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Is Cold Calling Dead? Selling via Social Media

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Is Cold Calling Dead? Selling via Social Media

Published: November 22, 2011 Updated: November 22, 2011

Let’s cut to the chase: Cold calling as it has been done over the last 20+ years is dead. But calling prospects and customers is still a valid way to move a sale forward. Experts can argue all they want over the semantics, but the phone and in-person conversations are what bring in revenue.

Social media helps move a call from cold to warm. It warms up a relationship or a gets a conversation started, but I have yet to have a business to business (B2B) sale happen solely via email or Twitter or Facebook or my website. People like to talk real-time to the people they do business with.  In some cases, if you sell software or consumer packaged goods, they will buy from your site directly no call needed. But many other items, services, products demand a little extra love…

This post is largely based on my own experience of thousands of outbound calls over many years, usually to leads that I’ve heavily and painstakingly researched before calling. I can honestly say that I’ve never considered a call a cold call because I’ve spent hours preparing before dialing. Now, the recipient of that call might have considered it cold. Many of them moved out of the fridge into the oven quite quickly.

So, if cold calling as we have known it is dead, how do you use social media to sell when it appears to be completely taboo?  Well, you follow the advice that the experts so willingly give out: You build a relationship.

The reality? It does not have to be a deep relationship. It simply has to be one based on trust and value. How do you do that?  I spend hours curating good content. I share links, PDFs, downloads, white papers, infographics and a host of other content with my fans, followers, readers, prospects, and customers. Most of those individuals are one in the same; it just depends on where we found one another.

I share a lot of information; some of it my own. Most of it from somewhere else. But here’s the most important thing I do on a daily basis: I listen. I monitor. I search for pain points in my streams. And if the timing is right, I’ll share a solution (sometimes it is my offer, most times it is not) to be helpful. Most of the time, the person will respond with a note of thanks (tweet, update, comment, etc.). Quite often, I have started a conversation because I was genuinely interested in what they were talking about. I’ve done this before I ever try to sell and indeed my entire sales method is less about selling and more about learning what they are doing and softly talking about what I’m doing. Almost always, I will suggest we talk by phone some time to see where we might be of use to one another. I could fill my day with calls like this, warm calls.

The reality is this: Every social media and sales expert I know says you have to listen, you have to monitor, and you have to participate and get involved, answer questions. Yada yada. The beautiful thing is that very few people do it and therein lays the opportunity for selling via social media. Have you listened to your fans, followers, and prospects today?

If you’ve listened well, then you’ve earned the right to pick up the phone and keep that conversation going. Once that conversation starts, there may be an opportunity to move it to the next stage, to nurture it as they say in marketing and sales. But all that really means is you have earned some respect, built some trust, and listened well enough that the person on the other end believes you care about their problem.  Is this as fast as dialing the phone like the old days? Not even close, but it is a lot easier and a lot more fun building a real conversation and a real relationship via social media and then taking it into real life via phone or in person. Sometimes you even make a sale.

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IMHO the only thing such calling does is irritating of people. Some of them might even remember your business with a negative taste and will avoid using your services in future.
For some reason conventional type of communication "cold calling" is not totally disarmed tactic, there are country's that still practice that strategy so still it exist. On the other hand, the modern way of advertising such services online is much effective since you can have your own niche where you can post updates with regards to latest services you've offered and millions of people might see your craft. Taking the advantage of technology is good, but still there are people who love conventional and simple way of transaction, so we must not forget those first exist. homes in the philippines
Traditional cold calling is dead but using social media is a smart way to go. Jeffrey Gitomer has said "social media is the new cold call" and I'd take it a step further and say that social media, and sites like LinkedIn, are the new business networking mixers and chamber events we all used to attend in the 90s and early 2000s. Smart use of social media can build your network to a degree where you can eliminate cold calling entirely and generate more than enough leads. 
Cold calling is not dead. I said that cause here in the Philippines we still manage to do phone calls to our prospected clients. and its still effective. Though I must agree that social marketing is very useful and effective too. especially to us wherein we sell real estate properties and though the use of social media we are able to share and give our clients an insight about the property we sell. Well, I must say that these tactics will be very effective especially if done properly. Thanks for sharing your thoughts to us. Apartments for rent in the Philippines
Social media has now been one of the ways to interact with potential client. You can even personalized your message to them to make it more appealing. But I would also say the cold calling can still be useful in some cases. I believe that in business we should always make use of every ways we can to reach our targeted clients. Outsource SEO Philippines
TJ, Though I agree that social media offers tremendous potential, I have to say that cold calling still works for many businesses today. Of course, I would strongly suggest that too many businesses misuse cold calling - they hire a salesperson and ask them to start 'smiling and dialing' the LA County phone book. Based on my own experiences, an outbound telemarketer (OBTM) earning $20 per hour and working 35 hours per week, has an annual cost to the company of about $36,000. The average OBTM will make 100 calls per day, producing 4 leads per day at a cost of about $40 per lead - which is a pretty good CPL. Now let's assume we're operating in a B2B setting and the average sale is $5,000. If the sales team is able to close 50% of those leads, that OBTM is helping the business generate $50,000 per week (4 leads per day x 5 days = 20 leads per week x 50% = 10 sales x $5,000). That translates to $2,500,000 in annual revenue for a $36,000 salary. Again, the key to success is that the 'cold calls' are being made off a fairly strong list. In the above example, selling technology products (hardware/software/services), our cold call list included specific individuals holding specific titles within specific types of companies. So it wasn't 'cold calling the LA County phone book'. Your points on social media are dead on - and I agree social media offers sales professionals an exciting opportunity to develop stronger relationships that can produce higher average order size and higher order frequency. Best, Pat

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