Is Cold Calling A Successful Marketing Strategy In Present Times?
Cold calling refers to the solicitation of a possible customer who has not had prior interaction with a salesperson. It is a form of telemarketing and is amongst the most common and oldest forms of selling and marketing. However, warm calling refers to the solicitation of a customer who has previously expressed an interest in the product or company.
Cold calling is a method in which a salesperson approaches individuals who have not previously expressed interest in the offered services or products. It typically refers to solicitation by telemarketing or phone but can involve in-person visits by a salesperson, including door-to-door sales.
Successful cold-call salespeople should be persistent as well as willing to endure repeated rejection. Salespeople should sufficiently prepare by examining the demographics of their prospects as well as the market. Professions that depend heavily on cold calling generally have a high attrition rate.
If you are looking to benefit from cold calling, here, we list several tips, advantages, and drawbacks of the selling technique.
Tips for Successful Cold Calling
- Focus on The Goal
You must remember that calling is not only about making a sale. It is about creating an opportunity to make a sale. The purpose of such a call is to schedule an appointment at which you can present your sales pitch.
- Research Your Prospects and Market Beforehand
You need to make calls to the right audience. Additionally, you should use market research to aim for your target market. By this we mean that you should know as much as possible about the individual or company you are going to contact in advance. This way, you will have a massive advantage in terms of talking about their needs or their business’ needs when you call them.
- Use Social Media to Improve Your Chances of Connecting
The person is more likely to talk to you on a cold call if you share the same social media circle. Having a connection through a common social media group might increase a potential customer’s receptiveness when you reach out and call them.
- Prepare an Opening Line for the Call
If you prepare an opening line before calling, you can avoid mistakes right from the beginning, which might prompt the person you are calling to terminate the conversation. For example, you should not ask the customer if it is the right time to talk. You can, instead, use an opening line as a framework to ‘float the conversation into a running river’. You can include a greeting, an introduction, a reference point about the prospect, positive points about your service or product, and a transition to dialogue or question to make a good initial statement that leads to a conversation.
- Develop a Script for The Rest of the Call
You must praise your product or service to convince the prospect to invest in it. You should also be prepared with answers to any possible objections. We are not suggesting that you should write a script, but it is beneficial to prepare a framework in advance to be fully prepared for various responses. The customer might ask you about your service or product details. Therefore, you must be able to provide details if asked.
- Ask for an Appointment at a Particular Time During the Call
If you are planning to meet your prospect, specify a time and date rather than asking them about their free time. It is helpful to get your potential customer to commit to a meeting during the first call instead of ending it with vague answers.
- Gatekeepers Are Your Friends, Not Enemies
Everyone loves people who are nice to them. So, whether it is a child or a staff member who picks up the call, be polite. They might divulge significant details about prospective customers, such as their names, the best time to talk to them, their profession, etc.
- Send the Prospects a Small Promotional Item
You can send a free sample to your prospects before calling them. This way, when you call them, they will be more willing to talk to you. Yes, it seems like more work, but it is worth it.
- Time Your Cold Call Well
You can consider calling a prospect early in the morning or during the late afternoon. The prospect is more likely to be free and willing to talk before and after working hours. They are also more likely to make decisions when they are not busy with other things.
- Be Persistent
As per research, 80% of sales take place after the fifth contact. However, most salespeople give up after the second call. It might be humiliating and mundane to call the same prospect repeatedly, but you have to be persistent to make a successful sale.
- Embrace Rejection
Rejection is an important part of all sales activity. Instead of being sad about rejection, you can ask the prospect the reason for rejection. You can also practice by calling your colleagues and asking them to reply to you in the rudest way possible.
Advantages of Cold Calling
- Freedom of Hunting Alone
We are not referring to the hunting of customers but hunting for the customers. As a salesperson, incorporating this method can be a good way to step into the world of selling, as one does not require any prior assistance or support from an expert. However, you might want to take advice from an experienced person.
- All Time Marketing Means More Opportunity
If you practise cold calling, you can find opportunities to market throughout the day. Also, if you perform method of sales for a long time, you will not only escalate the chance of contacting potential clients, but also hone your skills as a persuader and leader.
- Go Economical and Hassle Free
To conduct a cold call, all you need is a notepad, a pencil, and the contact numbers for several potential clients. This method of marketing does not require any expensive equipment. Yes, there is some cost attached with calling but it is way less than the cost involved in any other form of marketing.
- Little Support Structure
Various selling and marketing strategies rely on a network of connections. You might use a referral code to persuade a potential buyer but the beauty of making cold calls is the fact that you do not require a team for it to be effective and successful.
- The Quickest method
If you cold call correctly, you can seal a deal almost immediately. This might be surprising for a new salesperson, but if you successfully call a real prospective candidate who is interested in your service or product, it is possible. If you do not want to invest a lot and want quick results, cold calling should be your choice.
- Forming and Strengthening a New Business Connection
The method is not only the best way to make a new connection but it is also a good way to strengthen it if used with other marketing and selling methods. You can expand your business across boundaries as you make national, international, and local calls at an almost negligible cost.
- You Will Receive Instant Feedback
If you are still developing your product or modifying it to make it better, calling your customers can be very helpful. Despite the distance between you, it is a positive way to receive feedback about your service or product. This way, you can work on optimising the product for a better experience.
Disadvantages of Cold Calling
- It is Irritating
With multiple promotion calls from several organisations trying to prompt customers, many have stopped answering such calls completely. According to some experts, this method has become obsolete, as customers are no longer picking up promotional calls.
- Loss of Time
Gaining customers via cold calling can be very slow. The products or services that you are promoting might not even be of interest to most people. A salesperson should expect to hear ‘no’ frequently, along with abusive language and other negative behaviours.
- Not a Sustainable Method
You will have to work tirelessly to achieve a successful deal through cold calling. You will have to make numerous calls without any guarantee that they prospects will respond in a positive manner during the conversation. You might be disappointed if you do not persuade customers; this can lower your self-esteem significantly.
- Advancement in Technology
With advancement in technology, several new forms of communication have developed, which are comparatively more effective and superior to cold calling. These methods are not only reliable but are better for contacting prospects compared to a cold call. As people adopt newer technologies, marketing teams are also shifting to the latest methods to reach their audience in a much better way instead of using the obsolete method of making cold calls. Obsolete cold calling involved making calls to random people but with the help of technology, we can target the audience based on their interests on social media and attempt cold calling only those who are actually interested in our products/services. This will lead to brighter chances of conversions.
- Booming of Spammers
Cold calls are also being used by a number of spammers with the intention of committing fraud. This is another reason why people completely ignore marketing calls. Because of rising crime and privacy concerns, many people have stopped answering calls from unknown numbers.
- Uncomfortable Experience for the Salesperson and the Customer
Cold calls can catch a prospect off guard, making it uncomfortable for them to connect with the salesperson. This makes it difficult for marketers to convince prospects and they may not achieve a promising result from the conversation.
Similarly, talking to an unknown person can be a scary experience, including marketing executives. The salesperson needs to be well-informed and confident about talking to prospects. However, not every salesperson is sufficiently prepared to confront strangers. Marketers may not be able to bear the humiliation of not bringing customers, which could damage their self-esteem.
Cold calling is a sales activity during which marketing executives reach out to prospective customers who have not previously expressed an interest in a company’s service or product. It can be both beneficial and harmful to a business.
Personal interaction with a prospect can reveal why they like or dislike your product or service; it can also increase sales. However, the level of the technique’s success is unknown and unpredictable.
If you research your market and the prospect and can persuade them to invest in your offered service or product, this method can be highly lucrative as it does not involve significant costs.