Cold calling used to be a great way to get prospects and set up appointments, but with the vast amount of information at consumers’ fingertips today, inbound marketing has become a much more efficient way to sell. Inbound marketing works better than cold calling because it delivers warm prospects who are receptive to speaking with a salesperson.
Before caller ID and texting, cold calling was a great way to get leads for businesses. But when was the last time you answered a call from a number you didn’t recognize? More and more consumers avoid picking up the phone seeing unfamiliar numbers, so the businesses, using this technique, are not getting the return on investment that they used to.
Finally, the rise of social media has shifted the one-way flow of information from businesses to consumers to a two-way conversation between people and brands. Platforms like LinkedIn, for instance, serve as a virtual network mixer for salespeople, brands, and consumers to build relationships.
To be frank, it has not been very efficient from its early days – we just have not had too many options to replace it with.
1) Cold Calling Annoys Prospects
How do you like getting cold calls from salespeople? Does it make you happy? Do you gain respect for them? Do you call right back if they leave you a voice mail?
Of course not. All sales professionals are in the service industry. How is cold calling truly serving our prospects and potential customers?
It is extremely difficult to build a solid relationship after an initial cold call, but that is the exception and not the rule. Most prospects may consider you another pest trying to get their hard-earned money.
2) Cold Calling Spoils Relationships
Selling is about building healthy and lasting relationships with customers. Well, there is nothing personal about cold calling, but it still is quite an intrusive lead generation approach. It is not the fault of the sales representative.
3) Cold Calling Makes Great Salespeople Hate their Jobs
Let’s pretend for a minute, that the cold calling your sales team results in more appointments, and some money is being made.
No amount of money is worth doing something you loathe.
So, what you and your sales team can do instead?
The answer is straightforward: create a good prospecting strategy and follow it.
You might connect on LinkedIn, communicate over social media, or have a mutual acquaintance introduce you before you reach out to them to make a sale. Establish initial contact prior to reaching out to your prospects.
A good prospecting strategy should be:
- Consistent: It reliably generates new leads.
- High return: It generates a high number of potential customers for the energy and resources required.
- Targeted: It connects you with the right prospects, not just any prospects.
The bad news is that it requires a completely different way of thinking and some serious energy and hard work.
Here are 10 alternatives to cold calling salespeople can use to generate leads.
- Share some valuable content on social media.
Once you’ve built up your personal following, you’ll have a natural flow of prospects to your products and/or services.
- Engage with the right people.
By connecting and interfacing with thought leaders in your industry, and potential users who fit your ideal buyer profile, you’ll grow your audience on social and your potential list of prospects.
- Join your industry LinkedIn groups and provide insights.
You’ll establish yourself as a helpful and authoritative person people can ask questions and get trusted answers.
- Sell based on your company’s expert knowledge.
Don’t try trapping your prospective customers in a conversational corner to get them to say what you want to hear. Instead, use your knowledge to be consultative and helpful on your call.
- Use a CRM, that integrates flawlessly with your company systems.
That way, you’ll have context for every buyer before you reach out.
- Keep in touch with your prospects after the sales process is concluded.
Make sure you continue to send them helpful content even if they decided not to purchase. This helps you do more beyond your initial follow-up and stay in the prospect’s mind.
- Get rid of the call scripts.
Be human, relatable, and consultative – in all your communications.
- Offer short expert consultations free of charge.
Once you’ve earned credibility and trust with a potential customer and delved into their challenges, explain how your product can help.
- Ask your most satisfied customers to refer you to others who might benefit from your solution.
Make your request as specific as possible (“Do you know any companies of X size in [industry] who struggle with [challenge]?”) so a name immediately leaps into your customer’s head.
- Make a video featuring your tips for solving a challenge your prospects face most often.
Tell viewers you’re willing to give them personalized recommendations on the topic if they’d like. Share the video on your social media platforms and send it to your customers.