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Why a Prospecting Call Should NEVER be Longer than 9 minutes

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This week we are delighted to have Nancy Calabrese as our guest on the show. Nancy is someone who is very familiar with the Sandler Way, and is the founder and CEO of One of a Kind Sales. 

Nancy understands that those first calls are critical to the sales process, and if you are not respecting your potential buyer's time, you are setting yourself up for failure.

What you'll learn:

  • The value of scripts in the prospecting phase of the sales funnel.
  • Why understanding your potential buyer's communication style will move the needle forward.
  • Why a cold call should only last between four to nine minutes.

We want to hear from you!

Sales leaders: What are the challenges you are faced with? Would you like some ideas on how to solve them? Hamish will shortly be releasing our first "Listener questions" episode and we want to hear from you! What's the burning question you want an answer to? What do you think of the show? Whatever your questions, comment on social media or email us at the address below, and we will possibly add your questions to future episodes. 

Please submit your questions at:


Nancy Calabrese on LinkedIn -

Humantic AI -

Connect with Hamish on LinkedIn:

Meet Hamish at a Sandler Summit:



[0:00] When people wing it, they lose. You need a script. You need a script to ground you. You own it after a while. I mean, you don't have to look at it all the time, but once you internalize it, it gets you off the ground. Welcome to the Full Funnel Freedom Podcast. If you are listening to this, you are likely leading a team responsible for generating revenue. Purpose of Full Funnel Freedom is to support people like yourself and keep your funnels consistently, reliably full.

[0:37] Welcome to the Full Funnel Freedom Podcast. I'm your host, Hamish Knox. Today, I am delighted to have Nancy Calabrese as my guest. someone who I actually got to meet in person recently when I was speaking down in Florida. Nancy is passionate about a properly executed pre-sales process, engaging with prospects, uncovering their needs, and turning them into qualified leads. She saw the need for better quality, highly specialized, qualified lead generation, and in 2011, created one-of-a-kind sales.

[1:11] Nancy employs a unique approach to solving problems using consultative selling. Nancy welcome to Full Funnel Freedom I am so excited it was a blast meeting you and by the way he's a great speaker so if any of you have an opportunity next year make it to the summit because it's an awesome awesome situation so here I am well so Nancy I've given the audience the 30,000 foot view of who you are and what you do and congratulations on the success of your business you know that there is all those failure rates and I And one of our shared connections, Glenn Mattson, said last year that once you get past 11 years, the business lives forever. So you're going to live forever, Nancy. I just want you to know that right off the hop. Tell us the story. How did you get from where you were to where you are today running this amazing business?

[2:00] Yeah, so I was always told in my 20s I should be in sales, but I wasn't ready for it. I wasn't confident. And I got to a point, I was in corporate America. I hated it. and I was complained you know to my uncle who's my mentor and he finally said to me you know Nancy.

[2:19] Do you ever realize, did you ever think you don't like people telling you what to do? And I went, oh, you're right. So I took a leap of faith and I went into sales as a recruiter. And I opened my own company in the height of a recession with a non-compete. And folks out there, if that's your situation, you may have to work harder, but there's business to be found. But I had my practice for 20 some odd years when in the mid 2000s, a client approached me.

[2:55] He knew we were all about picking up the phone and he had a team of nine producers that would do anything, include take out a wisdom tooth without Novocaine before they get to pick up the phone. And so he hired my team to set appointments. So we had a couple of people on the campaign. And in the first year, we set 300 appointments for this group. And I said to myself, oh, you know, we have a skill. There is a need out there. So I decided to create one of a kind sales. I guess I'm really blessed because, you know, when you think about it, this is a no business, right? No, no, no, no, no to your yes. I have little to no turnover and I really besides maybe being an okay leader it's because of the Sandler sales training I put everyone through that they love it because it's a way of life it's a way of communication I was telling you before we got on I was in a mastery class earlier today and one of the guys just said Nancy why don't you just become a Sandler trainer because you love it know know it so much. So that was a real compliment. I, I, you know, I appreciated that.

