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by Tim Hughes | @Timothy_Hughes

In every organisation, as leaders and as individuals we all should be looking for better and more efficient ways of working.  Often we find that technology helps, often we find that technology hinders.

When as a society we moved from horse and carts to cars, we found that we would travel further, the downside was that we needed better infrastructure.  The roads needed upgrading and the road side Inns suffered as people didn’t need to stop and rest horses.  You also may recall that vested interests in the past continuation of horses and held back the automobile development.  There was a requirement that somebody had to walk in front of cars with a red flag.

Where we have found that technology has created us more work, often we have seen that with CRM (Customer Relationship Management) systems, where we have needed to type in data often for not our benefit.  Or where social selling has been trained by people badly where it’s positioned as something extra to do on top of our already busy lives.

To The Case Study

There was a question left in a Facebook group where a person (let’s call them Pedro) who used the phone and emails to look for business and wasn’t getting very far. As with the “person walking in front of the car with a red flag” you will always find a vested interest that has a course they can sell you that can help with your open rate etc, but is this (to mix my metaphors) just shuffling deck chairs on the Titanic?  Putting vested interests in the past to one side, let’s look at the case study.

The Work Routine

Pedro’s work routine was as follows:-

  1. Create target lists – Pedro spent a whole day (Monday Morning and Friday Afternoon) creating target lists.
  2. Then Pedro calls the people (as he prefers to get them on the phone, rather than email), which makes sense. Then, on the basis they won’t answer his calls, he then emails them.

His Issue:

The conversion ratio for opening emails is 2%.  So it takes a day to create a list of 100 people, to get 2 people to open the email.  This does not at this stage mean that these people buy.  So it could be that the people, opened the email and deleted it.  How inefficient is that?

When he calls, he has difficulty getting through to people.  He asks how many times do you need to call somebody?  3 Times?  That is a lot of time spent, spinning wheels going nowhere.

Currently he can (even after all this preparation) make 50 calls a day.

What is the Problem With This?

One of the issues with all of this is that everything, calls, emails, inmails is a “cold call” you are an unknown person, probably pitching just like everybody else, by annoying somebody (by interruption) and our natural reaction from a cold outreach is always to say no.

Based on the figures above, this is actually if you can get through to people, which as the figures show is a miracle, the chance of converting somebody is the “immaculate conception”.

I get at three cold outreaches a day from people over LinkedIN and email and the approaches are all pretty much the same.  The layout are the same, people write all about the product, about how great they are, etc.  What amazes me is that the sales people think they are being original.

So How can we Be More Efficient ?

  1. By creating a personal brand. This will set us apart from our competition.Don’t forget your competition isn’t the usual companies you say you compete with, but every salesperson out there. You are competing for my time.  My time to read your and not everybody else’s email.  Why do you need a personal brand?  Every call you make, every email you send, every inmail you send, people will check you out and jump to a conclusion.  If you look like a spammer or it looks like you will pitch me something, I will ignore you. The great thing about technology today, either social networks or mobile phones, the technology exists to ignore, stop and block people.  You are just one click away from being blocked and deleted.
  2. Post content everyday – People want to talk with experts, if you post content everyday, as well has having a personal brand you might find (yikes) people might seek you out. With every piece of inbound, that’s one less qualified lead you need to create.
  3. Focus – One of the major inefficiencies of cold calling and cold outreach is the need to throw so much mud at the wall. Pedro above, had to call 50 people everyday, hoping that one would be the right person.  Sales Navigator will enable you to find the 50 right people.  If Pedro can make 50 calls a day, all to the right people (rather than to the wrong people), just think about how much more efficient he will be and the additional revenue he can close?
  4. The major issue with cold outreach is that…it’s cold.  If you have a strong network you don’t have to make cold outreach.  You get referrals.  We organised a dinner in London with 25 CMOs, we made no cold calls, sent no emails and sent no inmails.  With the elements above, you can get your network to refer for you.  Research shows that a referral has a 70% likelihood of closing.  Again, by using a network, he will increase the rate of leads and meetings and increase his close rate.
  5. You can use technology such as “intent data” to help you find people looking for your products and services. This isn’t any major effort, you set it up (an hour) and then leave it running while you are out in front of customers.  Obviously you cannot be cold calling AND be in front of clients.

As you can see, there is no argument about cold calling vs social selling, cold calling is inefficient and ineffective.  I do realise, like the people who wanted the person with the reg flag to walk in front of the car there are vested interests not to change.  As Alex Low says “if you are still arguing about cold outreach it shows how far behind you have fallen!”

There are also people that have always done things the same way, like Pedro.  If you know a Pedro or understand these problems yourself and want to be more efficient then my book “Social Selling – Influencing Buyers and Changemakers” on Amazon is a good place to start.

Why is this book different?  There are lots of Social Selling books that are a “why”, they tell you, why you need to do this and why you need to do that.  You get to to the and and you are screaming “OK, I understand, why, but tell me how!” — My book is a how, it’s designed as a workbook to get you to work through the things you need to do in a practical format.  At the time of writing it had 38 x 5 star reviews, more than all of the other social selling books put together.

Maybe, just maybe it’s time to invest in yourself, and break away from the inefficiencies of the past.  I’m not talking “transformation” maybe a step change.

People who read this also read these:

Relationship Selling in 2018 – It’s New and Improved!

How Companies Have a Crisis of Plenty When They Roll out Social Selling

How to Roll Social Selling Across an Organisation – How to make it Stick!

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