The proof is out there – cold calling isn’t dead. But take a quick look around the Internet, and you’ll also find plenty of naysayers with little evidence to back their claims. Maybe these individuals are scared to pick up the phone because they’re worried they’ll get a no. If making a call will get a straight answer from your prospect while emailing and social selling only delays the inevitable, why would you wait? You’re only spinning your wheels and wasting time reaching out to them, conducting more research, etc.
If it’s not the possibility of a no, are these cold calling haters just lazy or when they hear “cold calling” do they think of the stereotypical calls we all used to receive on our home phones during supper time? The individual on the other end couldn’t answer your questions if you stayed on the line long enough to hear their scripted pitch. It doesn’t have to be so tactless, let’s look at how you can transcend the old cliché of telemarketing.
Differentiate Yourself From Other Callers
If you’re calling consumers, then you know no one wants to be interrupted during dinner. If your main focus is B2B selling, you don’t want to waste your efforts calling your prospects outside of their work hours or during peak business hours where they won’t be available. Consider your target contacts’ time zone and call them when they’re in the office. Secondly, conduct thorough research and only make calls to vetted contacts. Due to advancements in technology you don’t need to spend tons of time researching. Software like VanillaSoft can do the work for you. You can think of it as “targeted calling” not cold calling. Yes, the contact still doesn’t know the caller, so it’s technically a cold call, but today’s inside sales representative has access to more information about their prospects than their first name and job title.
Another way to differentiate yourself from the cold callers of days past is to show an interest in your prospect’s business. Find out what their challenges are and tell them how your product will solve their problems. Don’t just regurgitate case studies and statistics, speak to them in their language and show how your brand can help.
Know your product. Learn as much as you can about your industry, including how your brand squares up against competitors. Think about the questions that will be asked and have your answers readily available. Being prepared will build your confidence and allow your personality to show. You’ll spend less time fumbling for a reply thereby allowing you more time to learn about your prospect.
Social and Email is Not a Replacement
As Anthony Iannarino noted in his blog post, LinkedIn Groups and Twitter were dished up as an alternative to the phone a few years ago. These are great tools to warm up your prospects and listen to their problems, but they should not be considered a replacement. Social media and online content are both mediums to build brand awareness. Buyers are still looking for human interaction and want to have legitimate conversations. And, not all of your prospects are on social media, so why would you even consider crossing off the telephone?
Let’s take a look at email. You’ve spent countless hours creating email nurture plans with multiple tracks based on actions… that’s great, but could the interaction of an actual phone call assist in your closing ratio? The average open rate is around 20% according to MailChimp. Even if you have 10,000 contacts, only about 2,000 are going to read your email. Then, of those 2,000 readers how many are likely to click through? You get the point. The numbers are low and very few practical sales strategies can rely solely on automated emails. Your clients want human engagement, so call them!
Cold Calling Still Works
Social Business Engine recently hosted Chris Beall, the CEO of ConnectAndSell due to the virality of a LinkedIn post he shared. In his post, Chris says “If cold calling is dead, who got these results last Thursday?” Attached to the post is a screenshot showing significant results from phone calls. The post caught the attention of readers and even upset some. During the interview, Chris points out that online content can support communications in any form, but a phone call adds tone of voice and a human factor.
Don’t rule out cold calling for your inside sales reps, it might be time to get back on the horn and start dialing more. Take a blended approach and avoid relying solely on any one form of communication. The invention of the first telephone may have been over one hundred and forty years ago, but it’s still a valuable tool in the modern business world.