More Effective Prospecting and B2B Marketing with Professional Prospecting Systems’ David Rankine

November 12, 2020

Marketing money.

The guest for today is David Rankine, the Founder of Professional Prospecting Systems.

David founded his company in 1997 and focuses on running marketing campaigns. They work with over 2500 clients of all business sizes. They provide the marketing solutions and directions to make your company's sales flourish.

Learn more about David Rankine's ideas and his company Professional Prospecting on this episode of The Thoughtful Entrepreneur above and don’t forget to subscribe on   Apple Podcasts – Stitcher – Spotify –Google Play –Castbox – TuneIn – RSS.

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Welcome to The Thoughtful Entrepreneur Show. I'm Josh Elledge, Founder and CEO of We turn entrepreneurs into media celebrities, grow their authority, and help them build partnerships with top influencers. We believe that every person has a unique message that can positively impact the world. Stick around to the end of the show; we'll reveal how you can be our next guest on one of the fastest growing daily inspiration podcasts on the planet in 15 to 20 minutes. Let's go.

And with us right now, we've got David Rankin. And David, you are the founder of Professional Prospecting Systems. You're on the web at Thank you so much for joining us. Thank

That's correct. I'm happy to be with you.

Founded in 1997, you've been doing this a little while?

Absolutely. 2010.

Give us a background.

Well, basically, I was always involved in sales and marketing. And I ran various sales agencies for the 15 years after graduating from university, and then I ended up in a bizarre situation as the sales and marketing manager for a law firm for five years. And that's a pretty strange scenario. Most law firms don't have a sales marketing manager. This particular law firm was a collection law firm that specialized in major clients like the like the Canadian government, and they lost their major client. And of course, I got downsized. And because I had utilized telemarketing in a lot of my businesses, I decided, Okay, I'll start a telemarketing company. And I didn't have funding or building at that point in time. So it was a virtual telemarketing company. And at that time, we used fax and phone the old fashioned way. And then one of my clients as it so happens, came up with new technology that was an online CRM, basically. And that was perfect for our company, because we were trying to pass information around by fax and phone to our clients and to the people that were working with me. And then all of a sudden, this technology came along where you could do all that online, and we started with for two years while they were still free. And then that's basically what we've been doing. For the past 24 years, we've been running all these marketing campaigns, online through

So just to name a few clients that you've had the opportunity to work with hp. Oh, by the way, we always do the so the thoughtful entrepreneur drinking game, let me know when you every time you hear a company that you've heard of go ahead and take a drink. And then David, they'll all be passed out on the ground. You've worked with some of the biggest including Here we go. HP, Xerox Dow Jones, Cisco. So yeah, so you've worked with some some big dogs?

Absolutely. You know, I always like to say that that's the window dressing, because the hardest are businesses, small businesses, we work with over 2500 clients. And the vast majority of them were all the way from mom and pop up to small to medium sized businesses. I'm happy to have the bigger clients. But again, they just look good on the website running.

Yeah, yeah, yeah. Okay, so who would be a kind of a perfect client that you work with? And what's the outcome that you help deliver for them?

Perfect client is really a business owner that understands that they really are an expert marketer, right. And they've probably been struggling, you know, with companies like mine over many years, trying different things, and so on, and just getting frustrated. And they're really trying to act as their own Chief Marketing Officer, or marketing director, and not very happy with that. And that's really what we've morphed into, we've morphed into a marketing company that really looks at the big picture with you, all the way from, how much are you charging for your product? What's the lifetime value of your client? And then how do you build a marketing process around that that gets you where you want to go at the end, which is more sales and more profits. So it's really looking at the whole system that goes into it. Okay. So I'd say for the first 20 years, we were in business, we somebody would come along and they'd want a telemarketing campaign. And we usually incorporated email and with a, we created videos, but we were really focusing on that one immediate goal. In other words, put a list in there, contact these companies in order to get us appointments. And really, most businesses need to go way beyond that. Right? They need to think okay, well what are we going to do when we get these leads? Right, are we going to nurture them over time? And how are we going to convert them to paying clients? And then when we convert them to paying clients? Is that client going to be valuable enough to justify the cost of doing all this marketing? Okay, so it really takes a much longer a bigger picture, look at it.

