Cold calling is often cited as one of the least-favorite activities salespeople take part in. Even seasoned members of the sales team can feel a touch of anxiety and uncertainty when faced with a prospect’s name, contact info, and not much else. It is a time-proven method of drumming up business, however, and remains a staple for many sales teams.
The key to successful cold calling is to warm up your conversations with relevance and context, but how? Salespeople need to adopt a different approach to making the first move with a new, unfamiliar customer – one that provides better insights into potential customers. Cold calling success requires that both sales leaders and sales reps overcome five major obstacles.
Challenge: Not knowing how you’re connected with prospects, decreasing their trust.
Solution: Professional social networking sites such as LinkedIn allow you to see the business contacts you have in common with prospects, making you less of a stranger. This can help potential customers be more open to you and your services. With any luck, you’ll be able to identify former or current clients of yours who are also connected to your prospect, and are willing to put in a good word for you.
Challenge: You can’t get a comprehensive view of your prospect’s mindset.
Solution: Social Selling allows you to see 360-degree information about prospects before you ever call them. Learn professional insights from their LinkedIn profile, and identify specific needs from Twitter posts. After perusing the public information available on a potential customer’s social media profiles, you can merge the information you find into a unified concept of the prospect’s wants and needs. This puts the product or service you’re selling into the proper context for the prospect, creating the kind of relevance that allows you to increase sales opportunities up to 20 percent and close deals faster.
Challenge: Limited ability to control access to contact data across departments, teams, and individuals.
Solution: Social Selling can eliminate the lost time incurred when members of the sales team need to share information about prospects or collaborate on a project. With so much data available on the web, there’s less need to wait for another team member to get back to you with customer info. You can find a lot of information by simply searching through their social media profiles and getting a good feel for the prospect.
Challenge: You don’t know why the prospect needs you.
Solution: Of course your prospects could benefit from the product or service you’re selling, but if you can’t explain to them exactly why, you could lose the sale. Social Selling allows you to more fully understand how your solutions fit into a potential customer’s life. Once you have a firm grasp of the specific benefits you can offer prospects, you can better explain them to your prospects.
Challenge: Knowing too much.
Solution: People can share a lot of personal information online. However, no matter how open they are, using too much of that info during the initial contact can come off wrong, and prospects may feel like their privacy has been violated. Instead of bringing up specifics, use the insights you gain to customize your message so the prospect feels like your solutions suit their circumstances.
The cure for the common cold
Social Selling is the cure for the common cold call. Businesses have access to an unprecedented volume of sales data through social media. From general public opinions and trends to conversations about specific companies and products, companies can gain valuable insight into potential customers from the millions of tweets, status updates, and “likes” produced every day. If you can harness this information and apply it effectively, you can both shorten and sharpen the your buyer’s journey, even before first contact.