Archive for July, 2015

Is Cold Calling Dead?

Thursday, July 2nd, 2015

by Ginny Speaks

I do a ton of reading to keep me up to date on news, trends and happenings and it seems lately there are many discussions out there about cold calling and those discussions are posing the question, Is cold calling dead? Well, in my book, no way! Cold Calling is one of my favorite things to teach and do as a sales trainer; it is one of the most efficient ways to uncover revenue. Yet, I would say that cold calling should be called warm calling in today’s culture as there is so much information at our finger tips it would be crazy to call a prospect without knowledge of their brand, products or services. So, in essence, maybe cold calling is dead. Lets’ look at this skill set called warm calling.

Warm calling requires us to become detectives before we make the first call; to uncover information that we can use to help us navigate the initial conversation to bring it to an assignment.

How do we do this?

  1. Jump on the company website and look for product information, new services, acquisitions, expansions, past or current promotions, company history, stories, any bit of information that is synergistic with your market, your format, your station, your programming, etc.
  2. Then, jump on social media and look at the messaging. Are they promotionally friendly? Do they have a lot of likes? How are they branding? What are they talking about most? Are consumers engaged?
  3. Then go deeper and landscape to find key decision makers within the organization. I like to encourage sellers and managers to landscape deep and wide and to always find key people in three areas: sales, marketing and communications. LinkedIn is a great tool to use for landscaping .

Implementing these three easy steps into your daily practice before calling a prospect will arm you with key information to make all your calls warm.

Now, let’s shift our focus.

What do we do or say when we connect and get the prospect on the phone? Do we sell and persuade our prospects to buy or do we try to fully understand their needs and issues? Selling is about asking questions and listening. It is shifting our mindset from persuading to understanding. To shift from being product focused to buyer focused.

So, ask yourself this question:

Over the past few weeks, when I made cold calls to new prospects what did I do? Did I try to persuade and sell or did I ask questions and listen?

Whether you have been in sales a long time or a short time, making calls is part of our weekly activity and the answer to this question should give you some insight to better understand your selling behavior.

To get you started in the process of shifting the conversation from one of persuasion to understanding, take a look at the following list:

  • Clarify the role and responsibility of the key decision makers you found
  • Ask probing questions to learn about the landscape of the organization you uncovered
  • Gather information about the companies’ marketing initiatives and their challenges
  • Find out what is the top priority for the marketing and sales decision makers
  • Uncover all the buckets of money across multiple channels
  • Understand how budgets are spent and how the organization makes those decisions

This is the short list, but you should get the point. When you look at the initial call this way, it should take the pressure off not only you, but your prospect. Cold calling is an essential part of our business, yet we can turn them into warm calls when we practice this approach.

So, put on your detective hat, develop compelling questions and get those fingers dialing. Your next big close is just around the corner.