Why a veteran marketer would spend the first hour of the day cold calling
Yep you heard right cold calling. I spend the first hour of most days pro-actively calling those businesses that I want to work with, and guess what it’s one of the most effective weapons in my arsenal.
Social media and email are the primary channels of choice for most small business owners (they’re part of my marketing mix too). The fact is many would rather die a slow death than pick up the phone and call a potential prospect cold. Which makes the good old-fashioned telephone a good choice for getting new business these days, as there’s relatively few people doing it and even fewer doing it well!
Like many people I snubbed cold calling for numerous reasons, not least the fact that there’s many experts that say, ‘cold calling is dead’ and it ruins your brand reputation. Also, I’m all too familiar with the irritation that I’ve often felt being on the receiving end of them. However, as with all things, there is a good way and a bad way to cold call or ‘pro-actively prospect’. It turns out that when done well it’s not just a powerful way to fill your pipeline but a great way to provide value to the businesses that you speak to.
A brief note on cold calling and GDPR
I work with a finite target list and I research each company that I contact thoroughly. I contact businesses based on ‘legitimate interest’ and only call if I genuinely believe I can add value to their business. I approach each call armed with specific examples of how I can help based on my research findings. I also ask their permission to proceed with the call once I get through. At the end of the call I ask for permission to continue contacting them via email, and of course if they ask me to remove them from my list I do so immediately.
It’s also worth noting that I never directly sell on the phone, my goal is to schedule a face-to-face discovery meeting to learn more about their needs and determine fit. Only then does a sales focused conversation occur, on the basis that there is synergy between our respective businesses.
I’m a huge fan and proponent of social media and content marketing but it isn’t the panacea that many believe it to be
Inbound marketing isn’t a replacement for prospecting, consider the fact that HubSpot (the founder of modern Inbound Marketing) has an outbound sales team. It’s important to remember that sales is not marketing and marketing is not sales, the two work hand-in-hand.
Every successful Entrepreneur must know how to sell, prospecting is the first and arguably most important step in the sales process. It’s also one of the quickest ways to fill your pipeline with quality leads if you have a B2B offering.
I am a marketer through and through, cold calling is just an addition to my marketing strategy
I still connect with my ideal prospects and partners online, I still write content that demonstrates my expertise, I still network weekly and speak at events, I still have email sequences, marketing funnels and an entire content marketing plan that is pretty much already mapped out for 2019. The entrepreneurial journey has just made me realise that I have an affinity for selling too and pro-actively prospecting on the phone is working brilliantly for me.
Finally, the next time someone tells you cold calling doesn’t work…
Ask them the following questions (in the words of Mike Weinberg author of New Sales. Simplified: The Essential Handbook for Prospecting and New Business Development):
- How much personal experience do they have cold calling?
- Have they tried it for themselves and for how long?
- Did they have a strategically selected finite list of target prospects?
- Ask them to share the sales story they used to get their prospects attention?
- Ask them how many times they picked up the phone attempting to call their target list?
They may not appreciate the inquisition, but the answers will be telling. These days regardless of the marketing strategy I prescribe, I often recommend adding prospecting to the mix, because I know from personal experience it works, and it’s one of the most effective ways to fill your pipeline.
I highly recommend Sandler Training (Milton Keynes) for all your prospecting and sales training needs, Chris Davies is an amazing trainer that not only talks the talk but walks the walk!