In a sense, cold calling is dead. But not in the sense that a lot of digital marketing agencies tend to flaunt. Cold calling is dead because with the access to information we have on demand these days, there is no need to make a “cold call”. But call you must! With a little experience, all you need is 5 minutes to research your lead, in order to make it a warm call. “Hi, Jeremy, this is John calling from Rapid Sales Growth. I see you are connected with a good friend of mine, Tom. How do you guys know each other?” That’s not so cold, now is it? You see the term “cold calling” originated from the dark days before internet. Sales reps would work off a list that had been purchased by their employers. All they had was a name and a phone number, and they would call these prospects using their old analog phones with one of those round diallers. In many cases, they did not even know whether they were calling a male or female. It doesn’t get any more cold than that. Unfortunately the term has stuck over the decades and is now the preferred term for prospecting.
But make no mistake, prospecting calls are very much alive. For many businesses that fail, it is merely due to the fact that they don’t have enough deals in their pipeline to sustain their business – despite their best marketing efforts. So if your company has an influx of leads that convert, you are in a very good space (just don’t get complacent – will those leads be there in three months? Three years?). However, if your pipeline is running lean, be very sure you have the capability to prospect by phone because it could be all that stands between success and failure for your business. Even if your pipeline is full of leads coming from your marketing efforts, it is still good practice to bring leads in from direct sales prospecting. [bctt tweet=”Prospected leads are a lot more personal, and as a result have a much higher closing rate”] than any other lead source – provided you are doing it the right way.
So what is the right way? A prospecting call is an interruption to your prospect’s normal working day. People don’t like to be interrupted. And they don’t like being sold stuff. Buyers make informed decisions based on the plethora of information available to them. So on your first prospecting call, you don’t want to be selling anything, you merely want to start a conversation around similar interests – to show genuine interest in your prospect’s business. [bctt tweet=”Your role as a prospecter is to introduce a new idea or way of thinking”] to the prospect, and ascertain whether or not your product or service is a fit for their organisation. Once that has been established, your role changes to supplying the buyer with information about your product and industry very specific to their needs, based on information you have gathered through in depth, two way communication. The goal of course is to convince the customer to select you as the supplier, rather than your opposition.
Our next series will take in an in depth look at the stages of B2B pipelines, and whether or not organisations should be using a sales pipeline (internally focused), or a customer pipeline (externally focused). If you are having problems prospecting or filling your pipeline, get in touch, we will be able to assist.