How to call customers (instead of hoping that they’ll come to you)

James Kennedy made the same mistake for almost a decade.

James, cofounder of, would work as a contractor for six months, then quit to launch his own product. When he couldn’t get any sales, he’d “build it harder” until he ran out of money.

“You can code the product all you want, but I wasn’t getting people to buy it,” he says.

It wasn’t until he hit rock bottom that he discovered how to get people to buy.

He was working at his brother’s burrito bar and would make sales calls for two hours every day. “I would sit in a 6’x6’ storeroom,” says James. “ pick up the phone and I would start calling, and eventually…I started getting a repeatable sale cycle.”

Today James manages a sales team that helps him make those calls. They average a 20% conversion rate on videos.

In his Mixergy course, he shows you how he does it. Here are three strategies you’ll learn in the course.

1. Be Quick on the Draw

When someone downloads your free ebook, you need to know if they are a good prospect. Are they interested enough to become a paying customer?

But how do you find out if they’ll buy? After all, you don’t want to start the relationship with a hard sell. That’s just going to scare away your potential customers.

So how do you figure out who’s a good prospect?

Size Them Up

When someone signs up for your free offer, call them right away to gauge their interest.

James says that the time people are most willing to talk to you is right after they download the free giveaway. So he calls them immediately.

“You’re not trying to convince anyone [to buy],” says James. “My first goal is to say, ‘Did you get the ebook?’ You will tell from their tone of voice right away whether it’s a good time or whether they’re really interested. Then you can go from there. That’s your first goal.”

2. Make a Commitment

Sometimes inexperienced salespeople make vague commitments, like “I’ll follow up with you next week.”

But those kinds of wishy-washy statements lead to missed calls, more voicemails and emails, and a longer sales cycle. Or you might lose the sale entirely.

So how do you avoid vague commitments to keep a deal moving down the pipeline?

Set a Date

Always set a next action date, such as “I’ll call you back on Thursday at 2 p.m.”

“It’s very tempting to just hang up the phone and move on,” says James. “What I always do is rather than saying goodbye…I’ll always ask for that next date. And that gives me a sign about whether they’re interested.”

James says that when they agree to the next action date, then they’re a real prospect.

3. You Don’t Have to Be Charming

You need to establish credibility.

But the people you’re calling don’t know you. And it’s pretty hard to charm them into trusting you, especially if calling prospects makes you nervous.

So if you’re not Prince or Princess Charming, how do you establish credibility on the phone?

Consistency Trumps Charm

You don’t have to be an extrovert, you just have to be consistent.

“You think salespeople have to be super extroverted, but I find that not to be true,” says James. “As long as you can pick up the phone, that’s all that matters.”

That’s because it’s consistency that establishes credibility, not charm: “I’m totally a nerd, right? A computer science degree and awkward at networking events. The key to it is…just doing what you said you’d do…turn up on time.”
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Cheat Sheet written by April Dykman.

  • LinhKienGame

    I always get something from these freebies. Today was especially inspiring as a wholesaler who is really struggling to get more buyers, ‘consistency trumps charm’ is a real nugget of inspiration.

  • Andrew Warner

    Yeah. It’s very reassuring.

  • Christopher Claunch

    great stuff here. like my grandma used to say when I was in a slump with the girls back high school, “Christopher you just need to icrease your number of at bats!”

  • David Chou

    James, thanks for doing the Mixergy course. I signed up for an account with OnePageCRM. It’s perfect for keeping track of what to do next with my customer interviews. Much better than the spreadsheet I was using.

    Andrew, again, another excellent course with superb tactics.

  • April Dunford

    I love this post. In building marketing programs I’ve always spent a few weeks doing a couple of hours of customer calls a day. The only way to really get inside the heads of your customers is to talk to a lot of them. It’s simple but a lot of companies don’t do it (or don’t want to do it).

  • StartUpJerkFest

    fear and loathing. antidote? get drunk and dial. LOL

  • Owen McGab Enaohwo

    @AndrewWarner:disqus I think this course is one of your best. I seriously can’t decide whether this one or the one that you did with on Closing Sales with Nicholas Holland which of them is the best.

    Combining the ideas in both courses will be a winning strategy worth testing.

  • James Hollister

    Awesome stuff. The math is making me really want to get on the phone.

    Question: What if we’re trying to validate an idea and don’t have something to give away? I’d like to start doing X number of calls a day to get over the fear of doing it. Think it is ok to cold call in that case?

  • James Kennedy

    At the very start, I didn’t have people’s contact details either. Eventually I found a list of voiceovers on a CD. The CD had their phone numbers on the back. I ‘manufactured’ a reason to call by uploading them for free to and then was ringing them to see if they’d like to stay.

    Is it okay to cold call?

    Complete cold calling is intrusive. You gotta remember and be respectful of that. On the other hand, starting a business isn’t always pretty. This is how the sausage gets made sometimes.

    The good news is, your competitors are probably to wussy to roll up their sleeves and get going. This is to your advantage. It just depends how badly you really want success.

  • James Kennedy

    Thanks for the kind words David. I’m glad you are liking OnePageCRM.

  • James Hollister

    Nice point with the ‘manufactured’ reason. I’ll think more on that line, see if I can think of something similar. Just know that if I try to make it pretty that will just be an excuse to avoid it. Time to get on the phone.

    Thanks again!

  • Andrew Warner

    I think it’s one of the best too. I’m going to talk it up a lot in upcoming interviews because I don’t think people realize how powerful it is.

  • Andrew Warner


  • Andrew Warner

    Because Tim Sykes told me that he drank a little to calm him down before going on CNBC, I had a drink before recording a promo video for his interview.

    Instead of reducing my anxiety, it made me tired ;)

  • StartUpJerkFest

    LOL. next time mixergy your alcohol with red bull !

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