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by Tim Hughes | @Timothy_Hughes

Just watched a video on cold calling and there are 19 things that I thought was ironic. Maybe it’s my British sense of humour, which can be a little “Monty Python”.  Talking about Monty Python one of my favourite sketches is from the film “Life of Brian” which is called “What Have the Roman’s ever done for us?”  If you don’t know it you can watch it here:

In the area where I work in Europe, and in the field of complex B2B Enterprise sales, cold calling died some two years ago.  The view that the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Ernst Young, Oracle, Hewlett Packard (HP) are sitting there wait for your call and will agree to have a coffee with you when you are in “Boston” is utter fantasy.  Talking to a Sales Leader last week, she said “If we call reception and asked to get through to the CFO (Chief Finance Officer) we will be laughed at.”

Let me point out that I’m not saying cold calling is dead, if you are selling low level, low cost products at a low level then cold calling may work for you.  For example, I know somebody who is highly successful in the UK at selling advertising at £5K ($7.5K) a pop.  The value proposition is low, value so needs a lower level of sign off and is transactional and tactical in nature. The Marketing Manager, not the Chief Marketing Officer (CMO), has the sign off for such a low value. 

But if you work in the high end of complex B2B sales, cold calling died years ago. Anyway I thought I would watch a webinar from two of the top US cold calling experts and what amazed me was how they contradicted themselves and how much they relied on social.  To the point, it was very clear to me that as cold callers are so reliant on social, they only need to take one step and they could embrace social totally.  Social selling therefore is just a nature progression, like anything in life.

Anyway, here are the 19 things that the cold callers said with regard to social and we come back to Monty Python at the end.

  1. They use social. Ironic I know, but they brag about how much engagement they get on social.
  2. They are are not cold callers, they are multi-channel. They make calls, use LinkedIn, send emails, send in mails, send text messages.
  3. They don’t research anything, (they just jump on the phone) but have shed loads of apps to allow themselves to do research.
  4. They tell us they are still calling big companies and not being laughed at.Maybe in the US, but not in Europe.
  5. On a recent webinar with cold calling gurus, 5 meetings or 10 meetings a month was positioned as a good response. If you are making 100 calls a day, that feels pretty inefficient to me, in fact I know it is?
  6. Are not manipulative, but use tools that (in the US) gives you a local number so you can be manipulative.
  7. Senior executives are very busy, they get 125 emails a day and a cold caller is 16th on the list of priorities, (that high?) but the cold caller gets through. For real?
  8. While we are being told that you need to “touch” a person 6 times before they are aware of you, but in private they admit it’s now 15 touches.Maybe not the most effective way of contacting somebody?  Surely you contact somebody once as you do with social?
  9. Everybody has gone mobile and is on social, but of course a senior executive will take your call. Right?
  10. Social selling is all about “you have a dog called Joey” or “you like the Chicago Cubs” or “where the CEO went to school” … er, not sure which joker told you this, but this is hilarious.AI has already commoditised this approach.
  11. To cold call a CEO you connect to their Directors (one level down) on social.
  12. You don’t need to have business acumen to cold call, but you do need to understand “cost of sale”, SGNA, digital transformation, etc.
  13. Cold callers don’t do personalisation, but they do learn from the calls to other people in the company that didn’t work.
  14. Anybody can cold call anybody in any industry with no knowledge, but you need to understand the industry and they way the people you are calling upon do business.You need to understand the personas of the people you call on, their pain points.
  15. Social is a waste of time, but don’t forget that link to as many people as you can on social as it’s a great place to learn and connect to people.In fact, rather than cold call, why not connect and engage with people on social?
  16. Personalisation does not work, but you have to walk a mile in your customers shoes.You have to do your research about your persona so when you call, but you have to understand the pain in that industry.
  17. Nobody likes being cold called, but this cold caller is different.
  18. Referrals don’t work, but if you cannot get a next action then get a referral.
  19. At the end of webinar the two cold callers asked the audience to connect to them on LinkedIn.

Back to Monty Python I’m sure after this cold callers are a bit like Reg where he asks what has the Roman’s every done for us and he answers

All right, but apart from the sanitation, the medicine, education, wine, public order, irrigation, roads, a fresh water system, and public health, what have the Romans ever done for us?

or in the context of this blog

What has the social sellers ever done for us?

All right, but apart from the connecting on LinkedIn, personalisation, education, industry knowledge, being able to access people at scale, can get through to C-Level people without irritating them, get through to the CEO by connecting to his or her reports, referrals, and enabling us to be more efficient in our cold calling, what have the social sellers ever done for us?

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