to get more info on this and really embrace this, bring in clients that you can help him with that.
00:23:15 Justin Hughes
Absolutely, and just so that people know I do a lot of consultation and coaching. To a minimum of coaching for no charge. ’cause I’m more interested in seeing people succeed then seeing people pay me money I will eventually demand that you, you know, start investing in yourself. But if you’re a new salesperson and you don’t have that experience, salesperson, budget or your business is new, and you don’t have marketing coming in. Pick my brain ’cause I’d love to see you succeed, especially since I know if you succeed, you’ll come back to me for more sales training.
00:23:53 Gary Ruplinger
Well, that’s that is an extremely generous offer, so for sure everybody checks out well. Like I said, we’ll put your contact info in the show notes on this. It was just in that Hughes that massivelyjenn.com.
00:24:06 Justin Hughes
Yep, I’ll go ahead and message you that, the contact details, so you’ll have it all accurate.
00:24:12 Gary Ruplinger
OK, perfect sounds great. Justin. Thanks so much for coming on. I really appreciate you sharing this with everybody, and I think it’s one of those things that can help somebody get results quickly.
00:24:22 Justin Hughes
I hope so. I do appreciate you having me on Gary, and I wish you a great rest of your week.
00:24:27 Gary Ruplinger
Alright, take care Justin thanks bye.