So what do you see working in b2b lead gen today?

Right now, the strange thing is LinkedIn is still working very, very well. Sure. You have, like some marketing going on. Straight telemarketing isn't working very well, because a lot of times people aren't even in the office, right? I mean, unless we all hate it. No question about that. For whatever reason LinkedIn is performing just as well as it has in the past, I guess it's because business owners and decision makers are they're working from home, a lot of them they have more time on their heads. or for whatever reason, you're paying even more attention to something like LinkedIn than they would have had in the past.

When we when you talk about LinkedIn marketing working on, you know, I think we've all been recipients of, you know, someone that's like, Hello, I would like to arrange a call to discuss your IT services messages. And like, if I guess that works of, you know, if you look at like the, you know, how maybe spam might work? Uh, you know, just, that doesn't seem like a very effective promotion doesn't work with people like me.

So you're referring to somebody reaching out to you on LinkedIn? Yeah. Exactly. Now, or the typical way that most people reach out on LinkedIn is, Hey, you know, I found your profile on LinkedIn, I'd like to connect with you. Well, yeah. And not to say it doesn't work at all. So we have a different strategy for it really is consistent with the strategy we use when we're trying to generate a lead for any medium, whether it's going straight up with email, or telemarketing, or creating videos, or AdWords. It's two things credibility and curiosity. Now, you don't have very many characters in your connection message, please write pretty carefully, but you're really trying to say something that's going to create credibility. Okay, and then you're trying to generate curiosity. And so So essentially, the model that I use is I sort of put myself in the shoes of the prospect. And I say, okay, when I'm a prospect, and I'm absorbing marketing messages, I asked myself a couple of questions, I say, who is who are these guys? And that's the credibility question, and is this anybody Shall I should even begin to pay attention to? And then what are they selling? Is that something that I need, or want, and what you're really trying to do as a prospect, you're trying to dismiss that marketing message quickly, to get it off your plate? Because you don't, you don't have any time you don't, you're going to get a million marketing messages today. And so the trick is, that's where the Curiosity comes in. You want to create credibility, but then you want to put your prospect in the position where they're night, not quite sure if they should dismiss you. Okay? Maybe this Josh, guy has something to say, beyond all the other podcaster people that I'm seeing, they're approaching me. And so you want to create that element of curiosity and what you want them to do you want them to take the next step, right, which is either click on your message, connect with you, or if it's an email, open the email thing. And that's really the core principle that we've used successfully. And it's the same in a telemarketing call, if I call you, in my opening statement, creates a little bit of credibility. But then makes you think, Hmm, okay, you can't have that knee jerk reaction because even for telemarketing call as much as we hate them. Okay. We don't dismiss them until we've concluded that, hey, this is just a telemarketing call, right? Somebody that we shouldn't pay attention to. So it's the same principle. And so if you and the same thing with an email, they so that's really the it's it's a simple little principle that, that we've learned to use through repetition, and it and it applies whenever you're doing LinkedIn, email, telemarketing, whatever it is. Whether you're trying to generate a lead from an AdWords campaign, same principle prospect comes along. They say to themselves, who are these guys? And do I need what they're offering? Okay. And then you try to say, Do I already understand it? Have I already looked at it? Do we already have it? That's the question that you're trying to You're trying to avoid having them be able to put you in that box is something I don't I'm already taken care of in that area, I already know what these guys have. And you have to frame your messaging in such a way that they can't quite safely conclude that they should ignore you until we take the next step.

