How a Market Development Team Can Make Cold Calling Work
For most business owners, finding and securing new clients is a main priority. Although cold calling might be considered an outdated outreach method, it is still effective for bringing in potential customers, and can be used to drive business growth.
A market development team made up of professional, experienced individuals can effectively generate leads for your sales staff to close. Here's why (and how) cold calling can remain a viable business strategy.
Cold Calling Is Still Cool
Not everyone is a technology expert, and that applies to buyers and sellers. When you want to reach the average homeowner, it's not practical to assume they will read your emails, view digital pay-per-click ads or even visit your Facebook page. However, you can be certain that if they need a product or service you offer, they will be looking for a provider — and there's no reason why it shouldn't be you.
Cold calling individuals (either in-person or by phone) is an active way of reaching out to new clients. It provides the chance for your prospect to hear a human voice, which is increasingly rare these days. It also gives you an opportunity to customize your approach to better suit the prospect's requirements.
Cold calling is not a thing of the past. It remains a great way to reach future clients, even if they aren't on the buyer's journey yet. The earlier you link up with them in the process, the more you will enjoy benefits like being the first to provide an estimate and building a personal connection that leads to long-term contracts.
So-called "experts" often talk about digital marketing taking over the world, but statistics show that 92 percent of all customer interactions happen by phone. According to Gryphon Sales Intelligence, on average, a good market development team member dials eight times an hour and spends just over six hours prospecting to set up one appointment. Since 80 percent of calls go to voicemail and 90 percent of messages are never returned, giving up isn't a strategy for success. Sadly, that's what many people do after making just two attempts to reach the prospect. Figures show it takes up to 13 touches to generate a qualified lead, so it's no surprise many people think cold calling is dead.
How to Make Cold Calling Work
Making cold calling work takes more than a willingness to dial. Following these best practices can help you succeed:
- Research Your Audience. Find out who your audience is and create a visual picture of them. List their demographics, likes and dislikes, types of food they eat and places they go for entertainment. Track real estate sales to determine the cost of homes in the area you serve. This will provide insight into income levels. It's important that you avoid calling individuals who have signed up to the National Do Not Call Registry as well as any of the 12 state-specific Do Not Call Lists.
- Determine Your Goal. Very few cold calls aim to make a sale, and outreach professionals are hardly likely to get business from a single call. The purpose of the call, however, is completely different. Decide upfront what your goal is; perhaps your objective is to secure an appointment, get email opt-in or to provide an estimate. Once you're sure what this goal is, aim to achieve the goal — and nothing else.
- Prepare a Script. There's no such thing as being too prepared for cold calling, says Jessica Magoch, CEO of JPM Sales Partners. Magoch teaches people to sell "without being icky, sleazy or just plain annoying." She believes a strong sales script helps callers move quickly through necessary information while keeping the prospect's attention, and ensures the caller doesn't overlook anything important that can counter the deal.
- Follow Up. Avoid losing potential clients by following up. According to SalesRadar, a mind-blowing 80 percent of sales leads don't get followed up, with 44 percent of salespeople dropping prospects after just one "no." Considering that stats show the majority of customers say "no" for the first four times and then "yes" on the fifth, it's easy to see why giving up should not be an option.
Using a capable market development team (with expertise in cold calling) to generate leads can build up your sales revenue. If your company is too small to have such a team — and you're currently wearing the IT hat, the marketing hat and the operational hat simultaneously — it could be a steep learning curve, but the same principles can work.