Cold calling is one of the most FAQs at my speaking engagements, so it’s definitely worth addressing in this blog. Once and for all, cold calls do not work with rich people. Think about it… if you won the PowerBall jackpot, wouldn’t you be suspicious of every call you received? Especially if most of the calls turned out to be a distant cousin wanting help with his mortgage payment or a fund raiser trying to solicit a donation for her non-profit or a rookie broker trying to sell you the hottest new stock? Well, that’s what life is like every day for titans of industry, trust fund babies and the owners of closely-held businesses. As their fortunes have grown, so have the number of calls they get, their sense of paranoia and their desire for privacy.
In the early 2000s I worked at a large brokerage house. During my tenure, the revolving door of executive management spit out a former management consultant into the president’s office who decided to go after the high-net-worth market. A multitude of resources were deployed to reposition the firm as a provider to the affluent, including tens of millions of dollars in advertising and sponsorships. The one area that didn’t change was training for new recruits. So, while everyone in HQ was talking the talk the company was still hiring kids with no work experience, pressuring them to get their Series 7 and dumping them on a bank of phones to drum up new business—usually a certain number of new accounts in a defined period of time in order to keep their jobs.
In case I have to spell it out for you: despite the best intentions of the new president and his cohorts, the firm was still doing business the way it always had. And, in the process, forcing employees to use the wrong techniques in pursuit of its target clientele. In effect, training them to rely on the most useless and unproven of processes. What should they have done, you ask? Use one of several other approaches that work better and more effectively with wealthy prospects. A topic for another post.
But the fact remains, whether you’re selling time shares or private islands, whether you’re raising money to build a football stadium at the local high school or a Fine Arts complex at an Ivy League university, whether you’re a hedge fund or a family office, you will not get the results you want simply by picking up the phone.