How to Take the Cold Out of Cold Calling & Marketing
You’ve probably known for a while now that cold calling is something everyone dreads - whether they’re on the initiating or receiving end. This past Wednesday an incredibly timely piece popped up on Mashable - Your Sales Strategy Shouldn’t Rely on a Cold Call - written by HubSpot’s CMO, Mike Volpe. And yesterday ClickZ posted an article about The Importance of Personalization. Although outwardly their messages don’t seem to be overly similar, if you’re a seller or a marketer, you should really take the wisdom they provide to heart.
Hopefully you’re ahead of the game and already putting the insight of these two articles to use in your daily work activities. If not, then it’s time to catch up. Let’s be honest: it’s almost 2015 and the internet and all of the information it provides about nearly everyone and everything isn’t just going to disappear anytime soon. So why are some of us not really making the most out of what we have? Why are we still punishing ourselves (and others!) with completely frozen cold calls and generic messaging? Surely we want to make our lives easier and have our potential clients and customers like us from the start. What should we really be doing?
From our experience, it’s completely fair to surmise that one of the main reasons most sellers struggle to meet their sales targets is because they’re having a hard time connecting with prospects to schedule first appointments. Even for the most outgoing, enthusiastic personalities out there it must make you feel just a bit anxious to pick up the phone and attempt to start a conversation with a complete stranger who almost certainly has a predisposition of utter contempt at the thought of picking up cold call. And for the rest of the population, well most of them will probably procrastinate picking up the phone unless their manager happens to be nearby. With the resources that are literally at our fingertips all day, it seems to be a natural conclusion that we should start utilizing them to make our daily outreach efforts more pleasant and overall much more effective.
Doing research via LinkedIn and a general web search can give you a general feel about almost anyone you may be trying to reach. Having some more information about them (just don’t get creepy!) can help you connect more easily and confirm that they are indeed the prospect you should be reaching out to. You need to do your best to find out enough about them to be able to make a strong case for why your product or service would specifically be of particular use or interest to them.
Reaching out through online social channels first can help you initiate contact rather seamlessly if you approach it in the right manner. By not giving them your sales pitch, you can earn their interest by offering some relevant information that is personalized to them about the industry, or solutions to the problem they might have (the one your product or service may eventually help fix). This first note will prime them for further connections either online or ultimately over the phone or in person, since they’ll hopefully now feel as though you truly have a personal interest in assisting them. Although it may take a bit more effort upfront, taking the time to utilize social channels instead of simply picking up the phone and dialing, will be more effective in furthering the sales process.
If you’re not the one selling directly, but taking on your company’s marketing efforts, it’s time to really get personal with your audience. It can be difficult to remember that actual human beings comprise your consumer base, not just the data that represents them. Undoubtedly extra customization and personalization will take more effort and resources than simply standard, cookie-cutter messaging. However, it can help your brand’s audience feel more reassured and confident that they’re actually special. Paring effective personalized marketing with appropriate social brand interactions can improve overall sales by building brand affinity.
Taking the time to find out what your prospects and customers really value and learning to position yourself in such a way that your genuine desire to help comes out and will ensure you never have to make a cold call again. Using more of that same personalization in your marketing strategy will also help increase consumer engagement and ultimately sales.
What is one of the worst cold calls you’ve ever made or received?