Are you still using cold calling for sales? Do you have a strategy when approaching potential customers over the phone or is it mostly a shot in the dark? Are you aware that you can use social media for sales, which has advantages over cold calling?
In order to answer these questions, let’s take a look at how cold calling and social media can help you with three of the most important rules of selling.
People Like to Buy—But Don’t Like to Be Sold
People will reject you when you try to force them to buy anything but will buy a product if they think it was their decision.
When you make a sales call, the customer is aware that you will do anything in order to make a sale. It’s important to make them believe that you’re only an intermediary helping them make the right decision. But in order to do that, you will have to keep them on the phone and gain their trust—most of the time, you only have a couple of minutes to do this.
In social media, all the free tools people use (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc.) will give them the impression that they are in control and getting most of the influence from peers or influencers. In fact, free comes with the price of advertising, which has great impact on our buying decisions. If your sales initiative contains advertising, but also something related to sharing, collaboration, entertainment, etc., your prospects will be attracted by the social side of it, adopt it, and get to know more about you, which eventually makes the sale easier.
Appeal to Your Prospect’s Basic Emotions
People buy based on emotions. Without even being aware of it, we buy things (from computers and cell phones, to houses, cars, and even enterprise software) for emotional reasons.
In cold calling, it is really hard to determine which emotional reasons push your prospect to buy your products or services, so why not target your customers? Targeting is hard because even if you know basic information about your prospects, this isn’t enough to filter their needs out properly.
In social media, people tend to create groups based on their interests, which makes it easier for you to target the right types of prospects. There are also tools that can help you gather feedback from customers or prospects that are very active in the social media universe. All you need to do is find the prospects with the profile you need online (e.g. communities, review sites, portals, etc.) and promote your products there.
Help Your Customers Find A Rationale For the Emotional Decision
The sale does not end when a customer makes a decision, rather, when he or she finds rational reasons to support the emotional ones. People need some kind of information (e.g. technical, pricing, etc.) that makes the decision justifiable from a rational point of view.
In cold calling, all you can do is mention some of the advantages of the product you just sold and follow up with a brochure and letter that customers will probably ignore. If they don’t get understand the rationale behind their purchase, they will realize that the purchase was probably not a very good idea and they will be reluctant when doing business with you again.
In social media, you can easily insert links to Web sites containing pictures, technical specifications, user’s or expert’s reviews of the product. Furthermore, your customer can share the information about the new acquisition with friends and family. This will not only help your customers feel good about the product they just acquired but it also generates free advertising for your company.
Your Goal Is To Sell, But There Are Different Ways To Do It
No matter how you do it, your final goal is to make your prospects buy what you’re selling. Educating prospects, sharing knowledge, etc. is nice but it only helps you sell. The method of communication you use is extremely important and can make your sales initiatives successful or not. In a nutshell, you should adapt to the way your prospects want to communicate with you—not the other way around.
What do you think?
[…] well, many of our earlier posts deal with this topic. But recently I came across an article – “The impact of social media on cold calling”.It made my mind think and analyse about social media on a different level altogether.Since the […]
If the person you are calling does not know you, it is a cold call. The calls get warmer only if you give targets a reason they should talk with you (that’s why referalls are so popular, someone they know says they should.)
Using social media may improve the list you are calling and some insights into their life may give you a ‘warmer’ call - but, dude, it’s a cold call. And, there are vast number of products where social media is not really a cost effective way to find ‘warmer’ targets.
Social media is just the latest snort of hopium that sales folks want to believe will remove the need, or make it easier, to cold call.
Creating a relationship with the customer is the most important thing and this can be achieved through multiple channels including telephone, email and social networking. While the latter is very important I think there are a lot of people who believe it is too ‘bleeding edge’ for them.
I’ve been on the receiving end of a lot of cold calls lately and I think a lot of telemarketing agencies are really missing the point - and the perfect opportunity to create a relationship with a customer. I have been called with an offer that is supposedly ‘too good to refuse’. I’ve asked them to send me details by email but they insist that they can’t do that - I read that as code for “I won’t get my commission if you respond to an email”.
If you call a customer and they say no, you have lost them completely. If you call a customer, get permission to send them an email, and then engage with them through Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn you have the opportunity to build a relationship for life.
How to use social networking sites to sell a training course? Can you please explain the ways in which to do this?
Unfortunately cold calling will remain the only way to speak to a live person, regardless of its limitations. “It ain’t fun!” but it is really the only way. Fully 80% of the people I have tried to reach are not available through any of the media sites.
@Bob Probably one of the few things cold calling and social media have in common is that it’s really hard to determine ROI - but IMHO, the major difference is that cold calling is perceived as something abusive and social media as either useful or entertaining, which makes it easier for companies to target prospects using it
@Col You are right about the customer, but i was referring mostly to prospects or potential customers. You cannot really talk about relationships with prospects - the first step is to get their attention, make them buy and then you can start building the relationship.
@Gana It depends on what the course covers - try to find online communities that would be interested in your offering. You can also follow some of the experts in your field and interact with them - they usually have lots of followers or readers and some of them may be looking for what you’re selling.
@Mike Yes, the telephone is the only way to speak to a live person, but do we really need that in sales? Obviously, it depends on what you’re selling and who your prospects are. More and more people go online for shopping and they would rather use portals or social media for it, because they don’t need any contact with a live person.
With on-line research tools, there is no excuse to make a cold call. You should know enough about the prospect so that you have a point or two of meaningful conversation IMMEDIATELY after you actually get the prospect on the phone. Has the prospect recently acquired a new company–or been acquired? Built an addition onto their factory? Moved? Received an award or professional recognition? Achieved a milestone in a 5 or 10-year plan? Issued a FPO? Made a Top 100 list? You get the idea. Research adds to the prep time, but can pay real dividends. Probably 80-90% of the first calls will be referred to voicemail–so leave a professional message that can’t be denied. “I’d like to congratulate you on your recent plant expansion–and would appreciate the opportunity to ask you a few questions about your take on the long-range future of the widget manufacturing industry.”
[…] still pretty new to the world of social media but I have read a lot lately about the notion that social media is the new cold call. If you are properly focused on who your target customer is and are sharing ideas and information […]