Um, so and I know this is kind of asking you kind of off the cuff, but I guess I'm still a little fuzzy on the Curiosity side. Like, what what might that look like? Some examples,

basically. So So let's take an example. Let's take your business an example. And I know you, you mark it a different way. you mark it in a very intelligent way. But let's say that you were going out through LinkedIn. And you

went to we love which B Yeah, which LinkedIn Sales Navigator is amazing. So really, I agree, I think it's one of the best things for cold outreach that exists a whole lot better. If you're doing b2b a whole lot better than Facebook ads. In my experience,

I'm probably probably so so let's say your your task, when you go reach out to somebody is there they're going to put you into a box, whether you like it or not of, let's just say podcaster. Guys, okay? Now you don't think of you think of yourself as a lot more than that. And somehow, you have to make them think that okay, there's something different about Josh, and Josh is methodology or a Jonathas technique related to broadcasting that make them a little bit more curious about, okay, well, I better just check this out a little bit further. So especially if you're in an area where there's all kinds of people reaching out prospecting, like in my area, like marketing, okay, one after another after another after another, you have to convince them. So so what you would do is, you come up with a positioning statement, I'll give you an example in my business, okay. So if you go to my website, it said, traditional b2b marketing doesn't work anymore. Okay. So that makes you think. So, for example, if if, if I was marketing for you, that might be one of the ones I would try, I would say, okay, traditional podcasting, doesn't work anymore. What does that say? Josh, it says, Josh has some sort of a better mousetrap when it comes to his podcasting technique, okay. And maybe what I'm thinking of as podcasting, I may be making mistakes, they what I might be doing might be traditional. And, and that, and that actual statement has worked for, you know, dozens of my clients over the years, yeah, people around and say, we don't do it the way that you think that the other guys do it, we do. But you, you don't come out and spill all the beans, immediately you're forcing Look, if you're gonna find out what's non traditional about us, you're gonna have to take the next step.

Yeah, I, you know, I think so much of this, I think the dating analogy works just so well, you know, and if, you know, if, if I'm out to lunch, and I'm talking with somebody, I'm not gonna vomit all over them and tell them everything I do. And I'm sure we've all been at events, when there were there's been that guy, and he's just going around in these in Robo pitch mode. And everyone's like, Yeah, get away. So I think it really is just, you know, it's honoring the relationship of where it's at. You know, and, you know, a good another good analogy is, you know, it's, it's, it's like, so I've studied improv comedy. And you know, when you build a scene, it's always one brick at a time, you don't have one person that just kind of takes over and railroads, the whole scene, you know, you kind of have this back and forth dance that you do where someone says yes, and and then they add another brick to the building, and then the other person adds a brick, and then it always all generally always works out. If you if you handle the relationship that way.

Although for sure, no, absolutely.

And it really so the other, that kind of brings up a good point. So the other struggle that both my company has and all my clients is how do you build those bricks? Right? How do you take people from that initial connection with you whether it's a LinkedIn connection, or they've opened an email? Or they registered for something? All how do you take them along the cycle? Right? And it's, it's relatively easy. You found it relatively easy to do it because you you put on really good podcasting, invite people to come and beyond podcasts and so on. And that gives you a lot of great content over time. For some businesses is very, very difficult, like if you're a service business or something like that. But that's the struggle. And then so it's not always as simple. In some cases, that means you are going to have to keep marketing to them on a consistent basis, once a week or whatever, and keep coming up with content. In other cases, if you don't have, you're just the nature of your business is such that you can't keep coming up with something different every week to talk about, right, you may have to go at it for a short period of time, and then back off, which I find with a lot of service business clients as they make and just do week after week after week, they may have to go out for a month, and then come back three months later, six months later, whatever the case may be.

David, can cold email still work for marketing purposes? for sales purposes?

