With so much discussion of online sales tools and social media, it may seem that cold calling is a thing of the past. Many might say good riddance, as they dreaded making cold calls anyway. Before you strike it from memory completely, however, consider the point of a cold call, which is to make a personal contact with someone who needs your product or service. That point is far from obsolete.
Why bother picking up the phone when you could easily just send an email or a tweet? There is much to be said for the personal touch, and a telephone conversation can be the next best thing to meeting a prospect in person. Besides that, it is very easy to simply ignore or delete a message received online. It’s much harder to ignore pleasant conversation from someone in a position to help solve your problems.
Some people feel eager to bury cold calling and dance on its grave because they view it as trying to sell to a large database of people who have no interest in the product or service. Essentially, they view it as telemarketing. However, cold calling shouldn’t focus on making sales. Instead, you should do it with the goal of introducing yourself and your company. The point is to make a personal contact that allows you to follow up with more information, set up a meeting, develop a relationship with a prospect, and eventually make a sale. Focus on setting an appointment during which you will pitch your products and services.
In addition to having the goal of introducing yourself rather than making a sale, you can make cold calling more palatable (and effective) by performing careful research before you pick up the phone. This means researching to choose targeted prospects who are in need of what you offer. Your research will save you from attempting to sell ice to Eskimos. Additionally, the research you perform before a call should provide you with valuable information about a prospect. It should help you demonstrate that you understand the prospect’s company and its needs from the beginning of the conversation. (Figure out the company’s/contact’s problems and prepare to show how you can solve them.). Your careful research also ensures that you will understand your contact and his or her role within a company. As such, you will avoid reaching out to the wrong person or expecting an unlikely result.
Keep in mind that cold calling need not replace emailing, social media, and other tools for reaching out to prospects. Instead, you can benefit from using this method of communication along with your other strategies for making contacts and initiating relationships. Cold calling is just another tool in your arsenal, and you will benefit most by using all of the tools at your disposal.
Do you think cold calling is dead? Why or why not?
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