“The process to gaining the right referrals does not happen overnight, but executing Andy’s strategy into your daily business routine will lead to referral success. ”
Tom Price LLB DipPFS Hodgson Wealth Management
“At each stage of the event from planning to delivery to follow up, Andy’s approach was extremely impressive. He spent time at the outset understanding us, the way we work and our key objectives and this continued with discussions with us in the run up to the event to shape the session to our needs. ”
Andrew Kelly, Director Human Capital Services, BDO llp
“As a direct result of Andy’s workshop, we are now implementing a “networking strategy” that is aligned to supporting our key business goal. Andy’s advice/insights have made me re-think all my customer interactions and even in the short term I am getting results. ”
Adam Newman, Health Outcomes Consultant, GSK
“There are many motivational speakers on the circuit who leave behind them just a short lived glow and then there are the subject matter pragmatic, passionate presenters who can potentially change the long term way their audience thinks or operates. I’d put Andy Lopata in the latter category. ”
Trevor Salomon – Director, Corporate Marketing, IFS
“Andy has a can do and flexible attitude and is happy to develop and shape the content in line with the clients changing needs. Feedback from participants on Andy's workshops has been consistently very positive. ”
Una Murphy, Manager BBC Careerlink
“There is a handful of people who I would consider really an expert in networking, and Andy is one of the few people on that list. ”
Dr. Ivan Misner, Founder and CEO, BNI
“Andy's 'The Networking Mindset' networking event was fascinating. I've been to loads of networking events over the years which are always full of people who don't quite know why they're there.... myself included. ”
Nicholas Harkin, Head of Risk & Governance at Close Brothers Retail Finance
“"I was captivated by Andy's insightful and thought-provoking workshop. You could feel the energy in the room at the end. Several people commented that the event had changed their lives!" ”
Miranda Abraham, Chair, Women in Banking and Finance
“Andy has successfully elevated networking into more of a strategic arena ...................rather than it just being a "skills" thing. ”
Phil Jesson, Director of Speaker Development Academy for Chief Executives
“I have already received three emails and two telephone calls from attendees who have expressly advised that as a direct result of the presentation they will without doubt be changing the way in which they network. A huge success. ”
Michael Strawbridge, Head of Member Services, Learning and Performance Institute
“In the pre-event correspondence, you were the most professional speaker we’ve ever had. By asking great questions as you did, it helped to make us more professional event organisers. ”
Jackie Barrie, Co-President, Professional Speaking Association South East England
“Andy's enthusiastic and interactive presentation at our National conference was very much appreciated by all and his series of workshops for my leadership team has been put to significant positive use. ”
Shona MacDonald, Business Director UK & Ireland, Wound Care. Molnlycke Health Care
“It was the best talk I’ve ever been to. Loved the content, pacing, delivery, structure. Your message was very memorable (imparting that much information can leave listeners forgetting what was said) and you managed the balance between substance, detail and memorability well. ”
Rebecca Aguilar, BBC Worldwide
“Andy certainly made a difference on how I normally approach / perceive events such as this. ”
Ann Azzopardi, Category Buying Manager, Pret a Manger
“Andy Lopata is a true role model for any aspiring professional speaker in my view ”
Heather Townsend, author of The Financial Times Guide to Business Networking
“Andy is an energetic presenter who quickly captured our audience's attention. The content of his presentation was excellent and fostered lively commentary and questions. We will definitely have Andy back for another session and are looking for other ways to partner with him. ”
Jennifer Rademaker, Head of Strategy Development Europe, MasterCard
“Andy, thanks again for making our Balance HK event a huge success. The audience gave you their undivided attention and you could hear a pin drop when you were speaking. I have never witnessed that before, with a room of 170+ people! ”
Maggie Suttie, Chair Balance Network, HSBC Hong Kong
“It is great to work with a speaker like Andy who really wants to understand the audience he speaks to and tailors his content to them. ”
Galina Lebedeva, Education & Events Senior Co-ordinator, Wella UK & Ireland
“'Networking' as a topic can often seem forced... about tools and techniques to 'work a room' or 'get noticed' - Andy's take on it in this talk was so far removed from the glib truisms we've all heard before. ”
Bryony Thomas, Watertight Marketing
“I would not be exaggerating in saying that last night was the most well received and successful event YEN London has had in over two years. ”
Jairo Jaramillo - Chairman, London Young Engineers Network
“Andy is really engaging and left the audience wanting more which is a rarity when you work in Finance! He is extremely professional and personable and it felt like Andy really knew the topics and had researched the audience. ”
Nicola Hradek, Co-Chair HSBC Balance Employee Network
“Andy worked with my business partner and me for a number of months as a referral and networking coach. Our business has demonstrably grown due to the new techniques and skills learned through working with Andy. ”
Dan Hall, Financial Advisor, Merrill Lynch
“Wherever I go, Andy is held in very high regard and I can personally endorse him as someone who is easy to do business with, professional and also great to work with. ”
Phil Jones MBE, Managing Director, Brother UK
“In the three months since Andy delivered his sessions, I've noticed a clear change in the approach taken by everyone who participated. We have already received a number of referrals as a result. ”
Andy O'Sullivan, Head of Sales - Hospitality, Wembley Stadium
“I found the session with Andy really interesting and helpful. It offered a different perspective to development sessions I have been to before and it made me really think about how I was positioning myself at work and what I needed to be doing differently. ”
Tori Henderson, Senior Public Policy Manager HSBC
“Andy’s style suited our company values perfectly as it is very much based around letting people learn at their own pace and be part of the sessions instead of just being presented to. There was a mixture of experience, job roles, nationalities and seniority in the room and Andy ensured that everyone felt this training was directed at them, such is his way with words. ”
Robert Kenward, Global Development Director, Banks Sadler
“Not only my individual life has had a total makeover after I met Andy, as a result of my personal improvement, the networks that I lead are now making a much bigger impact in the society. I can never thank Andy enough and would highly recommend him any time without hesitation. ”
Ruth Lau, Central Marketing, HSBC Private Bank
“Several people were surprised to find out that Andy didn’t work in our sector as he related his knowledge so well and confidently, which was key to getting the audience to buy into his advice. ”
Suzanne Rowse, Director, British Boarding Schools Workshop
“The feedback from attendees was overwhelmingly positive and we will continue to run the training in other offices in EMEA. ”
Astrid Huijssoon, Senior Marketing Manager Cross Border Trade - PayPal CEMEA
“The feedback we received from members was overwhelmingly positive, making it one of the best sessions we had all year. ”
Aileen Parsons, Relationship Manager - Strategic Client Services, Paypal
“I would recommend Andy to come and spend time with any team that wants to maximize the time of its busy people out in the market ”
Tomas Freyman, Partner, Valuations. BDO llp

