You can break down the first 3 seconds of a call into two categories: RAM and ROM.
RAM (Random-Access Memory) is the temporary fast memory in a CPU. This is the quick information you need to get out to your prospect.
ROM (Read-only Memory) is longer-term data storage. What are you going to stay that sticks with them? As Mike Bosworth, the Godfather of Solution Selling, says, “the mind has about seven slots.” With this theory, that means there are only seven things our brains can store in RAM at a given time.
When you call a prospect and don’t address any of the seven things important to them today, they’ll brush you off. If you don’t utilize a “pattern interrupt” in the first 3 seconds of RAM, you’ll be hung up on and shown the door.
The majority of frameworks for cold calling I used during the dawn of SaaS in 2017 did not work for me. That’s because I said something akin to, “The reason for my call is…. [click].” There just wasn’t enough time to get out why I was calling out of my mouth.
Learn from me: start with the why. Make it compelling and speak to one of those seven slots.
Simon Sinek’s golden circle approach is fine and dandy, but it doesn’t handle the ROM properly. You can’t do ROM in a RAM scenario.
In 2017, with this dichotomy in mind, I developed my own framework called Route, Ruin, Multiply.
Route: Find your problem owner.
The opener on every cold call is:
“Who’s in charge of your [mobile] strategy?”
I have this in brackets because it could be “data” strategy or “cybersecurity” strategy...whatever field of expertise is related to their title. The most beautiful sound to a prospect is their own name, and people love to talk about themselves the most. So, if you call a VP of Mobile and ask, “Who’s in charge of your mobile strategy?” 9 times out of 10, they will say, “I am.” It’s against human nature to not beat the drum of our responsibilities when someone asks.
And that’s the quantum leap.
In under 2 seconds, they haven’t brushed you off, haven’t recoiled because they know you’re selling, and have said the magic word: “Yes.” This is an actual Jedi mind trick and pattern interrupt. They immediately take ownership of their power and role, getting you into the call and lowering prospect hang-ups, brush-offs, and suspicion by 97%.
Now, you route further. They may say, “Hey, that’s Chantelle in IT.” Great, you got a referral. Screenshot the email to show Chantelle that the VP gave you a reference. Too many sellers lie. Even when a seller says they were referred to me by someone in a LinkedIn message, I’ll screenshot that and send it in an email to the prospect’s colleague who referred them to me.
Route applies to calls and emails. Organizations are massive now. The buying process is a committee; it’s almost like a political campaign. According to CEB, there are 6-9 decision-makers involved in every sale. So this first approach, while you call and email like the switchboards of old, is designed to get routed to the appropriate person who is the “CEO of the Problem.”
Ruin: Sow some doubt.
How do you “ruin” someone who is complacent and stuck in the status quo? It’s easy. You ask them an open-ended question, like, “Are you happy?” or “Would you like to make more money?”
An innocuous question unlocks your “in.” David Sandler explored reverse psychology in his methods. The best way to talk a prospect into buying is to let them tell you how well it’s going with their internal solution. It’s a paradox.
After you ask, “who’s in charge of your mobile strategy?” and they say, “I am,” they’ll invariably say, “We already do this internally” or “we work with X, Y, vendor.” This is where you ruin.
Here’s your next question—the million-dollar catchphrase:
How’s that working out for ya?
I have personally made millions on this question. Their eyes roll back, and they say, “You know we love [vendor], but the service has been a little off.” As they try to convince you why they’re right to stay, and you agree—you agree!—they start to expose their flaws and faults. It’s exactly like asking someone if they want to be happier or make more money. Human beings naturally find flaws and seek improvements. Once you agree with them and listen to them about the current solution, they will start to talk about the problems, and then you run Multiply.
Multiply: Improve their stack.
Very few companies can rip out a solution. Rip and replace is a big hardware idea and, with software, is extremely unusual. Even if you think they have an identical SaaS solution in place under an annual contract, I’ve seen companies slot in a second player alongside more often than not.
The question to use here is:
“Why not plug us in alongside [the current solution] to multiply its effectiveness?”
You could also describe this as, “We can be a turbocharger to your current stack.”
The analogy here is a sports car engine where you add nitro. Your solution will act as a turbo booster, turbocharger, force multiplier…do what you’re doing, and hit your KPI even faster!
Now, some procurement heads are looking for a Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) reduction. They want to bring in fewer solutions and consolidate. But even if that is the case, this concept will at least get you to the next meeting. Even if they don’t plug it in as a multiplier, prospects love the idea that you will play nicely within their existing stack!
Recommended Reading: Implement multiple strategies.
Route, Ruin, Multiply (RRM) is one of many cold calling frameworks. Some strategies are mindset-based; some are skill-based. If you’re in the market for a good read, I highly endorse and recommend “Smart Calling” by Art Sobczak (3rd Edition). It’s a great way to warm up your calls with personalization to ”show ‘em you know ‘em.” Truthfully, I could spend an entire additional essay on mindset and overcoming rejection, but I wanted to give you a calling framework that stands out in the era of the skeptical buyer and the robo-dialer overload.
For some other reads and strategies, I recommend:
- BASHO ("Why You Why You Now") approach by John Barrows.
- “Did I Catch You at a Bad Time?” by Aaron Ross. Try RRM (Route, Ruin, Multiply) and complement it by peppering in Aaron’s suggestions. RRM will get you to the dance; then it’s on you to handle objections and make the sale.
- “Objections” by Jeb Blount. It’s an excellent treatise on handling the brush-offs and push backs of live fire!
Never get hung up on again.
Cold calling is most certainly not dead; it’s usually just misused.
With a framework like RRM, you’ll grab attention by personalizing the outreach (without personalizing to the point it feels creepy.) You’ll ask open-ended questions and ways to create a pattern interrupt, effectively finding the “CEO of the Problem.” Then, you’ll make sure you hear the prospect out—and agree with them. Let them convince you why their choice was right. This “reverse selling” from Sandler will make them suddenly become open to change. Then, you’ll augment their stack, never rip and replace.
Happy cold calling!