I wanted to write about the death of cold calling because I have witnessed some heated debate while reading online comment sections (my favourite pastime) and, as opposed to joining that conversation, I wanted to raise my own.
One of my favourite sales memories is the time I used a clipboard to fend off a gigantic German Shepherd, while I climbed onto the roof of my car. I don’t miss door knocking. But I’m starting to enjoy cold calling less now too… and there are no giant dogs.
My credentials aren’t glowing, but I guess they are sufficient. I have made 100 calls a day at times, to varying success. I have made a living off commission-only sales for years and, at times, a fairly decent one. However, the global sales environment has changed and I think there may be a few different things at play.
- Google has single-handedly changed the way people solve their problems. (Why talk to an actual person when I can just look it up?)
- Millennials (the largest generation in the world’s history to enter the workforce) don’t like talking on the phone; they like engaging digitally, and they are coming into management positions within businesses in increasing numbers.
- Bad cold callers reading scripts have given people a, frankly, terrible experience.
My feeling is it is only a matter of time before cold calling is a thing of the past.
I also think it is worth maintaining, but only in conjunction with integrated marketing strategies. Choose the fancy buzzword or channel of your choice, but ultimately it comes down to your target – the person at the end of your contact method of choice.
What do they need, and why should they take your call? What’s in it for them?
This is how we are
If you understand this first, you can set yourself up for a phone call or contact that they are expecting and want to take.
The reasoning behind this is that you should already have done your research and know that this sale will help the customer. Forget your targets and KPIs and all that; call people that will benefit from engaging with you. If you can genuinely help them, chances are they will be happy to take your calls for years to come.
The key is to make sure you, or your business, has done the foundational groundwork to support you in your sale and in your presentation of the company.
4 key questions to ask yourself:
- Is the business positioned to fulfil your sale?
- Is marketing creating awareness about your brand or product?
- Are you armed with tools and marketing support?
- Does the business have a digital footprint? (And, is it a good one?)
In my personal experience, making a sale has always been about the same things… Making a genuine connection with the person (people do business with people they like), doing your best to help the them (not your sales targets) and then delivering on your promises (which requires support from the business).
After all, people like doing business with good people, and they will sing your praises when you get it right.