Friends, Australians, Country Women, lend me your earbuds…

Calling is the top skill you should be developing to gain an edge, not just for prospecting and landing meetings with C-Level decision makers, but at every stage of the funnel. Especially when Artificial Intelligence (AI) is imminently threatening your job. Let me rest my case:

  • Social Selling is an epidemic. But it’s not social to hide behind your computer, Neo. Reach out and touch someone! There’s no doubt LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter are the most addictive, mind-numbingly fascinating, voyeuristic paradises ever constructed since the Matrix. That being the case, I go into world-renowned technology companies to advise on new sales, and can’t help but witness the chilling silence. Not just “digitally native” Millennials have embraced the only digital approach while rocking “Spotify” in their earbuds full blast, lazy managers have drunk the social selling only Koolaid as job security.
  • Cell phone penetration will exceed world population. Multiple devices per human is coming and with the Internet of Things (IOT) there will be 25 digital ways to reach a prospect, even their refrigerator. Wouldn’t you rather be the signal in all that meaningless noise? How can you miss communicating in an ‘always on’ medium that’s physically on every person?
  • One-third of the global salesforce will be obsoleted by AI in the next ten years. Gerhard Gschwandtner made one of the boldest predictions ever about all sales being gone by a not too distant future date and we’ve seen all sorts of doomsday prophecy emanating from the Gartners and Forresters of the world. Trusted advisors are built to last and will not be affected. Conversely, they’ll most likely be more in demand than ever. “Help me buy a jet share vs. help me buy a Blu-ray player.”
  • Human beings lack discipline and 250 times a day checking phones proves this fatal flaw has never been more acute. It’s not just Schwarzenegger proselytizing this to combat “flabbiness.” If you can be excellent at interrupting prospects out of the blue, you will always work. If you can do this at “sick levels of massive action” a la Grant Cardone, nobody who cares about “REVENUE” with a capital R at your company will ever forget your full name (including middle) or let you leave the building to go to a competitor!
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  • The top SVPs and GMs of Sales I’ve ever seen, still pound the phone at least 20 times a day, leading with massive action from the front. Yes, even today! Don’t you see this? Aren’t your CEO and CFO always talking about that networking event where they saw the prospect CEO and they’re going to make a warm intro. The Masters of the Universe are doing cold calls face to face all day. How about Zuckerberg and Sean Parker raising the initial funding round for Facebook (an insane! Matrix-like idea at it’s time) by going and cold calling Peter Thiel’s (of PayPal fame) office? They got to the top of Sales, entrepreneurship and rode the light beam into the corner office of CEO matriculating to Board Member with a let’s take action, take no prisoners, philosophy of “doing.”
  • Artificial intelligence cannot make jokes, shoot the breeze, kibitz and relate. Until AI has EQ, you will keep your job. The rapport step is everything. You can’t respectfully Challenge or SPIN a person who hates your guts. You can’t make someone like you because you comment on their whitewater rafting photo above the desk. It’s certainly off-putting when you stalk them on Facebook and let them know you’ll be at the Sydney Opera House the same Tuesday afternoon. (Yuck!) There is no inflection in text mediums, so again the neuroscience-backed power of tone in the human voice is transcendent. This is why a simple 90-second Video E-Mail or Voicemail slaughters advanced level Sales AI. Elementary, my dear Watson AI!
  • Pre-revenue KPIs will protect you. If you are building 1.5 – 3X pipeline at an alarming clip while all the other Lost Boys are sitting feet up on the desk swiping their Tinder, they are getting kicked-off the island first.
  • Cold calling builds confidence within and in every other sphere or your life. You lose the awkward silences. It’s therapeutic and life transforming to put yourself out there and become forged in the fires of rejection, a diamond, secure from within. Like Tom Cruise in Jerry Maguire, you’ll jump the couch radiating an aura of cool! People love to be around confident people, it sets them at ease emotionally. Calm executives like to buy things and open up their vulnerabilities, lowering the veil! You will become as Abraham Maslow and Dr. Wayne Dyer opined, “Independent of the good opinion of others.” That life state is self-actualized and near invincible for a seller or professional of any ilk, for that matter.
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  • It’s unpopular to be a sanitation engineer but they make a glorious living. Again, nobody wants to do “cold calling” so if you embrace it, you will be known for it at your company. You’ll soon be coaching the CXOs, the SDRs, and have the CEO knocking on your cubicle. Trust me, I smell PROMOTION.
  • Mid-Funnel and bottom-funnel CLOSING depend 1000% on phone skills. If you can’t gain the first commitment, as Iannarino says, you’re never going to gain subsequent commitments. If you can’t ask Giselle for her phone number, there’s no picket fence Mr. Tom Brady!
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Tony Hughes
Tony Hughes has 35 years of corporate and sales leadership experience having generated record-breaking results as a salesperson, head of sales, and CEO leading the Asia-pacific region for multi-nationals. He is a best-selling author, consultant, trainer and keynote speaker. Tony is Co-founder and Sales Innovation Director at Sales IQ Global. He serves on advisory boards and has been published by The American Management Association. Tony has also taught sales for Sydney University, University of New South Wales, and within the MBA program at the University of Technology, Sydney. He has been ranked #1 sales blogger globally by both Top Sales Magazine and Best Sales Blogger Awards. Tony is ranked a top 3 sales expert and thought leader globally by LinkedIn and the most read person on the topic of B2B selling within their platform. He has more than 500,000 blog followers and has been rated the most influential person in professional selling within Asia-Pacific three years in a row. His first book, The Joshua Principle – Leadership Secrets of Selling, is in its 10th printing and his most recent books, COMBO Prospecting and Tech-Powered Sales are published by HarperCollins Leadership New York. Tony speaks at conferences internationally and his clients are some of the best-known brands in the world including Salesforce, Grant Thornton, SAP, IBM, Flight Centre Travel Group, Adobe, Siemens, Docusign and other market leaders.