If you’ve ever worn a sales hat, chances are you’re forced to engage some contacts which are considered cold. By cold, I’m referring to the fact that they don’t know you, have not heard of your brand and, as far as you know, they’re not seeking out what you’re offering. Often sales people join a company where everyone expects that they’ll be cold calling all day long. Though there are still people who make a living cold calling, today there are often better ways to engage. After all, if you’ve spent a day dialing cold lists, you’ve faced hang-ups, irritated responses and rejection galore. In fact, even with warm leads, you can face those same things. Therefore, it’s obvious that cold calling requires thick skin and a “smile and dial” mentality. Warm up your cold calling and you can be more productive and successful.
So what can you do to help improve the odds of conversion? What can you do to warm those cold contacts before you call them? Let’s first look at traditional approaches. Direct mail, such as post cards, can be a great way to create awareness and interest. Traditional advertising can also help create awareness. Though some industries, including marketing research, shy away from many forms of promotional offers, you can open a door with a special offer which the potential buyers views as beneficial to them or their business. Another avenue that works well is a hand written note, though this works best when there’s some form of relationship or connection. Though there’s a cost associated with it, a great way to ensure your message gets read and creates a warm opportunity is to leverage FedEx or some other form of rapid delivery service. Virtually 100% of the time it will get opened and it stands out from any junk mail or business correspondence.
Let’s take a look at social media or social marketing techniques as an alternative to cold calling. If you can connect, via social networking, with the people you view as your potential customers, you can establish connections in various ways. If you’re viewed as an authority figure within the social media world, you can leverage name recognition to connect with your contacts. Today, to become an authority, you can leverage several means to gain exposure, such as blogging, video, podcasting, or influencing through channels such as Twitter, Facebook or an almost unlimited number of social networking resources. Invest a little time and strategic effort and you can have instant credibility. The modern marketing tools also allow for some great creativity and connectivity. For example, I connected with someone through LinkedIn who had responded to a question I answered in a business forum. About a week after making the connection, I received a large envelope with a hand written address, personalized to me. Inside was a great 4 page brochure, a business card and a thank you note attached. The note expressed his appreciation for my response, which he was able to leverage for a client he was working with. Clearly, this was a crafty way to get his brochure in my hand, but it also made me very receptive to learning more. He hasn’t called, and I don’t believe he will, since he put the ball in my court. The key here is that he broke down any barriers with very little effort. And when I have a need for his services, he’ll be at the top of my list.
Effective cold calling still works, but for me, I prefer to create warm opportunities. Remember to put yourself in the other person’s shoes. What works to tear down your walls, may just work for you when trying to break through barriers or create warm opportunities. Then you can really “smile and dial”, since you’ll be facing much less rejection than cold calling and you can actually spend time building relationships and focusing on Business Growth.