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By Tim Hughes | @Timothy_Hughes

Cold calling has it’s highs and lows. Each salesperson has to face rejection it’s part of the job.

A friend of mine used to sell door to door and the company knew that for every 10 doors they knocked on, there would be 2 sales and 8 rejections. Even if you woke up one morning and made two sales straight away, you should expect 8 rejections.  “Man up” the red meat cold callers on LinkedIn would say!

It was never the rejection that bothered me, it was calling somebody and them saying “if only you had called … last week… two months etc”.  Now while we can “keep in touch” we all knew this was a lost sale.  A sales our competition had made.  This is where the real (unspoken) hurt is with cold calling.

Each time it happened I always wanted to find a way, I’m sure I couldn’t entirely eliminate it, but reduce it. This is an area not talked about much and I offer up 2 solutions.

2 Solutions For Reducing the “If Only You Called last Week” Lost Sale

The first method is to activate social media listening to hear when people are starting their search on-line.

Think about it, we all do it. We don’t ring up a company, ask for a brochure and wait for it to arrive three days later. We go on-line and search for stuff, so are your customers. Your customers are not on social? (I don’t believe you).  But even if we can win one deal (and not our competition) from this, it’s worth a shout? Yes?

First thing we need to do is think like our buyers. What is it they will search for? We then need to create content for them to find.  In my previous corporate selling roll the corporation was fixated with jargon.  We called things with 3 letter acronyms, like ERP.  This is fine if its a term our clients used, but if they purchased and searched for “accounting systems” me calling it ERP doesn’t;t help the clients find it..  A great example of putting yourself in your clients shoes. 

It’s pointless trying to pitch to them as nobody likes being sold to. We need to be subtler than that. As buyers whatever it is we are buying we want to be helped.

A friend of mine does baby massage (stick with me on this) so they have created content like “Top ten ways new parents can get a good nights sleep”. They often find people contacting them at 4:00 AM.  See what they did there?  They didn’t shout across the internet buy my stuff, they offered help and advice.  If you as a new parent and wanted to get some sleep, you would be attracted to the help, not the sales pitch.  Yes?

While Marketing can create such content, to make our numbers we shouldn’t wait for somebody else, we need to grasp control of it ourselves.  On our last social selling program we had 7 sales people, now of them who had written blogs before, write and publish blogs.  From glue to car interiors, they wrote engaging articles which if you are in the market for glue or a car interior, you would find them helpful and probably call them up.  Job done.

We then need to share this out on LinkedIn and Twitter so people find it.

Now I need to tell you that you cannot look like a spammer on LinkedIn, you need to have a half decent profile. Buyer centric we call it. What does this mean? If a buyer finds you then they shouldn’t be put off that you have an on-line CV, a la a 1990s LinkedIn profile, you look like a spammer or look like a manipulative salesperson who might rip them off.

This should help buyers find you and for you to get “inbound”.  Bingo!

The second thing you can do is get “intent data”. Realise this might sound new fangled, technical or down right geeky, but it is (a promise you) pretty each to set up.

We use Microsoft Dynamics, but you need to talk to your CRM provider. It is actually easy to set up in Dynamics, when we train people it takes about an hour.

An hour for free leads, (leads that are currently fly going to your competition?).  Come on, it’s simple.  Sorry, but you need to trust me again.

The common objection is that, I bet you cannot source a particular salesman, there has to be some search done by marketing at a corporate level! When in fact with Dynamics Intent data is collected at the salesperson level.

Sell into Life Science in the North East, no problem just set it up to listen for that. When it finds suggestion you can then accept or reject them and it drops right into the CRM. It then learns what is good (you accept) and what is bad (you reject).

So for an hours investment, while you are sitting in front of customers it’s listening for people talking about the business issues that your product can solve.

So two suggestions that should be able to reduce the “I actually purchased some of that two weeks ago” scenario.

Obviously by implementing such processes will make your sales team and their cold calling, more efficient and effective. Now that is something you should be able to get behind and the senior management to back?

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