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by Tim Hughes | @Timothy_Hughes | LinkedIn

First and foremost here at Digital Leadership Associates social-experts.net we don’t say that Cold Calling is dead, far from it, we know a number of companies that still cold call. The difference being that Cold Calling and Social Selling has flipped. Where as, three years ago people cold called and did social selling as a pilot or side project, now Social Selling is the main way to prospect and cold calling has become become a side project or in so many cases has fallen by the wayside.

Prospecting is Alive and Well

It’s worth noting that prospecting through social and other technology methods on social which we don’t talk about in this blog is live and well. All salespeople need to prospect and all companies need a prospecting culture. The difference now is how that is executed. This is not a revolution, it’s an evolution. Sales evolves and people and sales trainers have to evolve with it. Here at social-experts.net we have taken on the prospecting baton. 

I recently read a message on social (yes, ironic I know) that people like me are charlatans for saying that cold calling ain’t no good. Well I don’t, but it’s time for some sad sales truths.

Cold Calling – Say Goodbye to an old Friend

Cold calling is used but it’s for selling transactional products, low cost, low down in an organisation where there is no or little sign off. For example, a pair of tickets to see the Rugby at Twickenham in a hospitality suite, that would retail for £1,600 ($2,080). Person calls me, it can be signed off low within an organisation or on a credit card.

As for selling big ticket deals, cold calling fell by the wayside a long time ago. As a sales guy from SAP said to me recently, “if I called up the CFO of GE and asked to be put through, the switch board would die laughing”.

There are also a number of other reasons why cold calling no longer hits the spot.

  1. You are telling the world you have run out of ideas.

We all know why you cold call. I know why you cold call, you know why you cold call and your prospect know why you cold call. Because you have no leads and meetings. We all know this, so do you clients, it’s like hanging a massive sign outside your company “We have totally no idea how to sell and marketing today and are so desperate we have to cold call”. Yes, it does amaze me companies really want to tell the world this.

We met with a Sales Leader who sells a state of the art piece of tech and we said “are you really selling state of the art tech with yesterdays methods?” He got what we meant.

2. Legislation Now Stops You

While GDPR does not stop you cold calling, I can ask for my right to remain forgotten. So while in the old days you could call me and call me and call me, now you cannot. GDPR has flipped sales from a push model to a pull model.

3. Technology

Anybody who cold calls me gets blocked, it’s standard functionality on my iPhone.

4. Cold Calling Just Isn’t Efficient and Effective as say Social Selling

We have written here before about the fact that social selling is more effective and efficient. Put simply, we did a direct comparison and found out that with cold calling you need to call at least 100 numbers to speak to 10 people and with social selling you could find those 10 people straight away, saving you the time of those 90 calls.

5. What about a Combination of Social Selling and Cold Calling?

See answer to 4. above, why would you waste your time using methods that are inefficient and less effective. All of our clients drop cold calling and move totally to social.

6. You Can get higher, faster with social 

Another great thing about social is the fact you can get higher, faster. On social media there are no gatekeepers, so you can get as high as you want. Of course, it won’t work if you look like a spammer, but, that’s a different blog for a different day.

7. No I Won’t Return You Voice Mail.

I think this one is self explanatory, nobody cares about your company or your products and we won’t return you voice mail. Its calling people up and leaving voice mails the dumbest thing in the world. Yes!

8. We’ve Had Enough of all Types of Interruption Marketing

As buyers we are fed-up with all types of interrupt marketing, advertising, unsolicited emails, cold calling, thankfully there is legislation and technology that allows us to filter it out as noise. Nobody gets up in the morning and says “the first thing I need to do today is talk to a manipulative salesperson” which is why cold calling has no place in a companies marketing mix.

9. The Cold Calling Fixed Mindset

In her book “Mindset – Changing the way you think to fulfil your potential” Dr. Carol S. Dweck talks about the two different mindsets. A fixed mindset, which does what its says on the tin, which is fixed in format. Or Growth mindset, which is where people will try something new.

10. The Cold Calling Vested Interest.

We see so many “cold calling gurus” who go on about cold calling, not that is is actually good for their clients but actually because the “Gurus” have no where to go. I was trained on a sales methodology 30 years ago and it’s still for sale today. Can you imagine a pre-internet, pre-social media, pre-mobile sales methodology still relevant today? No, nether can I. But’s it’s still sold and promoted as it was shinny new. Why? Because they have nothing else to sell.

11. There is No Prime Selling Time with Social

When I first started cold calling, I was told to call at 08:00 AM, because the decision maker was in and his or her gatekeeper wasn’t at work yet. With social selling you can “call” at anytime day or night. You can get straight through to the decision maker and there is no gatekeeper. One of our clients said to me “I do all my prospecting at night”.

12 My Clients are not on Social

Now while I can prove to you they are, let’s put this to one side for a second. In most business the C-Level are not doing the searching for new products and services to if somebody from the C-Suite is not there it’s irrelevant as they will get somebody to do the searching for them. Using the Google research I use in my book “Social Selling – Influencing Buyers and Changemakers”, the person doing the searching is between the age of 28 and 35. Why because they understand social and have business acumen.

13. If You are Not Visible You Won’t Get Inbound

It’s a simple as that, if you are not visible on social, you don’t come across as an expert you will be missing out on inbound. Hiding behind a phone all day, means you are losing out on a lot of business. What do we mean? If you think about the 4 outcomes from a cold call:-

  1. Piss off
  2. You should have called me 3 months ago
  3. Call me in 3 months
  4. You have called me on just the right day

As in B. by hiding behind a phone, you will have missed out on those deals where a person has already purchased your product or service from a competitor.

14. Speed Your Pipeline

Social and content enable you to accelerate your pipeline. So where as, somebody may have said, call me in 3 months, you can pull this business forward through careful nurture and “dog whistle” content.

14. Change Makers

The Internet, social and mobile has changed the way people buy. There is now a person called the change maker, I talk about it in my book “Social Selling – Influencing Buyers and Changemakers”. While in the past we built rapport with a person and played to their personal win. The Change maker will support your product or service, not for their personal win but because they want to do something for the good of the company and will burn political capital to do this. This is a fundamentally different person to the buyer of the past.

Here are 14 ways that shows that cold calling, in fact any outbound, interrupt and broadcast message has no relevance in the world of sales and marketing. Sales is forever changing and the internet, social media and mobile has changed sales for good. There is no going back, it’s been changed forever. And “Charlatans” like me are helping companies break from the past and move into the present.

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