[4:14] I love here. I love hearing that. I love hearing it again. It just speaks to, you know, your passion and the, and the fact that you go out and execute, right? Like everything works in theory. Uh, you, you've gone out and implemented it and you hold your team accountable

[4:27] to implement it, which is, which is really, really powerful. So let's dive a little deeper in that. How, you know, Sandler is sometimes called the best kept secret, uh, in, in, uh, sales training. How did you come across it? And what was it that made you say, this is the thing for me? Because there's plenty of things out there. Right. Oh, my God. Do you remember Chip Reichardt? I do quite well. I love Chip. So Chip spoke at a class that I was taking. And I remember I was a little late, and I was so mad. And I'm listening to him speak about the dance. What is that? Something like the buyer's dance or the seller's? Buyer, seller, dance, yeah. Yeah. I'm listening to him, and I went, oh, my God. I've been doing this, a version of this.

[5:15] All my sales career, and I didn't know it had a name. So I was very strategic. I got in front of Chip and we wound up, you know, we did calling for him and he agreed to train our team. And then he retired several years ago. And since then, we've been working with Dave Trapani, who's fabulous, and just keeps the team alive and kicking. And, you know, it's you can appreciate this. It never gets old. It never gets old. You learn a nugget every time you're involved. So it's a good drug to have. I love it.

[5:56] I love it. I had a client who was a CFO for a very, very large international mining company, and then they opened their own business. So they were in sales, and they once described it as AA for salespeople, which may not go over very well with some of the audience. I appreciate that, but it was that support group perspective like you were just sharing about. out. So, Nancy, I definitely want to dive into prospecting calls. You and I nerd out on prospecting calls. We both have a love of that. I would be curious for the leaders listening, you know, all of them theoretically are going to do training for their team and they're going to pick somebody and there's going to be somebody who's like, hey, boss, listen, I'm awesome. Like, why are we doing this? So through your years, and maybe you never had a member of your team do that, but if you were were speaking to a sales leader who said, Nancy, how do I handle the people who already think they've got it before we decide to go into training? What are some of the talk tracks you might have used or you've encouraged other leaders to use over the years? You know, it really saddens me that people are not open-minded to continual training. I mean, look at Tom Brady, top of.

[7:09] This class, but he trains. Anyone who is anyone in life believes in ongoing training and coaching. So for those that nay it, I would be concerned, like, why do we even have them on the team? Now, if they're getting the numbers and they're doing it their way, the other, the bigger issue is, well, are they setting the standard for the

[7:32] other reps that have to follow the new process because you're treating a cancer. So that's my reaction. And this conversation came up not long ago. And I said to them, like, why do you have them on board?

[7:47] And it's the owner's decision to keep them, but the other employees are disgruntled that they don't follow, you know, the process. I have sometimes asked, are they related? When I get that. And by the way, sometimes they are. I mean, sometimes they literally are related. It's like, hey, I can't have a horrible Thanksgiving dinner this year. So they're staying on the team. And so leaders, as you are sales leaders, as you are listening to that, think about that. Whether you're choosing sales training, you're choosing product training, whatever it is, if you've got someone who's turning into a donkey and going, listen, boss, I'm good. It might be good for now, as Nancy said. However, what is that doing to the overall culture of your team? I just did a podcast with Dave Trapani on Sandler Rule number 48, I think. A life without risk is a life without growth. Love it. Right? And so when you stay in your comfort zone, you're not growing. Not at all. Somebody's going to, you're going to be left behind. So you really want to find those people that are hungry to be fed on a continual basis. And you know what? But they may have an even better idea than you have. And that's great. But you want to surround yourself with the people that have that hunger.

[9:08] Totally. I love that you said that, Nancy, because I know I am never the smartest person in the room. I don't ever want to be the smartest person in the room. And as leaders, like you just said, we need to be listening to our teams because that day of command and control is long gone. And if we're like, listen, everybody, this is the way we're going to do it. Well, there is no the way. It's a way. And it's the leader's idea. And maybe the team's like, hey, boss, great. Love that. What if we did this instead? Because it's probably going to get us there faster. So, Nancy, let's go to prospecting calls and let's nerd out over this because this is something you and I could do all day long. Let's start with the most controversial question that we're going to address today.

[9:50] Scripts. Tell me about scripts. You know, that's another thing. When people wing it, they lose. You need a script. You need a script to ground you.

