How To Double First Appointments with Mike Scher

There’s been much written about how cold calling is dead and that social selling is the new black. But I recently caught-up with Mike Scher, CEO of FRONTLINE Selling, when he was in Sydney and we discussed how it’s never been tougher for business people to secure initial meetings with their new potential customers.

His company developed what I call ‘a relationship establishment methodology’ following a study of 1.8 million outreach efforts from a range of companies across multiple industries. Mike believes they’ve removed the guesswork that sales people go through about who to contact, when, how and how often. Mike knows that cold calling alone isn't enough and I ask him to explain his Staccato Methodology.

“Staccato is actually quite simple. It’s a multi-touch approach that makes sense because it’s well defined, very specific and manically precise. We know that the sequence, frequency and interval of touches makes a real difference in how effective the effort is. “

We all know that the way we execute is just as important as the strategy of what we are doing and Mike went on to talk about how they execute the touches to deliver appointments with the right people.

“We embed our methodology in technology to playbook what the sales person needs to do. In essence we combine ‘know what’ with ‘know how’. People need to know what to do which is the touch points (voicemails, e-mails, etc.) to deliver and also when to send them. ‘Know how’ is knowing the best way to execute those touches. For example, our research revealed that sending e-mails with permission versus not, yields dramatically higher responses.   Our methodology is best practice for how to execute. For example, we enable sales and marketing teams to inspire the key player to give permission for sending an e-mail.”

Mike is masterful at bringing sales methodology, process and technology together for creating initial contact with target prospects an achieving this is the Holy Grail of Sales Enablement which I’ve defined here. But what about the role of the most powerful social selling tool ever invented… it’s not LinkedIn or Facebook, nor is it Google – it’s the telephone. Human to human (H2H) interaction is what complex business-to-business selling requires to begin the process of meeting face to face and building relationship of trust and value.

We all know that cold calling is tough and with less than 3% success rate but what about warm calling? I asked Mike about how does that fits into his methodology and the role of phone calls generally.

“There are a number of reasons why the phone is critical to your outreach effort. First is that the prospect lists you're using are not 100% accurate. Most are not even 80% accurate which means using the phone enables you to navigate and close the gap inherent in the list by uncovering new prospects within an account. Second; the phone is critical because we all consume messages differently. Some us are visual learners, some kinesthetic.  Many of us are auditory learners and hearing is the best way to communicate, hence the phone and voicemails are proven to be effective tools. The goal is person to person connection and hearing someone's voice is the next best thing to meeting them in person."

The take-away message here is that an integrated approach to outreach is key; sales leadership must bring methodology, process and technology together to playbook and coach sales people to be more effective.

Mike knows what he’s talking about with 18 years in enterprise software sales and was a frequent President’s Club winner. He started FRONTLINE selling about 12 years ago to help sales people secure more first appointments with the right people. Their software solution called Staccato™ software works seamlessly with popular CRM applications such as and enables a sales leader to manage their own prospecting process and pursuit models. Mike Scher’s methodology doubles the number of first appointments with the right people. His worst performing clients only experience a 50% increase which is still dramatic.

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Main image photo by Flickr: Jean-Etienne Minh-Duy Poirrier YES!