Recently I ran across and interesting discussion on LinkedIn about the effectiveness of cold calls — or maybe better stated — lack of effectiveness.
One comment in particular jumped out at me and really got me to thinking about a future where the cold call could again be an effective outbound sales prospecting tool.
Every time I get a cold call from a company, I feel it’s a scam. All about trust.Bo Griswold, CEO and Founder of Global Treasure Hunts
Now if you’ve been around these parts for any period of time or read my book, The Invisible Sale or attended any of my sales keynotes or workshops, undoubtably you’ve heard my cold calling battle cry:
Salespeople should NEVER talk to a stranger.Tom Martin, President Converse Digital
What I mean by that is today’s social media/digital world provides all the tools necessary to research damn near anyone before you ever meet or call them. Yet, too many salespeople don’t bother to spend any time on Preparation (one of the 5p’s of the Sell Greatly approach). And they end up cold calling or cold networking with the same tired approaches that just create noise vs signal in the buyer’s mind.
It is that noise that undermines the trust Bo references and truly believes is one of the most important variables in the buyer’s decision to accept the call or the follow up call.
So what, if anything can salespeople do today to overcome this trust barrier? Glad you asked… because I have an idea that I want to share with you today.
What I’m about to share with you hasn’t been tested. In fact, I just came up with it this week. It’s an idea… a thought… but one that seems to have a bit of logic and rationality to it. An idea that at least on the surface, feels like it should work.
So I’m going to share it with you today, before I’ve had a chance to test it myself and invite you to help me test it. All I ask is that you track what you do and then send me an email with your results.
Step 1: Social Reconnaissance
Like I said above, you should never call a stranger. Instead, spend 20-30 minutes online doing a bit of Social Reconnaissance. And for those of you that think that’s just a fancy name for stalking… well I can’t exactly argue against your point, but don’t let that stop you.
The key point in social reconnaissance is to leverage the awesome power of social media and the web to quickly build detailed dossiers on your sales prospects.
We’ve been successfully doing it for years both for our B2C and B2B clients. Hint: it’s also REALLY good for building marketing personas too!
So you have two options: you can hire someone like us to do it for you — just click here to set up a demo OR you can do it yourself.
We’ve even got you covered there too… while this isn’t how WE do it, for many of you this approach will suffice. Just register for our handy dandy Never Talk To a Stranger webinar here.
Once you’ve done your PREPARATION (one of the 5P’s of the Sell Greatly method) you’re ready to make that cold call that everyone says is dead.
Step 2: The Dreaded Cold Call
Ok… so now that you’ve completed your Social Reconnaissance, review the information along with any company information you can find to discover places where you and/or your product/service can add real value.
Jot down a few key points or discussion items you’d like to cover.
Plan your introduction… yes, actually plan and practice your first 15 seconds. What are you going to say (exactly) when the sales prospect answers the phone.
Plan your voicemail… yes, actually plan and practice a quick, 30 second voicemail that tells who you are, why you’re calling, what value you think you have to offer, invites them to visit your LinkedIn profile, and then close with a date/time you’ll call back to see if there is any interest.
Step 3: LinkedIn Profile as Trust Generator
So did you notice that little part in the voicemail about inviting them to check out your LinkedIn profile?
That’s the big idea I think.
That’s where you as an unknown salesperson that may or may not have a great personal brand can quickly and easily build a bit of trust with a potential sales prospect.
BUT… you’re going to need a good, trust building, ACTIVE LinkedIn profile.
After your sales prospect leaves your profile convinced that you have something of value to offer them they’ll believe that you can likely provide value. Then and only then, will they give you that 15-20 minute call you’ve already told them to expect.
Step 4: Make That Follow Up Call
As we preach at all of our sales workshops and keynotes, discipline delivers. Far too may sales teams fail because they simply fail to do the work. Whether that’s the result of poor systems, inadequate technology (cough – CRM tool) or just bad planning and execution oversight, it’s unacceptable.
Now that you’ve gone through the effort of creating a bit of trust with your sales prospect, don’t lose it by failing to call at the appointed time on the scheduled date.
Doing what you say you’re going to do when you say you’re going to do it is one of the bedrocks of trust building. So don’t destroy your foundation by failing to follow through.
Want To Sell Greatly With Cold Calls?
Yes, you actually just read that here on our blog. I know… probably something you never expected to hear here.
But the truth is… cold calling isn’t dead it’s just misunderstood.
So, give the process above a shot. Again, while we haven’t tested it out ourselves yet, we’re confident that it will immediately improve your sales prospecting success and cold call conversion metrics.
And if you feel like you or your organization needs a bit of help:
Maybe you need help turning your sales teams’ LinkedIn profiles into true Trust Generators.
Or maybe you want to learn how to successfully recon sales prospects via social and digital tools.
Or you just need a sales trainer that shows your sales teams how to be relationship first vs transaction first in their sales approaches.
We can do all three for you. Just drop us a line and we’ll call you ASAP.