[10:02] You own it after a while. I mean, you don't have to look at it all the time, but once you internalize it, it gets you off the ground. So, you know, for the Sandler script, you know, we have the pattern interrupt, the 30-second commercial, the pain points. And then the pivotal statement is, you know, now, Hamish, I don't want to pretend to know your business, but is any of this relevant and worth a conversation? And then you shut up because that's when you want to hear the prospect complain. That's when you want to hear them become emotional. That's when you would become an actor or an actress and empathize with them. And, you know, get that knife in them and twist them so that they're in enough pain that they're going to want to pivot and speak to or move forward with an appointment. So, and look, look at all these big actors on the screen. They start with the script. Why should I wait as salespeople?

[11:02] I like that framing of how it's a, how it's a foundation and, and, you know, sales leaders, the thing Nancy said, you know, out of all the amazing things is to stop talking, right? How many of your reps right now are going, Hey, Nancy, a team is calling from one of a kind sales and we do really awesome things and we need to talk about it and we should have a meeting. And Nancy's like, who is this guy on the phone? Like, what are we doing here? So highlight sales leaders, get your people to stop talking. They're going to gather more information. So Nancy, We've got that great intro. We've got this idea of a script. Now, unfortunately, I had an experience before in a previous career where my company was very big on scripts. And they hired a person, an inside sales rep, and they drilled this script into them. They practiced it. They had to do it in front of the senior leadership. And the first day that they were allowed to make actual live dials, they were overheard to say, good morning, name. And they didn't last long. But they wouldn't adapt it. So how do you coach your clients, your team to take that foundation, which is great, and make it sound like they're not reading? Well, again, it's internalizing it. That's definitely what you have to do. You have no idea. Go back to the actor analogy. You don't have any idea that it all started with them practicing that script. Right?

[12:32] You know, kiss of death when you pick up the phone and you call a stranger is, hey, how are you doing today? Who cares? Who cares? Salesperson. Yep. And here's the other thing. I recommend never state the name of the company you're at. Oh, why? Not in the beginning. Why? Because that's a sales call. So I call you, Hamish. Hamish, hi, this is Nancy Calabrese. We don't know each other. and you're like, oh, okay, great. You know, trying to rack my brain. I'm intrigued. I'm not sure you're the person I need to speak with, but if you give me 30 seconds, I'll let you know why I'm calling. And you tell me if it makes sense to continue. We get very few hangups. I'm sure. Yeah, we're earning the right to speak with them. Oh, say that again. What are we doing? We're earning the right to speak with them. Love it. Love it. Love it. Sales leaders, we have to earn the right. It's our buyer's time. It's the only thing we have available. So re-listen to what Nancy just said there is we're earning the right to speak with them. So love the idea, practice it, make it your own. You know, go through that.

[13:48] And then earn this right. So, okay, you've earned the right. Because, by the way, I was legitimately intrigued. I know you already. I know we're role playing. And still, when you said what you said, I was like, oh, yeah, Nancy? Who's Nancy? Maybe I should listen to this person for a few seconds. So, great, you've got me. You've got me. You're like, yeah, Nancy, tell me about this.

[14:06] How do we coach our sellers to not screw that up? Because this is the moment of truth where our seller can either become a pushy salesperson or they can start creating a potential new client so how do I make sure our seller doesn't screw this up study disc okay say more about that yes the disc is a form of communication Hamish I'm talking about so just there are four different communication styles so you have the dominant who direct bottom line to the point then you have the influencer who would rather be at a party then getting down the business and then you have the steady Eddie's that tend to like to consult with other people tend to be nurses counselors and then you have compliance and the compliance are the ones that detail detail detail detail so what you want to do is to.

[15:07] Train your people to pick up their communication styles and then match it as they're speaking with them, as the conversation is going along. And another tool that I'm a big fan of is Humantic. Are you familiar with Humantic? I am. I use it as well. I'm a big fan of Humantic and Amarpreet's team. Yeah, I love it. And so what that does, it's a plug-in. You know, I should get commission because I'm always pitching Humantic. It's a plug-in to LinkedIn. So you go to their profile, and they can, for the most part, if they have a well-drafted LinkedIn profile, it will give you a sense of what their disc style is and make recommendations, kinds of questions. You know, how do you go about prospecting? It's a wonderful tool. So I would definitely reach out to Alex Sanfilippo, and you can tell Alex I sent you to them.