When Should Business Owners or Sales Directors Cold Call?


I struggle to understand it when I see business owners cold calling. 

Don't get me wrong. I spent much of my twenties in a range of jobs that involved cold calling. I top-sold when punting raffle tickets to people at home in Sydney, called home owners in Brisbane to ask if they'd be interested in selling up and rang Senior VPs of Marketing at some of the biggest brands around the world to sell them advertising space in high end golf and tennis publications. 

I was a popular guy in my twenties! 

I understand the power of cold calling. I get that you can land some big business through a concerted cold calling campaign if you are willing to sweat the numbers and withstand a whole lot of rejection. I also know that a number of my colleagues in the speaking profession swear by picking up the phone at least a few times every day to call a new prospect.

But it's not for me. And I don't think that any business owner should personally cold call, other than in a couple very particular circumstances, for a very simple reason. 

The return on the investment of your time. 

Cold calling definitely has a role in new business generation. If done ethically of course (calling people who have genuinely opted in to a regularly audited list). As long as the return on your investment exceeds the investment itself to a level that makes sense to you, hire people or outsource and make those calls. 

When working out the return on investment, however, you have to factor in the opportunity cost. What else could you do with that time? If you are a business owner or sales director, there are many pressures on that time. If you give each a cost, is cold calling the best use of your time? 

I'm sure that cold calling advocates would aggressively disagree with me at this stage. After all, if cold calls lead to sales, then surely that's a good use of your time. I refer you to my comments above. 

As a business owner, I'm assuming that you have a network. If you don't, that's one of the circumstances I mentioned earlier, perhaps cold calling would be relevant for you (or just getting out and meeting people to build a network might be a better use of your time, you decide). 

When you have a network, why cold call? 

Let's look at the stages of a cold call: 

1 - Research: Who is the decision maker, the budget holder? What are their needs at the moment? Are they likely to want what you offer? 

2 - Connection: When I was cold calling this was known as 'getting past the gatekeeper'. Many decision makers employ receptionists and PAs who are instructed to filter out unsolicited calls, to ensure that they don't get through. It can often take many attempts to convince this person to put your call through. 

3 - Engagement: Even when you get through you face a brick wall. That decision maker knows nothing about you other than the fact that you want to make a dent in their budget. They are unlikely to be receptive immediately (unless your research, and consequently your opening gambit, are top notch). 

4 - Pitch and Close: If you get to the point where you can actually discuss doing business, the dynamics of the conversation are still weighted in the favour of the buyer. You have gone to them, you want their business. Your buyer, therefore, is in a strong negotiating position when it comes to setting price and terms. 


Now let's look at the same stages when you are referred by a trusted associate of your potential client. 

1 - Research: Your Champion (the person referring you) will not only be able to provide some of these answers but will also pre-qualify them when speaking to your prospect. They will confirm their challenges and their interest before suggesting an introduction to you as the solution provider. 

2 - Connection: It's done for you. When a referral is passed correctly, your prospect knows that you are going to call and what the call is concerning. Indeed, they are waiting for you to get in touch. When their receptionist or PA asks you 'what is the call about', you can simply reply 'He/she is expecting my call'. 

3 - Engagement: You are perceived as providing a solution to challenges or desires they have, not as someone selling something. They want to know how you can help them rather than focusing primarily on their defences. 

4 - Pitch and Close: You still have to make a sale, don't get me wrong, but the dynamics are different. You are providing a solution your prospect is interested in, their focus is on the right solution rather than price and negotiations become a lot easier. 


With these different processes in mind, if I have time to pick up the phone I consider it to be a better investment of my time to call someone in my network who might refer me rather than a complete stranger's PA, hoping to be put through. 

With a referrals strategy that gives you a clear focus on who you need to meet and who in your network might refer you to them, every cold call carries the opportunity cost of a call to request a referral. Referrals have a substantially higher conversion rate than cold calls, with prospects more likely to speak with you, meet with you, buy from you, keep buying from you and referring you on. 

Why would you cold call rather than ask for referrals? 

I've shared one exception above (where you have no network). If you need immediate returns, then pick up the phone and work the numbers, referrals require patience and subtlety. But if you're investing in long-term returns for your business, focus on developing relationships and requesting strong introductions. 

And if you have a team of people without networks who can get sales for you through cold calls, leave the long-shots to them. 


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