Is cold calling too old school or is it still appropriate in today's marketplace?
I've been in the insurance business for 27 years and it keeps changing. I do direct mailings for outreach on behalf of my company but, I am also open to new ideas. What are your thoughts?
Cold calling, like others out there, one of the tools/ an option for you to reach people out there who might be interested in your service. Cold calling is no better or worse than any of those strategies out there what matters is how good are you at it. "How good you get at it" is merely a matter of practice and analysis of failure and success in every call.
Cold calling takes a lot of patience.
About the new ideas:
Use media platforms, social media platforms to create some engaging stories (contents), if you have a good budget buy an insurance website that seems to be getting good traffic and inquiries, hire SEO and there are so many.
Although it may seem old school to some, it is imperative to do cold calls in certain businesses. Some businesses large and small are still not completely up to date technologically.
You cold miss out on some important clients.
Best of success! Gil
It's not a matter of it's old school. The question is "What is wrong with your sales funnel that you HAVE to cold call?" What I mean by this is that a cold call, by definition, is a series of calls to cold leads. Total strangers who have given you no inclination that they are interested in buying. If your sales funnel is being effective, then you should have a stream of warm leads to follow up with you. Or better yet, when your sales funnel is really humming, these warm leads will be calling you.
So if you are at a point where cold calling is not only a viable form of marketing, but your most hopeful avenue to pursue, you need to take a long look at what is going wrong with your sales funnel...and how to correct it.
I work with people like this everyday. The key to getting consistent easy sales is developing a methodology that attracts so many interested buyers that you never have to resort to cold calling strangers.
Richard Stern-Suggest make a Plan target potential clients.
Call and find out who the decisionmaker is for your service.
Look them up on Linked In and sen intro letter and Link to your Web Sie.
Follow up with a call to request an appointment.
Also attend as many Network groups and make a presentation.
There's cold calling and there's Cold Calling. The former (fast talking one-way pitches) doesn't work...but the latter (calls made after a little research and with the intent of introducing yourself and establishing the basis of a relationship) do. I've received hundreds of cold calls over many years in senior corporate jobs and I've always welcomed personable calls by other professionals who are seeking to introduce themselves.
Depending on the industry you are in, cold calling works every day but it shouldn't be the only way you get new prospects/clients. Cold calling has changed from the past where you could call anyone or any business. Now you have automated systems with no operator, or the operator does not know the titles or the company has a policy not to (disclose titles or names), (connect if you don't know a name),
You should know before you call what the company does so you can mention your clients in their industry for instant creditability, the name of the contact and their title.
Remember you are calling to help them with their goal or problem, them not sell them.
Scripts (if you must use one) are much less effective if they are not in your language / way of speaking.
Alot of times at least in my experience, just to be nice to you they will speak with you or take your card, which does not mean they will contact you. I find investing in regular digital ads can yield more focused customer base.
Yes, absolutely essential. I would say this is the most important aspect to generate lead even in today's market place.
I have learnt from my experience that in any industry with any type of product range one has to rely on cord calling and it is the best remedy to generate leads. I know it is not easy in certain geographic locations or countries. However, it is the most guaranteed result generator. Mailing is again not a suitable option for certain range of products as when you are in service industry there is no impulse purchase situation. With commodity it may work. For consumer products already many companies follow mailers, so people are frustrated with junk mail.
Attend more symposiums to target mass consumers for their contact details through a lucky price draw contest to get their vising cards.
Trade shows should be targeted based on type of product and type of industry to market your product range.
There are many marketing ideas that will follow once you start cold calling at very primitive level.
I hope this will help you to market your company.
I once produced a video interview featuring one of the world's top (at that time) insurance sales people giving advice on his methods. When asked that question in the interview he said . . .
"Even with my success today, I will still only convert one out of ten cold calls into sales. But I will convert nine out of ten cold calls (90%) into sales when I get the cold call prospect through personal networking."
When pressed a bit further to explain how, he said,"When a cold call (let's call him John) is not in the market for insurance I ask 'Well, then do you know someone who might be interested?' Then I go to that [new] person and tell them that I got their name from 'John,' An instant connection results and I repeat the process down the line. I used this method a lot, especially in my early days in sales."
I hope this helps you. I know it has helped me in my field (advertising sales and production.)
Great question Deborah! "Cold Calling" can still work but, there are so many options now to "warm up" the call before the actual call that it makes sense to plan to include social media and email marketing in your approach to new prospects.
Here's a short video that shows how to warm up leads with email before your call - http://www.salesnexus.com/blog/sales-ready-starter-kit-video-series?utm_source=Email
I believe profitable relationships requires sustained effort, over a relatively long period of time. Key words are relevance and consistency. Companies don’t buy; people do. The goal of well-developed client management plan, therefore, is to evolve relationships between people,
to identify, initiate and nurture productive selling situations.
Buyers in an executive position choose the sales person who has not only been a resource but has also developed a relationship with them, regardless of their timing to buy. Sales people who meet these criteria become known as trusted advisors, and trusted advisors get the sale. Directly answering the question, I think cold calling can be a very valuable resource, (i.e. as an opt-in opportunity), like "can we send you some relevant materials regarding XXXX ove the next few weeks?". And then start nurturing and following up until a more commercial opportunity arises. Most likely you will get quality from quantity, but it's still worth the shot :)
If you are not cold calling at all you are missing a very large boat. The simple fact is you may know 10 people well and if you get the average of 3 referrals from them, your still only 30 people deep.
