Why You Should Still Cold Call In 2020
Technology has consistently grown and improved over the past few decades. With each year, upgrades to both hardware and software seem to come faster and faster. It can be challenging to keep your business up to date with all the latest tech, but even harder to encourage your employees to adapt to the changes in communication.
Cold calling has long been a source of conversions, but more recently, “experts” have been quick to declare the technique useless — or “dead,” if you will. While it’s true that the circumstances surrounding sales calls have changed, their ability to bring in new clients has not. However, if you want to be successful, you have to modernize the outdated formula.
If you already ask yourself, “Should I invest in cold calling?” the answer is probably yes. Phone calls may seem old-fashioned, but with the right methods and tips, you’ll turn new leads into clients easily.
What Is Cold Calling?
Cold calling is a marketing technique where a sales team approaches prospects by way of phone calls. Sales reps are responsible for calling a certain number of people and speaking with them about how your company can help them succeed, offering either a product or service. The targeted individuals are people who have expressed no prior interest — hence the term “cold.”
The purpose of cold calling is to introduce your company to the potential client, inform them and ask if they want to learn more or set up a meeting. Many companies tend to focus too strongly on generating sales in a single phone conversation, but cold calls work far better with patience.
How Has Cold Calling Changed?
Believe it or not, the first documentation of cold calling practices comes from as early as 1859, printed in argument manuals for sales agents. Of course, the marketing technique didn’t use telephones at this time — instead, they used in-person canvassing. But the general point and nature of cold calling has barely changed in well over a century.
It still holds the same meaning, in that your sales professionals reach out to individuals who haven’t shown interest in your company. But it has evolved from face to face interactions to phone calls, and teams have gone from flipping through Yellowpages for leads to using services and sites. With the development of new tech and the rise of the 21st century, the classic methods have become outdated.
This is why cold calling is so often pronounced dead by business websites. But they only look at the original processes. Cold calling has to evolve with the fast-paced digital age, as all forms of communication do.
One of the biggest things to change is the intended result. In earlier practices, callers were gunning for a close every time. Now, the mindset of your sales team shouldn’t be sales — it should be searching for client candidates. They should aim more for scheduling a meeting or appointment than having the prospect commit on the spot.
It has also changed in that cold calling shouldn’t be reserved for the first interaction. The tactic works much more effectively when it’s “warmed” up — or, when it’s the second strategy of your sales process. Stepping up your game to make each interaction more personal is also necessary, as tech has led many companies away from personal engagement.
Businesses that have adopted new methods are the ones who still experience the continued success of cold calling in 2020. Rather than give up on a standard sales practice, you can choose to change with the times and generate new opportunities.
So, Is Cold Calling Dead?
Short answer? No. Cold calling is still alive and well. In fact, it holds a conversion rate of 6.3% — But old methods are fading out.
Since the start of the tech boom that caused telephone communications to decrease, companies either cut cold calls out of their sales process and proclaimed it useless or find new ways to keep calls relevant. The latter may take longer, but it will help you draw more conversions and clients.
If done correctly, cold calls will catch prospects at the best time to talk and maybe even serve as a nice break from a busy day. With research, a personable approach and an effective team, you’ll integrate cold calling with no problem.
The system is, by no means, broken. It just needs a little revision to correspond well with new technology and business standards.
Create Realistic Goals for Your Team
While cold calling was initially intended as a direct route to more sales, your focus should be elsewhere. Don’t expect every call — or any of them — to end in a close. If you want only to be pleasantly surprised, don’t consider them a part of sales at all.
Instead, focus on creating realistic goals for your representatives. Cold calls are an excellent way to schedule meetings and appointments, learn more about who might need your products or services, and gauge the interest of specific businesses or demographics. You should lean toward building relationships and setting up opportunities.
Adopting this long-term way of thinking will create a more positive experience for you, your team and the potential customers they contact. Patience and persistence are vital in seeing cold call success. Not only is it more polite to your prospects, but it’s known to work — 80% of sales happen after the fifth contact.
While you shouldn’t gun for immediate results, you should still have an ask. When your representatives finish a call, they should have a question or suggestion at the ready, depending on your company’s overall goals. Have them ask to set up a meeting or a second, more in-depth call to keep the prospect in contact.
Cold Call Methods That Work
Despite the claims that cold calling is a thing of the past, there are multiple ways to bring it into the present. The practice itself isn’t outdated, but the techniques you use might be.
If you want your company to benefit from cold calling, you should focus on using tactics that work with modern businesses and consumers, such as: