They say “cold calling is dead” and they’re right from the traditional perspective; that is, calling a complete stranger, unexpectedly, for the sole reason that their company has money that you and your company need to operate.
Every business needs customers to sustain financial viability so the primary purpose of sales calls is to get customers. Having no warm leads to call and no inbound calls coming in, the traditional salesperson hits the directories and calls new prospects – a lot of them before he or she can find even one person interested in talking with them. Even then, they can only begin the first phase of a sales cycle that can easily end in no sale, for multiple reasons.
Look at “cold call” as first contact or first impression.
Salespeople have many communication modes beside their voice and telephone. Some of you may remember the “Marketing Mini-Me” article. Marketing people can teach salespeople a lot in this day and age.
Who says cold calling has to be done on the phone or strutting through a door?
Changing the idea of cold call to “first impression” helps us understand the selling dynamic much better. Advertising is one-way, one-sided sales communication. Content marketing is sales communication that begins with idea exploration and invites a two way conversation which attracts people already interested in what you’re selling.
So you write a highly informed blog post that points out a common business problem and a proven, affordable solution. Then you share it all over your social channels, email it to your newsletter subscribers and post a short video testimonial on YouTube of a customer successfully using your solution. In essence, you just made a cold call (first impression) to every prospect to whom the post registers. For the average salesperson, this is dozens of people, probably hundreds, and for some, thousands!
At a bare minimum, you’ve left a brand impression with everyone who sees the post. For those who read the blog article or watch the video, you’ve given them the equivalent of a meet & greet over coffee, maybe better. It could be a “eureka moment” for someone struggling with that problem that you point out. It could generate a closed deal that a random cold call could potentially push away.
To be fair, marketers can be informed by salespeople of real problems in the field associated with products, prices and promotions. Salespeople see first hand what competitors are saying and doing to win business from their prospects.
Those same salespeople needn’t wait for marketing to improve the lead generating campaign. They can do it themselves using email, social media, networking and publishing. What else can you think of? Viral videos, public speaking, seminars, leading breakout sessions at trade shows, Chamber of Commerce ambassadorships… Nobody can truthfully claim “there aren’t enough opportunities for that stuff in my market.”
So go ahead and “cold call” like crazy. Just change the approach from interruption to invitation by thinking “first impression” instead of cold call. Everyone knows how important it is to make a good first impression!