Is cold calling becoming obsolete? Do only old-fashioned business people do cold calling? Is cold calling actually effective at increasing business? Many people feel that they have to do cold calling to succeed in business. Social media has changed everything.
What is the definition of cold calling? Cold calling is part of the sales process whereby a sales person gets in touch with prospective customers or clients who were not expecting the call. The word “cold” is used because this interaction is unsolicited. The main point behind the phrase “cold calling” is that it is an attempt to reach someone who doesn’t know you, hasn’t been introduced to you and wasn’t expecting your call. The term “cold” by itself doesn’t necessarily mean “without any knowledge”. With all of the information available via the web, sales people would be remiss if they didn’t learn something about a prospect before they called them. But no matter how much information a sales person learns, if the person doesn’t know the caller, the call is still considered a “cold call.”
The cold calling process has been refined to enable a sales person to hone in on their prospect target market in order to develop a database of prospective customers based on a variety of target criteria, such as company size, type and location. By using sites such as Jigsaw, SaleSpider, Hoovers and LinkedIn, companies are better able to increase the chances of successful cold calls by identifying those prospects who are most interested in what they are selling.
Rather than cold calling becoming obsolete, it is being redefined and enhanced by the proliferation of modern technology and social media.
Cold calling in the traditional sense of the word is becoming more difficult as attempts to reach someone by phone or email are becoming more challenging due to federally maintained do-not-call lists and other obstacles. However, on the positive side, this same use of technology and social media is transforming the entire sales process including cold calling. Sales people no longer have to blindly make calls to their prospects in the hopes of reaching someone and making a connection. Rather, they can learn important information prior to making that first call or sending that first email. The Internet makes it easier to qualify leads and learn more about their needs, history, reputation and any other information that will enable the sales person to make a better connection and start off this relationship-building process from an informed perspective. Modern technology enables sales people to better attract, interact, track and manage their prospects via the Internet.
Traditional cold calling is becoming warmer because of the proliferation of modern technology and the increasing usage of social media. In addition to better qualifying leads, companies are able to use search strategies to drive traffic to their websites, make it easy for visitors to request information about the company and hand off what is now “warm” prospect contact information to their sales people, thereby reducing the need for endless cold calls that lead to dead ends. The volume of cold calls is, therefore, reduced and techniques such as attraction marketing are becoming more prevalent. Attraction marketing is specifically designed to teach prospects about what your company does and how it will benefit them and/or fulfill their needs.
Company websites that have live chat functions serve as another method of qualifying leads and turning cold prospects into warm or hot prospects. Visitors to your website have an interest in what your company offers and live chats create an instant opportunity for sales people to connect with potential customers/ clients.
The sales process of today is one that is enhancing and transforming cold calling by giving sales teams both the tools and the insight to reach out to the right people, at the right time, with the right message. Cold calling still exists; it has simply become more effective as a result of the ease of information gathering via the World Wide Web.
About the Author.
Julie Weishaar has 10+ years of experience in strategic marketing initiatives, marketing communications, event planning, marketing management, business development, customer service, vendor and public relations, managing promotional campaigns, branding and, more recently, in Internet marketing programs including natural search optimization, link building, blogging, business analytics, social networking, and article marketing.To learn more about Julie's expertise, please visit her website at newhorizons123.com.