For those of you that like the idea of throwing cold calling out the window, here are four easy action steps you can take to avoid cold calling while increasing your prospecting potential.
Get People Coming to You.
Public speaking opportunities are a great way for prospects to experience you. Taking advantage of public speaking opportunities is a proven strategy that is used in the financial planning industry as well as other industries.
Conduct an informational seminar or workshop for people in your target market. This can be done at association conferences or even in your local area. When speaking, you are positioned as an expert in your field, and people receive value from the information you present. Those people will leave business cards behind, request more information, or offer something that will provide you with the opportunity to call on them.
If you were to cold call these people on an individual basis, without having them participate in your seminar, they would be unlikely to give you the time of day. On the other hand, if they heard something during your seminar that could potentially help them out, they will welcome your call. In addition, this process allows you to weed out people that don't have a need for your products or services automatically, without having to waste time calling on them.
Ask for Personal Introductions.
You know the companies that you want to do business with, and if you don't, you should. Make a list of these companies, and ask your current customers, friends, or strategic alliances if they know anyone at any of the companies you have on your list. If they do, ask if they would be willing to provide an introduction (for example, an email, a phone call, or, best yet, a lunch appointment — you'll treat, of course). This is just like asking for a referral, but it does not have to be limited to customers. Anyone can provide an introduction.
Attend networking events or socials that your target market attends. Networking is an art, and it is not simply attending events to see who buys from you. The purpose is to "get connected." You may meet potential prospects, but you will also meet people that serve the same market as you do and could potentially be referral sources for you. These events provide a great atmosphere for meeting new people, so take advantage of such opportunities.
Even if the company you work for has an aggressive marketing campaign, you should still market yourself. For example, send a report or white paper that would provide some value to your target-customer list. This will give you an excuse to give them a call to follow up.
Of course, this is not as perfect as a referral or a personal introduction, but it is still better than a blind cold call. It is what I refer to as a "lukewarm" call. It gives you an excuse to call the person and follow up as well as provides a talking point. There are several inexpensive ways you can self-market and get your name in front of someone.
These are just a few examples of what you can do to create more interested prospects and have "warm calls." And warm calls are, on average, 75% more effective than cold calls. Wouldn't you like to have prospects that are 75% more likely to do business with you?
About the Author
Henry Pellerin is the president and founder of VantaEDGETM Inc. and co-author of The Strategic Selling Process. VantaEDGETM Inc. provides customized sales training, consultation, and facilitation services. Henry personally has had more than 17 years of experience in sales, sales management, and business development, and he shares his expertise with clients to help them receive the same results he has attained year after year.
You may want to sign up for the VantaEDGETM monthly sales tips newsletter, VantaEDGE Monthly, from which you'll receive valuable selling tips each month along with the special report "Avoid the Top 10 Selling Mistakes That Lose Sales." To do so, visit www.vantaedge.com. Henry can be reached at 864-254-9300 or via email at email@example.com.