There once was a time when marketing meant flipping through the phone book to find prospective clients. The art of the cold call was highly valued in the business world, and sales and client leads depended on a company’s ability to sell to clients on the spot. Today, we live in a very different world. Spam comes in both digital and hard copy form. Salespeople or recruiters are hung up on or screened out. All-Star Personnel knows the cold call clearly isn’t the answer anymore.
Why Cold Calling Fails Now
Considering it was once such a standard marketing technique for many businesses, it might be surprising that the cold call is so ineffective now. But the fact is cold calls have a very low success rate. While traditionally they were always a bit of a shot in the dark (a 1 percent success rate was enough to keep callers motivated), today it is difficult for businesses to even get past the gatekeeper (in many cases, the receptionists or executive assistants) to pitch a product or service to a decision maker. This is in direct response to a desire to be uninterrupted by a near constant influx of cold calls and other sales communications.
Taking a Fresh Approach to the Cold Call
Executives and key decision makers have very little time to deal with sales calls that are irrelevant to them. In response to this, taking a targeted approach can make a big difference. Doing your research to make sure the people you are reaching out to are likely to be interested in what you have to say will go a long way to making those calls worth everyone’s valuable time. Research can take many forms. Word of mouth and networking can provide valuable leads. Social media and online engagement is another way to learn more about the companies or individuals you are targeting. The return on investment of that additional research is astronomical.
How to Be Strategic in Your Cold Calls
Honing in on your ideal clients is an important part of a comprehensive outreach plan. Other elements include creating a customer sales journey, providing them with some value, and engaging with them through a variety of touchpoints (including social media, email, digital or traditional media, etc.). The ultimate goal is to create an in-depth strategy around your outreach efforts before your first phone call. Don’t take the approach of the past which relied on throwing enough “darts” that the 1 percent success rate was enough to fuel your efforts.
Rather, look at who you are targeting, research their needs, and have a plan in place for each type of interaction or engagement you initiate. Keep track of the prospects you engage with and make the process one that is committed for the long term. Even if they don’t have a need for your services today, if you leave them with a good first impression, they will keep you in mind when the time comes.
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