The History of Cold Calling: A Fascinating Tale of Sales and Serendipity

April 26, 2023
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cold callingOnce upon a time in the early 20th century, in the bustling world of sales, the art of persuasion was taking shape. Salespeople would go door-to-door, using their tenacity, charm, and ability to establish rapport with strangers on the spot to sell products and services. This approach laid the foundation for a sales technique that would eventually become known as cold calling.

As the 1920s rolled in, a remarkable invention by Alexander Graham Bell transformed the landscape of communication: the telephone. This groundbreaking device quickly became a common household item, opening up new possibilities for salespeople. Seizing the opportunity to expand their reach, salespeople began calling potential customers without having met them in person. This allowed them to cover more ground and increase the likelihood of closing deals. Thus, the era of cold calling began.

As cold calling gained traction, salespeople started to develop scripts to improve their success rates. These scripts ensured that key points were addressed, and objections were handled effectively. The art of persuasion continued to refine, with salespeople learning to adapt their approach based on the prospect’s reactions. By the 1950s, sales training programs and books emerged, focusing on perfecting the art of cold calling.

Entering the 1980s, the rise of telemarketing took the sales world by storm. Businesses set up call centers to reach larger audiences, and cold calling became a staple in many industries, including insurance, real estate, and financial services. However, this growth also led to increased scrutiny and regulation. In the United States, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) introduced the Telemarketing Sales Rule in 1995, followed by the establishment of the National Do Not Call Registry in 2003. These measures aimed to protect consumers from unwanted calls and provided guidelines for legitimate businesses.

The dawn of the digital age brought about even more transformations to the sales landscape. Social media, email marketing, and targeted advertising gave businesses alternative ways to reach potential customers. While cold calling faced challenges adapting to these changes, it remained an essential part of the sales process for many organizations. In fact, the rise of Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software made cold calling more efficient and data-driven, increasing its effectiveness in the digital age.

And so, the fascinating tale of cold calling continues to unfold. From its humble beginnings as a door-to-door sales strategy to its evolution into a sophisticated marketing tool, cold calling has played an integral role in the business world. As businesses adapt to the ever-changing landscape, cold calling will undoubtedly continue to play a significant role in sales and marketing strategies for years to come. The end, or rather, to be continued…

Time Kills Deals

March 20, 2023
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time is money

Time can turn an eager client into an unsure client. Maybe it’s the introduction of third-party influence that sways opinion or perhaps it’s just a loss of energy and momentum that starts to manifest into a game of second-guessing before closing. Bruno Raschio, Tom Gianelli, and Scott Platto gave their take to deBanked on how time can hinder the sales process and what to do to alleviate it.

How can one increase the velocity of a sale?

“It all depends on how the ISO can sell the merchant to get their documents in faster and how bad the merchant needs money.”

– Scott Platto, ISO Relations Manager, TMR NOW

“A lot of the time that it takes to get these deals done is the time that it takes to receive the additional paperwork that we need aside from the application from the applicant. For instance, we need bank and tax information and a lot of times – the person is a truck driver, so they could be on the road – may not have access to their taxes. So, a lot of times, the process is delayed until they’re back in town. The way to avoid that is perhaps vendors being proactive and collecting that stuff upfront.”

– Tom Gianelli, Equipment Finance Specialist, Credential Leasing & Finance

How many days between the initial sales meeting should someone wait before a follow up call?

“Sales is an art, and when you master it, you are on the highway to success. Part of mastering the art of sales is understanding that after you make that initial sale, your client will be bombarded with hundreds of reasons to back out on a proposal. That is why I have found success in following up at least one time in the next 24 hours after making the initial sales call. The more you build rapport with your client the more likely you will get to that closing table.”

– Bruno Raschio, President, East Harbor Financial

“…probably the sooner the better for me, I try to give [them] a call immediately after I’ve sent [them] an email to make sure that they are aware that the email was sent that it didn’t go into spam and that the process is moving along as quickly as we can.”

– Tom Gianelli, Equipment Finance Specialist, Credential Leasing & Finance

“If the merchant needs the money right away, I would follow up the next day if he does not get the documents needed. If the merchant does not need the money, then I would ask the merchant when [to] follow up and call like 2 weeks before. For renewals [sales reps] should keep in contact with the merchant every couple of months with a call and or email.”

– Scott Platto, ISO Relations Manager, TMR NOW

Do you think that sending sales proposals before understanding what that merchant needs can hurt the process as well?

