Print Management Insider Blog

Cold Calling Sucks. Do This Instead

Posted by West McDonald on Feb 3, 2016 9:27:07 AM
Closeup of man using smartphone in winter
Let me be the first to say that I love the telephone and use it on a regular basis in my sales process. But starting with a cold call is like going for a winter walk without putting your coat on:  You can do both cold but is either the best use of your time?  Read on if you’d like turn that cold phone into a hot one. 

The world has changed enormously and so have the tools to help us sell more effectively in the modern business world. To give you some background on just how much the world has changed, here are some mind blowing innovations that didn’t exist before 2015:

Google AI beats human player in game of GO:  This ancient game of intuition and strategy has been impossible for a computer to win at, that is until now.  Computer chess is child’s play compared to a virtual game of GO.

Apple Pay & Google Wallet make debit cards obsolete:  The days of a fat wallet filled with cash, credit and debit cards could soon be behind us.  Of course you can still use your leather wallet to show off pictures of your kids.  (Oh right, that’s changed too…)

LinkedIn adopted by over 400 million users:  Unlike Facebook, LinkedIn users are there to get business done. Period.  If you aren’t using LinkedIn to drive your selling efforts you are really missing out.  It’s called “Social Selling”.  For those in the know, social selling is a much more effective method to generating new leads than cold calling could ever hope to be, at least in 2016.

Don’t get me wrong, cold calling had its day, back when the office phone was the primary form of communication.  Those days are long gone thanks to innovations in communication that are “on demand” such as texting, email, and most importantly, social networking.  Want to sell more?  You need to lay the tracks of trust and expertise in advance of your call to ensure that your time on the phone (when it comes, and it will come) is effective and not seen as just another sales call.

Do you want to make fewer cold calls, improve your social selling skills and generate more hot leads?  Then read on!   I learned all of this by trial and error, but you don’t have to.  Here are top secrets of social selling to make your prospecting smarter:

Create a killer profile & make quality connections:  To learn more about how you can create a killer profile, read this blog and get started right away.  Once you’ve done that, start growing your “digital tribe”  to build influence.  Read this blog post to learn how.  Your job at this stage is start building your personal brand as an expert and a trusted resource.

Get your hands on some helpful content:  Social selling requires that you offer things to your digital tribe that are helpful to their businesses.  As the VP of Business Development at Print Audit, social selling efforts take up a big part of my day.  And I can tell you that it works.  Our Print Management Insider’s Blog and LinkedIn Pulse articles generate a ton of visibility for us.

Want to die a quick death on LinkedIn? Pitch your product 20 times a day.  Want to start building influence and turning that into hot leads?  You can do this by creating your own content and by curating existing content that others have written.  You should be posting some kind of educational content at a minimum of 4 to 5 times a day.  A mix of “long form” (think blogs and articles) and “short form” (think press releases, infographics, tweets, sharing other LinkedIn posts  and memes) will give you plenty of useful content to build your personal brand and get prospects looking to you for expertise.

Be ready to respond:  People are going to start responding to your posts on LinkedIn.  When they do, be ready to engage and move them to the next level.  This kind of selling is “gentle”, but don’t make the mistake of thinking it’s “soft”.  If you do the following you’ll generate more leads in 6 months than all of your cold calling efforts in the last 5 years:

      • When somebody “Likes” your post:  Be sure to message them!  Send them a private message with your contact information and let them know you are at their service if they need additional information to help their business.
      • If somebody comments on your post:  Be sure to thank them for their insight, both publicly and in a private message.  If they are leaving a comment it means your message is resonating.  Follow up on this and offer further insights.  I have personally turned a ton of these interactions into business transactions.
      • Comment frequently on your customers’ and prospects’ posts:  Everybody likes a pat on the back and that includes your existing and potential customers!  Make sure they know you are benefiting from their content and expertise.  It will go a long way to build trust and influence.
      • Check your Social Selling Index frequently:  The better your social selling index on LinkedIn, the better your odds of turning your social selling efforts into hot leads.  A score of 70% or more means you are in the top 1.5% of all LinkedIn users for social selling prowess.  You can discover your social selling index score HERE.

I will be the first to tell you that social selling on its own isn’t enough.  I’m not saying there isn’t room for phone calls: Getting on the copper wire with your prospects is essential in the selling process.  The key is making sure that by the time you get on the phone that you and your prospect are already well acquainted with each other. Ensure they start seeing you as an advisor and begin  trusting you as a source of expertise so that your time on the phone has maximum advantage.  I like to call this “smart calling” because, well, it’s smart!  Cold calling without warming the copper-wire isn’t.

If you employ these social selling tactics consistently and wisely the days of cold calling will be far behind you. Your prospecting efforts will generate more hot leads than ever before and your commission cheque is going to thank you.  If you need additional advice you can get in touch with me at Print Audit, or message me through LinkedIn.  You can also read more articles on the Print Management Insiders Blog or through LinkedIn Publisher.

Now it’s YOUR turn!  What social selling tips are working for you?  Do you have any stories you can share about why social selling has replaced cold calling in your sales process?  Is cold calling working for you, social selling be darned?  Your thoughts matter, be sure to share them in the comments section!

Topics: business, business strategy, Business Tips, managed print, MPS, new business, Office Equipment Dealers, print audit, print management, print tracking, printers, printing, Revenue, sales, sales cycle, selling, Service, Social, Social Media, strategy, success, Technology, technology, tips

West McDonald

Written by West McDonald

West McDonald is Vice President of Business Development for Print Audit.

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