Are you coughing up excuses why you missed your sales quota? Are you working at a feverish pace to get through your call list with no luck? Or, are you feeling depressed and alone since your calls and emails go unanswered? If you are experiencing these symptoms which prevent you from making a successful connection with a new sales prospect, then you have a case of the common bad cold call.
The Common Cold Call Is An Epidemic Problem
Face it, the impact of the common cold is an epidemic issue in sales organizations, since it costs too much and doesn’t work, as noted in the below statistics!
- Cold calling does not work 90.9% of the time according to Harvard Business Review
- Cold calling costs at least 60% more per lead than other methods, like social selling, per HubSpot, The State of Inbound Marketing
- Less than 2% of cold calls result in a meeting reported by Leap Job
With statistics like this, how can sales leadership not be adopting social-selling techniques as a cure to this malaise of missed opportunities?
Cure The Common Cold Call With A Regimen of Social Selling
1. Look in the mirror to assess and begin work on your personal branding’s curbside appeal. Before you start selling yourself, work on your personal brand’s curbside appeal and tune up your underperforming LinkedIn profile. With 49.5% of profiles incomplete, you can start by getting your profile up to All-star status and then move on to making it be MVP status. Once you have a complete refreshed profile, you will be more findable and you’ll have taken your first step to cure the common cold call.
2. Get your reputation in shape by showing your extended community you are truly an expert. No one wants to answer a phone call or email from someone who is going to sell them. However, if you have the expert- reputation in your field as someone who can help, then customers will be knocking on YOUR door. Turn your LinkedIn and Twitter accounts into your reputation destination by regularly curating content:
- Tweet 10 times a day with links to smart and helpful early- and mid-funnel-related content
- Update your LinkedIn status 3-5 times daily to start by posting links to articles, research graphics, SlideShare presentations, and video paired with a question to facilitate discussion with your network
- Blog 1-2 times weekly
Keep your curated content limited to early-funnel conversations (e.g., what is mobility vs. how your company can help solve a mobility problem) to establish your reputation and help you with your common cold calling. 89% of buyers say vendor-provided educational content is acceptable on social networks, says IDG, so using social media to distribute this content to build your reputation is a solid cure to the common cold call.
3. Listen before you prescribe customer advice with content or 1-1 customer interaction. When I began my career in sales selling copiers for Kodak in the 1980′s my mother used to say look 5 times before you contact your customer. Listen to business, contact, industry and category triggers. Use this to tailor your customer pre touches and eventual 1-1 connections. This way you will be more informed, relevant and successful. Set up your social selling and listening command center to get started today!
4. Make smart and efficient pre-touches. I remember my chiropractor touching my back and observing my posture before he started talking about what ailed me. These touches facilitated a more relevant discussion , than if he just jumped right into the assessment with standard questions. Ysing effective social media touches before a 1-1 touch, you will have a greater likelihood to connect with the customer with success – better timing, not intrusive. Here are smart social media pre-touches to get on your prospects radar to turn a cold call into a warm call:
- Follow your customer on Twitter
- Retweet, Favorite or Mention your customer in a tweet
- Place your customer in a public Twitter list like “Retail Thought Leaders”
- Comment on their blog
- Contribute to a conversation in a shared LinkedIn Group
- Like a comment made on a shared contact’s post
- Pass on links to 3rd-party content via LinkedIn Groups, tweets, daily LinkedIn updates (they likely will see if you share contacts)
5. Ask them a question on Twitter or LinkedIn. It’s OK to ask a relevant question or post a relevant link directly to your contact to make a positive first impression before you have had a phone conversation. For example, send a thoughtful ‘mention or reply’ on Twitter (e.g., @GerryMoran do you see the importance of content growing at your business?) to incite a response. You can similarly connect with a customer via a message sent from a shared LinkedIn group.
6. Link into your contact. After a few pre touches, reach out and get LinkedIn to your contact, using a relevant and contextual invitation. Never send a stock invite directly from LinkedIn and NEVER send it from a mobile device, since you cannot customize your invitation.
7. Use warm referrals to cure the common cold call. Just a cup or warm tea can help cure the common cold, a warm referral can cure the common cold call. When a shared and trusted contact brokers a meeting, you will have an increased chance for success. By increasing the size of your network with past and current coworkers, you can increase the pool from which you can pull to make these warm referrals.
Do you have a personal social selling remedy to the common cold call? If so, then please share it below.
There is no quick cure to the common cold call. You need to spend some time working on your social selling health by tuning up your personal brand, increasing your reputation, and establishing your credibility. Byy nurturing your health, you can avoid the common cold call and make more contacts successful warm ones.
PS. What do you do if the health food salesperson knocks on your door with a cold call? Well, you ‘vitamin’ (invite him in). If your common cold call is preventing you from reaching your goals, then take a ‘social selling vitamin’ and start busting your sales-quota!