“In my experience I have seen many times that some clients don’t know what they need or understand the benefits they’re being offered. Sometimes, by initiating a conversation where you as a salesperson can expose the true benefit of your product there is a higher probability of success. The clients or merchants are always going to incline to say ‘no’ so if you can beat that with a good initial pitch you will succeed.”

– Bruno Raschio, President, East Harbor Financial

“I think it does. If you are not consulting the merchant on what they need you cannot break the program down to make sense for them or not. If they do not like the offer, they will never answer you again. Talking to the merchant, being a financial consultant, and showing them you understand their business shows them how the money and you can benefit them. Or they will find someone else that will.”

– Scott Platto, ISO Relations Manager, TMR NOW

What else can be done to increase sale velocity?

“Understand your goals and challenges and make sure your team understands them as well that way you can all move in the same direction to close deals and reduce time frames. The due diligence process can sometimes uncover unexpected obstacles. Being quick to address them is where you will find success in a timely closing.”

– Bruno Raschio, President, East Harbor Financial

“I think just clarity and communication really is probably the key.”

– Tom Gianelli, Equipment Finance Specialist, Credential Leasing & Finance.

“Pretty much to be a consultant and do not push the money down the merchant’s throat. Don’t be afraid to tell the merchant not to take the money if it does not benefit them in any way even though […] you want the commission.”

– Scott Platto, ISO Relations Manager, TMR NOW

In The Funding Biz? Here’s What to Know

March 9, 2023
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Are you in the biz of funding small biz? Listen to these execs tell you how to make it work!

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Let’s Get Personal! (In Sales)

September 16, 2022
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“Personalization is adding that human element to a buying process that can traditionally feel either very stressful or cold and clinical,” said Taylor Hicks, Creative Strategist at Elevate Funding. “It’s about recognizing that clients (and prospects) are humans with their own unique set of needs and goals.”

Working in this industry and communicating with clients is a given but being personable with each one encountered is a task within itself. No client wants to be victim to a boring sales call where the one pitching lacks a persuasive personality. And nobody wants to be on the other end of the call feeling like they are wasting their clients’ time with a dull sales pitch. Making the client-to-business communication an eventful experience for both parties comes with a great amount of pressure, and it also can make or break a deal.

“Be a human being. Don’t do the high-pressure sales things like some of these guys are doing,” said Alexander Gold, CFO at Future Funding. “I get compliments that my guys are not doing that, and I feel like it’s just timing. So, if your timing is good, people will give you the shot. If your timing is bad, you won’t get the shot…”

The client needs to know that they can fully put their trust into a company or product, and it will be worthwhile. Creating a mutual trust, especially when dealing with a person’s finances can be a very personal experience. The key to that can be very simple, as Gold says, to tell them who you are and how you can help with just a moment of their time.

business woman“So first, you have to build credibility, I would say that’s the most important thing is building credibility,” said Gold. “That could be knowing something they don’t, showing them something or teaching them something that you can prove and then possibly show them as well. I would say products, being very knowledgeable in your products and your product base.”

“…[It’s] how do you provide them interesting insights into their finances or into their needs without coming across overbearing or selling them something that they don’t need?” said Greg Varnell, VP of Product and Development at Q2. “And that’s a real balance. And so, I think, for us, personalization isn’t just trying to sell somebody something, but it’s trying to tell them the information that they need when they need that information.”

“I think trust has to be earned,” said David Roitblat, Founder and CEO at Better Accounting Solutions. “Most of our clients are referral based from other clients. So I guess that speaks for itself. […] So that does give us a head start on that, but ultimately, people judge you based on your work.

“At Elevate, we take a custom-tailored approach for each client,” said Hicks of Elevate. “We send out newsletters to our clients biweekly to remind them of our various programs, like add-ons and renewals. We are proactive in reminding them of their Future Receivables Sales Agreement, and we’ll always work with them on reducing their payment amount if their revenue drops. We provide our clients a variety of ways to get ahold of us – whether that’s email, call, text.”

Regardless of your role in the finance industry, interactions can have long lasting impacts. From the initial meeting to developing trust, and eventually turning that journey into a meaningful working relationship. And who knows, that one great client interaction could lead to many referrals and recommendations in the future.

Monday through Fund-day

September 8, 2022
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business teamNothing screams excitement like a brand-new week filled with endless funding opportunities. Regardless of the type of funding, the ultimate goal is to find clients in need of capital and spring to action quickly.