Absolutely. Okay. What I always say to people, whether it's LinkedIn, or email or whatever, doesn't still work. As much as we hate getting it, right. There's some emails that we pay attention to, as much as we're tired of people reaching out just on LinkedIn, there's some LinkedIn messages that we pay attention to. So the trick is, is once you have an understanding of the right formula, it's not like you're gonna get, you know, 100% open rate. But you can reach out to people because remember, fundamentally, we want information, right? So we don't we still open every one of those stupid emails to look at the subject line, or we look at it briefly. And every once in a while something twigs just to say, Hmm, you know, maybe that is something that I should be looking at. So that gets right back at the end of the Curiosity thing, right? It's a matter of positioning your subject line. So that it's somebody, they can't instantly dismiss you over your LinkedIn connection message, so they can instantly dismiss you.

Right, right. So David, your work on not only providing marketing strategy, but I think that you've positioned yours, you position yourself as kind of a fractional cmo. So what does that What does engagement typically look like with you?

Basically, what I do is I, I, with every client, I start with a spreadsheet, and we talked about, we build a spreadsheet that says, Okay, here's the peak, here's the marketing pieces that I think you're going to need to implement, some of them already have some of them, right? And then we say, okay, what's the costs gonna be to set them up? What's the cost going to be to run them on a monthly basis. And then we look at their whatever product or service they're selling, and make projections and say, Okay, if we convert, if we get X number of leads, you get x number of appointments, and your closing percentage is whatever it is 10 20%? What's that going to net you and then we look at we we break that out, if it's a business, that there's longevity, like, it's if there's a lifetime value of a client, we project that out, figure out how many clients you're going to retain into the second year, the third year, the fourth year, and so on. And that builds the model. And then we proceed to try to implement it, and see if the numbers are consistent with what our projections were. So it's a it's a, it's a financial model and a business model. More than anything else, I actually literally pull out a spreadsheet for every single client that I work with, and then we put the numbers in together.

And what's the advantage compared to I mean, yes, what's the alternative?

The alternative is, I mean, the way that I did it for 20 years, somebody would come along, and they'd say, Okay, I want a telemarketing campaign, it's here, here's how much it is per hour, okay. And you make some projections and say, we're gonna get you some appointments or whatever. And the and the whole focus is on let's get appointments, right? And you're assuming as the business owner, then that's going to be profitable for you. This takes a much deeper and looks at it much more specifically, in terms of each stage, what's going to have to happen, how much you're going to have to spend, how much you're going to have to budget over X number of months to make this work, right. What are realistic projections for how many leads you're going to get? What's a realistic projection for what your closing percentage would be? Okay? So you're approaching it much more logically, because that's the way businesses don't get built in the 30 days, right? They get built in one to five year cycles. Not to say that you're when you engage with me in marketing that you're going to take five years to to make any money. But if you look at it from that perspective, you know that some of them leads like in your case in your in your pipeline, some of the leads come out every month, but some of them have been in there for five years. That's like every business. So when you're building that type of a model, you're looking at it realistically and saying, Okay, if we spend this much in the beginning, okay? Our early stage wins will generate us X number of clients. But because we're building a pipeline, every month that goes by or every six months, it goes by more, we're catching up with more than ones that were in the pipeline. Plus, we're getting sort of a low hanging fruit that comes out the other end. So you, you just, you just need to look at it over a longer term.

Excellent. Okay, so professional What should people look for? I see you've got a, you do webinars, you do workshops.

Right now, the biggest thing I'm doing is I'm running free mastermind b2b mastermind, webinars where I just get on with whoever's registered and when people register, they put their website in, they talk about what what marketing they've done, what marketing struggles they have, I'll just pick a couple of people on each each of the webinars in just walk through the stuff with them, show them examples, talk about, you know how we might fix it, put a plan together for them. And each week, I'll give, you know different people to crack at it. But everybody's welcome to attend as many as they want. Or it's not like it's so I'm not really teaching you a system. We're really getting in there and getting your hands dirty, rolling up our sleeves and say, Okay, let's look at your marketing problems. Right, and how we would solve them with everybody that's on the webinar.

Yeah, excellent. All right. Well, David Rankine Rankin again, your website is professional prospecting God calm. David, thank you so much for joining us. Okay. Thanks, Josh.

Really appreciate it.

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