We all need more business, but in this age of digital everything, why salesmen make random calls in beyond me. For some people, cold calling is okay. I’m actually one of them, but that doesn’t make cold calling any more sense or effective. I believe there are easier and more effective ways.
As Frank Rumbauskas author of “Never Cold Call Again” suggests, “It’s pretty obvious that with enough cold calls, you can definitely set several appointments. But, appointments made from cold calls convert into sales at an astonishingly low rate.“
Here are some stats for you about cold calling.
63% of salespeople say cold calling is what they dislike most.
88% of salespeople work of companies that consider prospecting necessary.
91% of potential buyers never respond to an unsolicited inquiry.
88% of buyers will have nothing to do with cold callers.
Why do all this work for such a small return? Cold calling isn’t bad, in fact, there are some people who are very good at it and don’t mind. If you have the right personality, cold calling lies in your comfort zone. If you are truly prepared, you’re rejection rate maybe a little lower.
When I was sixteen years old, yes sixteen, I worked for a family friend, Bela, who sold food and freezer plans. You bought the freezer at a ridiculously low price if you ordered a years’ worth of frozen food. I would go to different neighborhoods knock on doors, explain the program and try to get Bela an appointment. Sometimes I would pick wildflowers and offer them to the person answering the door. To me, it was just fun and easy. I don’t remember what I got paid for getting an appointment, but it was better than babysitting. Now that I think about it, it sounds like something out of one of those sleazy movies.
Was it effective? Sixty years ago it was acceptable; not now. Let’s stop with the cold calls. Here are five ways to get “warmer” appointments with potential customers.
1. Call a friend or acquaintance. You probably have lots of people that know you well enough to talk with you. Don’t try to sell them anything just talk. Talk about things that are of interest to them, catch up and ask about their family. When the conversation turns to you, mention what you do and what you’re looking for.
2. Renew some old contacts. Many salespeople forget to check on people they have previously done business with. It was someone I did business with 10 years ago. They were glad to hear from me and had a need for my services. (I felt a little embarrassed that I had forgotten about them.)
3. Build a presence on LinkedIn and check in daily. LinkedIn is a wonderful platform for getting to know people and finding out their strengths. Begin with people you know and then branch to people who would be good connections for you but don’t know. Consider LinkedIn like a community with towns and roads. There are different industries and ways to get where you want to go.
4. Use Facebook as a way to find people and friend as many that you think would be helpful improving your business and personal life. Yes, Facebook isn’t usually that serious, but it provides many ways for you to connect. I have built many new friends and business connections with people I’ve never met.
5. Any good salesperson will tell you selling anything involves building relationships. What’s more important, the immediate sale or the relationship? Do you think you lost respect in the eyes of your contact? Actually, you did the opposite. You’ve opened up communication and strengthened an existing relationship. You’ve also laid the groundwork that will create an ally as you look for future sales and referrals.
There is really no “right” way to deal with finding new prospects. These days there are many new forms of communication available; email, social media and online Meetups. It’s easier than ever to stay in touch.
The most important thing you can do is be yourself, be patient always build for the future. Eventually, it will be here.
Lisbeth Calandrino has been providing business coaching and sales/customer retention strategies for over 20 years. To schedule and appointment with her:518-495-5380.