“I would say Tuesday is like, a day that things get done,” said Michael Krepak, CEO of FlexCap Solutions. “People always talk about Friday’s a closing day. I’ve had a lot of success on Fridays as just like a funding day, like when the deals actually get done afterwards in all the underwriting and the back and forth and stipulations. So, Tuesdays and Fridays…”

Fridays may be hectic for some professionals in the business who are trying to close out a deal before the weekend is over. The pressure to close a deal can create competition within oneself to finish the week off strong or to make sure that nothing ruins it over the weekend.

“There’s always a push to get everyone funded right before the weekend, you don’t want deals rolling over,” said Brendan P. Lynch, CEO at Sharpe Capital. “Too many things can happen: negative days, they can go negative, and then the login, they have to redo it. And you know, the deal can die on Monday. So, you always want to get everything done before the weekend. That’s for sure.”

For equipment finance consultant Cheryl Tibbs, if she is able to finish funding by Thursday, she uses Fridays to either spend quality time with loved ones or to promote her business.

“I’m a bit different than most. I start off strong on Mondays and relax on Friday,” said Tibbs. “When I’m done Thursday, late Thursday evening, Friday is reserved for deals that will fund that day. If I don’t have anything booked for a Friday funding, I usually chill on Fridays and use that for marketing or family time.”

Sonia Alvelo of Latin Financial was non-committal to a day. “What gets us excited is the satisfaction of a job well done…” Alvelo said.

Krepak meanwhile, explained that if you’re working on commission, then there is an incentive to keep going strong every day. “Like every day, you want to do something every day,” he said. “It’s just a competitive face to begin with.”

The Power of the Suit

August 15, 2022
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texting businessmanGetting out of bed in the morning can be rough after a long night’s rest but jumping into your work outfit is like putting on a superhero cape to go out and save small businesses that need capital. Working in the finance industry, wardrobe is the last thing mentioned in regards to the job itself, but it is what allows many to put their best foot forward.

“I come from a suit and tie background, it’s like a uniform,” said Mike Brooks, owner of Best Connect Capital. “So, when you’re a broker and you’re dealing with business owners, you’re holding a lot of weight, a lot of power in your hands, especially when you get a good client on the hook. So, I just feel that dressing appropriately whether it’s a suit and tie or work casual is absolutely essential.”

There’s a saying, Brooks continued, “When you look good you feel good.”

“I’m a woman, I like to dress up, it’s fun but most importantly we’re working in a male dominated industry,” said Angelina Fletcher, Director of Business Development at Wing Lake Capital. “A lot of the brokers and lenders that I work with have been in the industry for 20 plus years, they’ve already built their brand, I’m still building my brand. Walking into these events looking fresh and professional makes me feel good and confident so I can focus on networking.”

And when striving to close those business deals, having a special piece of clothing that gives one an extra push can dictate the confidence he/she possess throughout the day. Whether it’s a favorite tie or a favorite pair of shoes, there can be an item that sets the tone.

“My biggest thing is my Rolex watch, when you’re in situations it definitely gives you a sense of confidence,” said Brooks. “It’s a life milestone to be able to purchase a Rolex even if people are way past that point in their mind.”

It’s not so much about accessories, however, to Dr. Rev. R.J. Rochelle, Business Financial Planner & Exit Strategist. Rochelle starts his day off by being active.

“I’ll take a pre-workout,” Rochelle said. “Now that pre-workout gets me pumped, it’s better than coffee. And then I’ll go work out.”

On wardrobe, Rochelle said he finds it important to put his best foot forward when he’s out meeting potential clients in person and that the mindset comes more from starting off the day with music or a sales podcast.

“When I commute or when I’m about to go out to the field in particular to get pumped up, I may play like Commas by Future because we’re talking about making money,” Rochelle said.

Fletcher of Wing Lake also has a routine that gets her started.

“I meditate, I drink my coffee and I have liquid IV,” she said.

Whatever the routine or the gear, there’s a little magic to it all.

“if you’re like a medic or a police officer or you’re in the army and you’re wearing like clothes that don’t match up with what you’re doing… I’m sure [they’d] feel different,” said Brooks of Best Connect Capital.

Work With a Broker or Go Direct?

August 2, 2022
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“I believe that a merchant might be better off going to a broker so the broker can make available to the merchant several different offers,” said Pooja Nene, Broker Relations Manager at Balboa Capital. “And if they’re doing what they need to do correctly and if they’re really consulting the merchant correctly, I think that they would be providing the best offers to the merchant based on their needs.”

