Mark Twain once quipped, “The reports of my death have been greatly exaggerated”.
The same could be said for “cold calling” your prospects.
Read a recent article in the Sydney Morning Herald and Age, “Never call your customers”.
It starts with “If calling your customers is part of your sales plan, think again. Research shows phoning customers is out dated, intrusive and most importantly, nothing but a waste of time.”
Frankly, what a load of bunkum. Well, almost 🙂
Sure, listening to the below average telemarketer obviously calling from outside Australia, reading from a script, trying to get you to switch phone or electricity suppliers is likely to enrage you. Especially as they insist on calling at 7:59pm and won’t take no for an answer.
But to say you shouldn’t regularly call your actual customers for fear of disturbing them? Please, spare me.
If you’re a regular reader of our material, you’d know one of our core principles is the 90 Day Rule. Put simply, if your prospect or customers haven’t heard from you at least once every 90 days they’ll forget about you and go with another supplier who happens to offer them something they want.
So it’s critical you keep in touch with your clients to stay top of mind.
Yes, you can keep in touch through email, your newsletters, blogs and social media. But nothing beats personal contact if you have something of value to impart.
And as a client recently found out, picking up the phone and calling ex customers can bring in lots of new business.
In their case, the organisation had changed names and many of these customers had lost their contact details. Once re-contacted, business flowed in the door.
Back to cold calling.
Sure, it’s not something most people like to do. However, given the right strategy it can be an effective prospecting mechanism, especially in the B2B space.
However, to be successful you have to do two things. Research your target. Understand what issues they may be facing and are likely to want to fix. Then when calling, add value by giving them insights and information that helps them solve these issues.
However, just dialling, churning and burning is as the article points out a waste of time and does nothing for your reputation.
But what if the thought of calling fills you with fear?
Assuming you’ve identified your prospect by name, try and find them on LinkedIn.
Send them a connection request and hopefully you’ll have the opportunity to start a dialogue.
Or see if you can find an email address and make contact that way.
However, just like in a call, don’t make the fatal mistake of going into a pitch. Instead find something that you could engage them with. Maybe they’ve written an article you could positively comment on. Or send them an article or other material you think they’d be interested in. Keep looking for ways you could add value.
Only then suggest a phone call to explore further.
Take baby steps. Just like dating, come on too strong and salesy and you’ll lose them.
And back all of this up with a lead nurturing system which drip feeds them with educational material over the long term. That way you’ll always be on top of mind for when they’re ready to take action.
Now, for those of you who’d really like someone else to be doing this on your behalf, here are a couple of resources I’d recommend.
Jenny Cartwright (www.telesalestraining.com.au) is one of the best telesales trainers in Australia. She works with a group of telesales people who can take on the task for you.
Another highly recommended resource is Richard Forrest from FMG. Richard’s team provide local phone lead generation, telemarketing and customer service solutions.
Having said that, telemarketing should be only one small component of your marketing and must be backed up with a lead nurturing system.
Which is where we can help.
At Revealed Resources, we create complete online and off-line lead generation, referral and nurturing solutions with result in a steady stream of good quality prospects to your door.
Visit www.revealedresources.com/lead-generation-program for more details.