[16:04] Listeners, make that note. Reach out to Alex. Say that Nancy sent you. So, Nancy, you said something that was very, very important in that, which is you get a sense of how they like to communicate. So tell us a bit more about, you know, this idea that this isn't a magic bullet. It gives us a sense. So why is that really important for our sellers to remember when they're using tools like Humantic that it's a sense of their communication style, not the literal truth? Right. Well, nothing's 100%. If the profiles are written by somebody else, it may not truly reflect their communication style. If they have very little information on their profile, it's not even going to pull up a style. But, you know, it's interesting. I just got off the phone with a potential nice account, and she was high D all the way, right from the get-go, to the point, let's get started, we only have 30 minutes. And I enjoyed that because I knew in advance what to expect. Totally.

[17:08] Yep. Totally. So we've, we've got some sales tech here. We can, we can get a sense of what the style is. So then in an implementation scenario, so I'm calling you, I've got, you know, I've got my, my pattern interrupt. I've got that. I've got the humantic. I've got a bit of an understanding of how you might like to communicate. Now the rubber's hit the road. You've said, yeah, Hamish, tell me more. If I was one of your sellers or one of your, what would you coach me to do next? Knowing a little bit about your disc style and where I want to take this call. The key is to really shut up and listen and become that actor and actress, you know, and, oh, my God, how long have you been doing this? And the beauty of the Sandler system, they have questions. You know, you ask the same questions and you get different responses from prospects. But you want them to feel that you're hearing them, active listening, repeating what they say, right? SBIC, right? Summarize. What is it? Validate. What is I? Important. Important. C. Commitment. Thanks. Yeah. A little rusty on that. It's all good. I won't tell Dave. Okay.

[18:28] I like that. Yeah. So summarizing, right? We got to make sure that our buyers thinking that we're not just waiting for them to shut up or waiting for them to start talking, stop talking so we can add our next thing in. Right. That feels like having a conversation.

[18:42] And so for you and for your team, how do you get to that point where you feel like you're having a conversation be instead of like I'm talking to a prospect because those are different mindsets to be in my team knows it's a discovery call we're not trying to sell anything except to determine whether or not it's a good fit right and the way and that takes the pressure off of my team if it's a no it's okay because they're getting closer to their yes totally we You have to have no's to get to a yes. Of course.

[19:20] Yeah, and here's the other thing. A lot of people don't realize this, that a cold call should only last between four to nine minutes. Anything beyond that, you go into sales mode. You don't want it to go too long because the goal of a cold call is to schedule the appointment. You schedule the appointment, your first time meeting, you have an opportunity to do your research, and then have a longer conversation for them to reiterate what the issues are and have them be able to empathize with them again and take next steps. I'm so glad you said this idea of making the short prospecting call because you do get into that after a while. But I was like, so just tell me how much it is, Nancy. And you're like, this wasn't the whole, this isn't what we were doing here. I've long maintained that whether it's an inbound lead or an outbound call, somebody's interrupting someone's day.

[20:15] And so we have to be respectful of that time, which from my experience raises the credibility where I'll say, you know, Nancy, you didn't have a note on your calendar to take a call from some guy named Hamish at 3.30 Eastern time today, did you? You laugh and you're like, no, I didn't. Okay, great. And then we can pivot into, which then I've had buyers say to me, like, I'm so glad that you said, let's get off the phone now because I was actually in the middle of something. Yeah, yeah. Yeah. You want to be appreciative of their time.

[20:47] I assure you, if you follow the Sandler technique, you will be respected. I mean, how many times do you get complimented when you do prospecting? Like, wow, you sound different. Right. My team members are often recruited to, you know, why don't they want them to work for them? Because they sound so good. Yeah. They don't leave. They don't leave and a great compliment to pay to their leader uh for how well that that you have supported them to to have that another person be like hey you're pretty awesome how about you come over here and they're like thanks i work for nancy she's pretty awesome too so nancy uh you know so we're coaching our sellers hey we've got them to to get the prospects attention respect their time we've got them to you know keep the calls short to again respect the time but also make sure that we're not unintentionally going into,

[21:40] say, free consulting mode or pitch mode or something like that. Something I've talked a lot with my clients recently is how do you at least attempt to prevent a buyer from ghosting you on that next call? Because I know sometimes buyers have just been like, yeah, sure, meet next Tuesday. And then, of course, next Tuesday comes and it was code for I want to get you off the phone. So what are some of the things that you found effective after you've confirmed a meeting, confirmed, quote unquote, to actually reduce the chances that the buyer is going to ghost you or reschedule?

