“A brand is no longer what we tell the consumer it is – it is what consumers tell each other it is” – Scott Cook
It doesn’t matter if it’s a phone call, an email outreach or a LinkedIn message trying to sell you something – in today’s age, if you didn’t ask for it, chances are you won’t want it. Which brings us to the death of the cold call/cold email (since nobody has ever asked for them).
Consumers now are overwhelmed by options, giving them the power of choice. They now want to be met where they are, when they are there and in a personalised manner suited to their needs – in contrast to the standard generic phone call/email when the salesman dictates.
What Killed Cold Calling/Cold Emailing?
It’s simple – Technology.
Caller ID has made it easier to screen calls, voicemail is the go-to electronic gatekeeper, and spam filters can send unasked-for messages directly to email jail (Forbes).
Why Do People Still Cold Call Then?
Funnily enough, technology is the same reason that has allowed cold calling and emailing to persist. Robocalling has made it possible to place thousands of calls simultaneously and with the advent of digital deception via phone number and email address spoofing (making it appear the caller or emailer is a known and trusted contact), there may always be some return on investment for villainous cold callers.
This combined with the general nostalgia of past salesman and the inability to change has allowed cold calling and cold emailing to remain present in the sales industry.
The same technology that has killed the cold call (and simultaneously allowed it to remain) is also what can help you step out of the past and into alternate lead generation tactics.
Here are Six Alternate Options to Cold Calling:
- Conduct prior research for your target audience.
Where and how do they like to interact with brands? Are they active on social media? Do they write blogs in their spare time? What competitors do they follow via social media?
Researching your potential leads will allow you to tailor your messaging to suit them. After all, that’s what they’re looking for. Remember, personalisation matters.
Without going into too much detail, a cold call/email is the complete opposite of our innate desire to control the outcome. Personalised and targeted messaging allows you to connect with your customers where and how they like, giving them back the control.
- If you need to call, warm up your lead.
Calling a prospect that has never heard about you or your brand simply doesn’t work. However, if they have heard of you, then your chances to connect and actually have a successful conversation with them increase significantly.
Start by warming up the prospective customer, either by sending them relevant information via email, social media or by targeting them with personalised ads (wherever they like to be found). This will ensure that they are aware of your brand prior to your call (Inc).
- Nurture the relationship.
The desire for personalisation and technologies ability to provide that personalisation has spoiled us with a need to constantly feel special.
How do you nurture a customers desire to feel special? Give them what they want. Respond to every concern and query they have, make yourself available when they dictate and provide them relevant and useful information. More on this in the next section.
- Position yourself as an industry leader.
Write blogs, comment on social media posts, answer queries on forums and position yourself as an industry leader. This will drive traffic back to your preferred medium as well as placing the sales ball (so to speak) in the customers hands. Establish an authentic, informative and trustworthy presence online and Google will also reward you with searches pointed in your direction.
- Offer incentives for referrals.
How many of you have used the same deodorant brand for years on end? Do you follow them on social media? I’m guessing not.
The point here is, no matter how loyal a customer you are, the customer only really cares about one thing – how you or your product can help them solve a problem.
Simply asking for a referral from a previous/current customer doesn’t truly benefit them in any way, nor solve any of their problems. Offering monetary/non-monetary rewards for referrals just may.
Make sure the referring customer notifies the potential referral or candidate of your call. This will warm up the client prior to your initial outreach – without it, you’re basically back to cold calling.
6a. For Recruiters, use LinkedIn.
If you read our last blog 5 alternatives to Linkedin for recruitment, the overall message was clear – for recruiters, Linkedin is competitive and there are alternate options to using it. However, when used correctly, LinkedIn is still a great source of potential candidates. As long as those candidates are warm prospects.
For example, if a candidate has viewed your profile, chances are they’re looking for employment options. This is a warm lead. Attempt to connect with the prospect directly after they’ve viewed your profile.
The same can be said if you’ve attempted to connect with a cold prospect. The connection itself may be cold, but once they’ve accepted the request, they have moved further along the prospecting funnel and you can proceed with nurturing the relationship.
6b. For everyone, use remarketing.
If you’ve wondered why you started seeing online ads for shampoo after visiting a shampoo website – you can thank remarketing. Remarketing is a snippet of code placed on a website that allows the company to track visitors, giving them the ability to target the customer with highly relevant advertising.
If someone has visited your website, they’re a warm prospect. They have some sort of knowledge about your brand, and they’ve acted upon that knowledge by visiting your site. A remarketing advertisement allows you to target those warm prospects and target them where they like to be found. Facebook and Google (among other brands) both offer powerful remarketing options for brands/people to utilise.
This isn’t a blog designed to bash the telephone or phone calls in anyway. Still make calls, but if you do them, do them in the right way. Warm up the lead up prior to your conversation, nurture your relationship with them and always be looking for new avenues to keep up with the trends.