Cold Calling Is Dead. Fact or Myth?
We’re all too familiar with the aspect of cold calling. More often than not, the calls come at the worst of times and who really wants to spend their valuable time talking to someone they don’t know? No one likes receiving cold calls and no one likes making them. But does this really mean cold calling is dead?
If you type the phrase ‘cold calling is dead’ into any search engine you will come across a plethora of articles and blog posts all portraying the same message: cold calling is old-fashioned, unethical and a waste of time. However, the answer is not as straightforward as one might think.
Cold Calling: A Thing of the Past
Cold calling begun during a time when it was too expensive and time-consuming to travel, and the only technology we had were telephones and fax machines. Back then, there were limited ways to communicate with potential prospects so sales professionals were dependent on cold calling people who were oblivious to who the salesperson was. As ever, with calling someone you don’t know anything about, the success rate was low but there were few alternatives.
Nowadays however, there is an abundance of new technology and channels of communication at your disposal. There are numerous ways of getting to know your prospects before making that initial call or sending that email and even for them to get to know you. With search engines and social media’s extensive reach, it’s become easier than ever to research potential prospects. There’s really no excuse for anyone to be getting into a conversation completely unaware of what the person they’re talking to is like. So does this mean cold calling is dead?
Warming-Up Your Prospects
It’s clear that calling potential candidates right off the bat is no longer a viable activity. After all, 9 out of 10 top-level B2B decision-makers do not respond to a cold outreach anymore. So once you’ve qualified your leads, you’ll need to warm them up and gather as much intel on them as possible before you make that call.
In the past it may have been enough to only make one or two attempts when reaching out to a new prospect. But these days the route to success requires several touch points through a number of channels. You should be hitting as many of these as possible:
- Analyse your prospects. Take a look at their LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook profiles. They can be a useful tool to confirm you’re talking to the right person such as the correct decision-maker. It’s also worthwhile to keep an eye out to see if they view your profile in return.
- Introduce yourself. Use social media platforms to introduce yourself. Do you have any mutual connections you can utilise?
- Engage with them. Whether directly via social media groups or by tagging them in relevant content, or even simply by commenting on their posts.
- Subscribe/Follow. Subscribe to their blogs and share their articles. Follow them on Twitter. Show your interest.
As stated by Sales for Life, sales professionals are 4.2 times more likely to be successful if they already have a personal connection with the potential client. With 75% of B2B leaders stating they use social media in their decision-making process, you need to be investing your time in these platforms to really try and make that personal connection.
Aptly named “social selling”, the purpose of engaging through online channels is to create a valuable relationship with the person you want to connect with before going in for the sales pitch. Creating that personal connection with your prospects means they are more likely to answer your calls and even listen to what it is you have to say.
Once you’ve laid the groundwork you’ll find it’s a lot easier to make that initial call or send that email as they will already know who you are. Not only that, but the success rate is guaranteed to be higher too.
The Value of Calling
Cold calling may have gotten warmer but it definitely doesn’t mean you need to stop calling altogether. Social selling and sending emails will not be enough to meet your quota, you will still need to use the phone. It will always be the best, most personal way to communicate and an essential feature of business growth. But for it to be beneficial in this day and age, it needs to be targeted and well structured.
If you’re not able to communicate the value of your product offering effectively, you simply won’t get the client. Your approach needs to be targeted to the individual that you’re calling and the market in which they operate. Preparation is crucial. You need to understand your prospects. Use all that social activity that you engaged in and demonstrate you have something compelling to say that will get their attention and will resonate.
Structure your call and know how to guide it each time to get the result you want. In most cases the purpose of cold calling is to arrange face-to-face meetings or productive conversations and not necessarily to close a sale. Understand where you are in your sales cycle and know your objective before making the call to really gain the most from the whole process.
So is cold calling really dead? Ultimately, yes. You should not be calling someone you don’t know anything about. But telephone prospecting is still one of the most efficient and effective ways to reach potential customers. You cannot ignore the benefits of having a real conversation with a person so long as it is done correctly. Use online channels to engage with them prior to the call so that once you do get on the phone you can create real value for them that they can’t turn down.