[22:15] Well, in our system, we do get a date, a firm date and time. We both agree to that. So the client will get a calendar invite prospect get- Two days before the appointment, our system triggers an email reminder, and we call the day before. So we try to do anything possible, and we don't have many no-shows. But the reality is it's just happened to me recently. I was in conversation with a gal at the end of February, and we were moving forward. Actually, I spoke with her boss in December. She came back to me in February. We had great conversations, and she ghosted me.

[22:57] Yeah, but then you do the go-for-no letter, which is really powerful, right? You kind of politely call them out. You know, basically you're saying, don't waste my time. Exactly. And then close the file because I think a big mistake many salespeople make is they keep chasing a prospect that's not going to close. So move on. Find somebody that's ready. Yeah, I'm right on side with you. I believe there's plenty of fish in the sea to use a, to use a cliche. And, you know, even, even there are clients out there who are very technical, very niche, et cetera, et cetera. Well, yeah, there's still another person who might want to buy from you. So, you know, don't, don't keep, you know, banging on that door. That's never going to open for you, Nancy. Uh, I could nerd out about the stuff with you all day long. I absolutely love visiting with you. I do have a few questions to wrap us up, uh, today. So question number one, if you could go back and talk to younger Nancy and say, hey younger, go back as far as you like. Say, hey younger Nancy, in the future, you're gonna have had this amazing business. You're gonna be working with incredible clients.

[24:03] You're also gonna have a lot of bumps and bruises and scar tissue. What would you coach younger Nancy to say or do differently to get to the same place with fewer bumps and bruises and maybe a little less scar tissue? Find the right people in your world that build you up.

[24:19] And support you. Say more about that. That sounds like really great advice. What do you mean? I come from a dysfunctional family. So for many years, I was like chopped down, down, down. And I guess I'm a survivor. I wound up aligning myself with three very special people. And because of that, I am who I am today. But had I not done that, I don't know what I would be doing. You know, it would be an awful mess. So, you know, and here's the, uh, another thing I would tell young me, trust your instincts. If you know, you believe that what you are doing or how you are feeling is right. Go with it. Just go with it. Love it. Great advice to not only your younger self, but also the younger selves of the listeners out there around the world. Uh, so Nancy curious, what have you read, watched, listened to whether recently or in in the past that you would recommend the sales leaders who are listening

[25:19] out there check out for their own development and possibly something to pass on to their team? Oh, that's easy. Just go to the Sandler Summit and or look at the recordings that are online. Attend the virtual summit. I mean, it's so powerful and it impacts you personally and professionally. So you can't lose with Sandler. How can you lose?

[25:47] I haven't figured out a way yet.

[25:50] Last question for you nancy so many great ideas and insights not only about like what happens Uh, when what should you do when you have a person put their hand up and go listen boss? I don't need this training because i'm awesome. And then of course all the great ideas and insights you've shared about Making more effective prospecting calls how to coach our sellers to make more effective prospecting calls What do you have as a final thought a bit of wisdom or maybe something to plug the floor

[26:12] is yours? This is a guarantee. If you're not picking up the phone and doing outbound prospecting, you're leaving money on the table. That's the bottom line. It should be in another channel in everything that you do as it relates to marketing. You know, I guess, And I'd love to speak with anybody who's interested in learning more. They can find me on LinkedIn, Nancy Calipari. You see my name on the screen, so you can look me up there. Nancy at And, you know, good selling to everyone. And definitely stick with Hamish. He's the guy, go-to guy.

[26:54] Thank you so much for that, Nancy. And we will certainly put your LinkedIn profile in the show notes. We will not put your email in the show notes because I know that that's a great way to get spam happening. So listeners, if you want to contact Nancy, she just gave you her email. Send her a note. Say you listen to the Full Funnel Freedom podcast. Nancy, I had a blast with you. I always have a blast with you. I'm so looking forward to staying in touch and connecting again offline. Thanks for being a guest today on Full Funnel Freedom. Loved it. Loved it. Loved it. And you're coming on my show soon too. I look forward to that as well. Okay. See you later. Thanks for listening to today's episode of the Full Funnel Freedom podcast. You can continue to support us by leaving us a review and a rating, sharing this episode with a couple of sales leaders in your network who you care about. I'd love to connect with you. I'm easy to find Hamish Knox on LinkedIn. Also, if you'd like a free 15 minute call with me, go to forward slash how to Sandler. Until we connect on the next episode, go create full funnel freedom.

[27:58] Music.