There has been a lot of talk in the past few years about the end of an era. “Cold Calling is Dead”, “Never Cold Call Again”,etc. Frank Rumbauskas and others have been very successful helping to show sales people how to prospect and generate leads without cold calling.
The reason this type of advice is so popular is that cold calling is widely disliked by all involved. No one enjoys being the “target” of a cold call. And sales people see it as repetitive, mind-numbing work.
The fact is that in many types of businesses and selling situations, cold calling is the most economical way to make contact with prospects. So it will always be around. Moreover, taking a broader view of what cold calling is and bringing in some techniques the modern era of “attraction marketing”, social media, etc. can make cold calling a far more enjoyable and profitable lead generation technique.
Even for businesses that have tremendous marketing operations that generate inbound leads, the most time consuming challenge for the sales team can be the repeated phone calls made attempting to have the first conversation with a customer.
Following up with a lead that requested information about your company in response to an ad is not technically a cold call but, bears a striking resemblance in practice.
There are three primary stages of cold calling:
- Getting connected
- Getting the customer “engaged” or getting their attention
- Compelling them to take the desired action
The main reason sales people can get “burned out” on cold calling is that the first stage, getting connected with the decision maker, is where most of the effort and time gets spent and is the most repetitive. After all, you’re largely dialing the phone, speaking to receptionists or assistants and leaving voice mails.
As most sales leaders and experience sales pros know, this is where most sales people fail too. In the busy business world, even with the best technique, you’ll call 5 or more numbers to get one person on the phone. So, it truly is a “numbers game”. You’ve got to get motivated and get focused and make a lot of “dials” every day. Many sales people procrastinate, find other tasks to focus on and are easily distracted. This handicaps the process from the outset. Fewer dials means fewer customers.
So how can we make this stage of the lead generation through cold calling more fun and effective? By making it more of a dance and less of a carpet bombing run.
Rather than starting with a new list each day, calling each number once and leaving the same voice mails over and over again, develop a few “steps” in the dance. Call today, leave a certain voice mail, then call tomorrow and leave a different voice mail. Mix in an email here and there. If your prospects typically have a gatekeeper, prepare two or more “scripts” for them.
Of course, following a specific set of steps over time for each lead requires solid organization. Good sales force automation solution can help with call reminders that tell the sales person who to call and even providing the specific “script” assigned for each call at each stage.
By mixing it up, things stay more interesting and you immediately increase your chances of success. After all, different people like to communicate in different ways and will respond to different messages. Preparing a series of steps that alternates the message and the method of communicate the messages will greatly increase number of positive responses.
To get there, you’ll need to develop your multi-step campaign, or dance, and you’ll need to select a small business CRM that can manage the process and keep sales people focused.
This is article one in a three-week series showing you the new rules of cold calling in 2010 and why your company should consider an online CRM system. Join Craig Klein for two more articles on these new techniques for small business and sales force automation.
November 11, 2010, SalesNexus will host Wendy Weiss, the Queen of Cold Calling, for The New Rules for Cold Calling in 2010. Wendy will present her years of expertise in successful cold calling and show how these and other techniques can make lead generation through cold calling fun and profitable in 2010 and beyond.