Question MarksIt’s the age-old question, are merchants better served by using a broker or going direct? Opinions vary and are usually colored by what role one has in the process.

“The advantages of working with a broker is it saves the merchants a lot of time, and in some cases saves them money in fees,” said Randy Guerrier, Senior Funding Executive at Banana Exchange, a company that provides capital to MCA providers. Guerrier’s vantage point makes him less biased. “A lot of brokers do have a lot of preexisting relationships and wholesale rates that they could get with their relationships,” he said.

Matthew Washington, Founder & CEO of Moneywell GRP, says there’s a bit more nuance to the whole thing.

“The reality is that when the merchants go direct with lenders, they’re essentially dealing with the lender’s broker shop, right?” he explained. “Any lender that gets directly contacted by a merchant usually gives them off to their sales team, which [is also able] to send [them] off to other lenders.”

Washington, whose company is a funder, was an advocate for what brokers can accomplish for their clients especially since he relies entirely on them for business. He emphasized that his company is one that doesn’t have a direct sales team to handle any direct inquiries.

“All my business comes from my ISO channel,” he explained. “So when I approve a deal, it’s up to me and the broker to win it if there’s competition, but if I declined the deal, my brokers take that deal to another lender that has an appetite for that particular scenario.”

handshake“[Lenders] may not have the staff available to form that relationship with a merchant,” said Pooja Nene of Balboa about the debate on broker vs. direct. She also cautioned that sidestepping a broker in the process might not translate into an increased likelihood of approval.

“If it’s the first round of funding, if it’s their first loan schedule, we don’t know who this merchant is, and we may feel a little bit more comfortable with that file coming through the broker and the broker discussing the terms with the merchant,” she said.

Guerrier of Banana Exchange said, “It always comes down to working with the right type of broker, right? It comes down to the person that answers the phone that’s working with you, whether it’s at a big company or small company, I like to look at things from the individual working with the right people.”

And finding the “right people” isn’t automatic because they still have to be found, and once they’re found the lender has to decide if the customer is also right for them. Speaking about that in relation to all the economic uncertainty, Washington of Moneywell GRP said that a funding company should stick to what they’re comfortable with and not “chase deals” that they wouldn’t normally fund.

“But, also [on being found], I would market the heck out of my company and make sure that everyone in the world knows what I do, my product line, my branding, my logo, and make sure that anyone that is looking for capital that they know ‘hey, this company is always popping up,’ and I’d make sure that I stand out,” Washington said.

After Funding Millions, Alt Financier Hosts Funding CEO Challenge

May 25, 2021
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Leo KenellLeo Kanell, a funder from Utah, runs the 7 Day Funding CEO Challenge, a seven-day marathon video livestream of inspirational and educational funding content.

“So how [the challenge works] is basically, we’re looking for communities, and we’re building a community,” Kanell said. “Our focus is how can we help existing loan brokers, and then how can we help people who are looking for an additional stream of income that they can do from home obviously with the pandemic.”

All the action happens in a livestream on Facebook.

“Everybody kept asking ‘we need some training,’ so we built out a custom website for them so that they can build their funding empire from home,” Kanell said.

Many of the brand new market entrants are sales-minded individuals that are interested in working from home. Kanell has a sales mind and a small business funding background. He grew up in a family of nine from a small town in Utah with a population of only 3,000. He knew he would be a salesman when he turned a summer painting business internship into a $60,000 operation. After college, he tried his hand at real estate, but after 2008 he started looking for another industry.

“I started and went ‘Well, I’m gonna need money for that business,'” Kanell said. “I started looking at the different options to get financing for that next business venture, and it was very difficult, especially for a new business, especially if you’re a pre-revenue business or you don’t have a lot of sales and or collateral.”

He realized SMB funding was the business he should be getting into so he jumped in with both feet. From there he veered into a business education program alongside products like business credit cards.

He soon said that he was doing well, but he heard the funding industry calling his name. “Everything pulled me back into funding,” Kanell said and he decided to combine his education system toward loan broker training programs. He said many brokers don’t realize startups and pre-revenue bushiness can qualify for 0% for up to 15 months.

Now, Kanell hosts an industry podcast that features financial industry guests, and alongside funding, he looks forward to building a community of broker and funder education services.

“We’re going to not only get you the best funding guaranteed, but we’re going to educate you and empower you along the way,” Kanell said. “They can work as direct funders and keep 100% of the commission, and that if they want us to do the work you know, we can do splits.”

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