If you’re in marketing or sales, you likely have a list of reasons why cold calling “does not work”. Do any of these sound familiar?
- I just don’t like doing it!
- My list is overwhelmingly large – where’s my starting point?
- How do I start a conversation with a cold prospect?
- The sales cycle takes too long with cold calls.
Have no fear – each of the above reasons why cold calling “does not work” can easily be rebuked.
I Just Don’t Like Doing It
Often cold calling does not work because it’s seen as an unpleasant task. It seems as if sales people are born knowing they do not like to cold call. Humans are interesting – if we don’t want to do something, we will find a way to avoid getting it done.
Successful sales people use multiple tools when selling. Phone calls, email, social media, and networking are all examples. Part of a salesperson’s success is the ability to blend and balance these tools and knowing how to sequence them. The sequence usually changes from prospect to prospect. The tools are applied based on their value and impact. Too much of one tool and not enough of another limits the ability to maximize success.
Challenge yourself – just because you might not enjoy the act of cold calling, does that really mean it doesn’t work?
My List Is Overwhelming
It is not realistic for someone to sustain a cold calling approach if you have thousands of targeted companies on your list. To see the most success, your list needs to be a manageable size. If your file is big, try to prioritize it by isolating the best couple hundred. Large database files lead to exhausting your enthusiasm.
Always keep in mind that this work takes time – you’re building relationships and that does not happen quickly.
How Do I Start the Conversation?
In a business-to-business environment, prospecting via phone calls creates great advantages when done properly. Here are two examples of how this activity works:
1st – An informative starting point
Assuming you have developed a targeted prospect list (database of who you think is a good prospect), phone calls are a quick way to pre-qualify and prioritize. You can:
- Learn who the decision maker is and gather his or her contact information,
- Learn what their current situation is or when agreements renew,
- Learn current satisfaction levels.
This is all important information to know while building the foundation for a successful selling opportunity.
2nd – Stay in touch and build relationships
Once you have gathered key information specific to individual prospects, its smart to stay in touch with them. Along with other methods, phone calls are impactful. Even if you are unable to get the decision maker on the phone, utilize voice mail messages. Leave your name, remind them that you’re aware of their current situation, and let them know you are interested in earning their business. If you are talking to someone who reports to the decision maker, it’s okay to ask how the current situation is working. Feel free to ask other relevant questions that might help you in the sales process. Again, let this person know your desire to earn their business.
These are smart uses of your time that will advance you through the sales process with prospects. Blend phone calls with other marketing methods to develop a comprehensive program.
The Sales Cycle Takes Too Long
If you expect to sell your services during early stage development, you will end up disappointed. However, you will certainly experience value in your phone calls if you recognize the importance of capturing key information about your prospects, then advancing through the sales cycle. Again, this is a human-to-human approach – you are building relationships. You will always reap the benefits of the time you put into prospect development.
Why Cold Calling Does Work
Over time, assuming you apply these disciplines on a consistent basis, you will cash in on wonderful rewards. These sales activities are very basic and fundamental to selling. They are time tested and complement many other methods such as social media, traditional advertising, email, and networking.
Remember, in a business-to-business environment, often people buy from people they know and trust. Be that sales person the prospect knows and trusts.