As I have been cold calling a large portion of my career in what I have been doing, It isn't if it is old school or new school but how you approach it. I would agree with the fact that your market plan and strategy has a lot to do with it. However I also feel that Dawn Dalyce did an excellent job in answering it.
This much like social media, e-mail, and dropping mail is a tactic and to date when done effectively will be the superior of all of them. Working for a business model that was at 4.5 million in generating revenues to eclipsing that with the introduction of cold calling reps shows the value. You WILL get better results than you will with Social Media.
"You can't socialize with someone you don't know yet." The key from this point is once you know them, referrals and tapping their network is what will bring the great rewards.
This is a good question! I got started in the life insurance business by cold calling - reason, I had just moved 90 miles away from my old acquaintances and I had a mortgage, wife and family to support. So I knocked on doors, and combined that with cold calling by telephone. That was in 1980, and I left the insurance industry in 2004. Cold calling is looked down upon, not least by government and the EU, but that one attitude is coloured by many different experiences, for example the fleecing of unsuspecting elderly to have their drives tarmacked, their roofs replaced and so on. It would be wonderful if there were time in the day to socialise with sufficient people to make a decent living; even better if people actually volunteered in sufficient numbers to buy life insurance, but that has never and will never happen. Yes, there are nicer, more comfortable ways to acquire clients, but they take time and a lot of investment in mailshots and advertising. In the UK the Retail Distribution Review has effectively priced pension and investment advice out of the reach of the average man or woman, leaving only life insurance as commission-remunerated. As there is still a massive under-insured problem, if people won't beat a path to your door you have to beat a path to theirs. Is a follow-up phone call to a letter a cold call? Arguably not. But on average it used to take 2 presentations to make a sale, 2 fact finds to produce a presentation, 5 appointments to achieve two fact finds and 30 calls to make an appointment. That is 150 calls to make a sale, possibly 150 letters first. Against the ratios for referrals (4 referrals to get a sale, but I'm not talking about a referral to someone who has already decided to buy) cold calling looks very inefficient. The strategy should be to use whatever means there are to build a client bank quickly, including cold calling and anything else you can think of, but then to leverage the contacts made by cold calling to provide good quality referrals. I worked a three-appointment system that guaranteed a steady supply of referrals. Confucius said 'Man sit for long time with mouth open before roast duck fly in'.
Is as good or bad as day one. Needs to be done properly in a decent timing and knowing you will get negatives, but if you get say 1 in 5 I think it is worth the work.
There is so much evidence to support the forever end to cold calling! The rise of social media and targeted selling, as well as the much more easily educated buyer, renders these types of interactions moot in my opinion. Most any person or organization looking to make a purchase is already half qualified as a buying prospect by the research they have done on the Internet. So instead of wasting lifetimes of hours being hung up on or politely discarded, hoping for that one in 1000 person who needs what you have AT THAT MOMENT, invest your time and efforts into better and more wide-ranging marketing. But don't forget the analytics! You MUST evaluate your marketing scheme and adjust to make it more effective.
I thought the people of IT industry are naturally skeptical due to their logical and rational thinking of possibilities of the future, what might it be? But nowadays in a very high tech mobile driven technologies that is going very viral, people of all industry and even those of blue colar people have also become skeptical to confiding in or communicating with people of unknown source. In other words, cold calling is very old school, when many are there organizations who promotes, markets, close selling via online websites, where even transactions are done in quick seconds, people are more prone to seeing and probably not testing, but visualizing the context of the product or services which was already advertised with shown pictures, demonstration movies, presentations, easy buy carts and payment modes. When www has come this far to effecting business in very fast paced environment, which I call it the technology has done so to the business environment which also effected other aspects people's life, mindset, lifestyle and together with nations socio-economy where the market trend has changed many folds if it were to look from far back! The trend nowadays, people love looking at their gadget and have that happy smile rather than looking at the person sitting next to you to say hello! So absolutely, cold calling is just simply old school!
Look for your audience. Where will you find prospects? Then go and get them. Cold calling is a numbers game. Nothing ventured, nothing gained.
I think you raise an important issue here.
I work in the Credit Management sector, and certainly with the advent of the internet, and more to the point the mobility of people, actually getting to speak to a decion maker first time is becomming increasingly difficult. Also telephone calls are getting easier to avoid.
The other issue in Credit Management, canvassing for work as a contract Credit Controller, (which I am) by telephone is usually met with a blunt NO ! Mainly because people do not like to admit they have a Credit Management problem, and see it as an affront that you dare suggest that they have a problem.
Even e-mail can be quickly deleted without opening if the person feels that the mail is unsafe or the header not clear what the originator is offering.
Really it seems that the only way to attract would be clients attention is to have a web-site which is easily accessible using as many words used in your scope of operation (in my case: Credit, Debit, Collections etc) as you can, as I have found that a lot of search engines do not pick up definitions very easily, more to the point the person making the search in puts the wrong "trigger word" and therefore you get missed.
Still it comes down to advertising yourself visually, i.e. using the press and professional Journals, even those outside your area of operation as you still get "second hand" referrals where someone sees your details in a press article and passes on your details to someone you know. I hate to used the buzz word, but in effect "Networking". That said a lot of the networking sites like Linked in can be very hit & miss.
I would be interested in other peoples feed back on the subject as certainly I am finding the market very difficult to resource and hard-copy mail is often seen as junk and you need to be able to address the letter of introduction to a specific person by name, not just : "The Manager" or " The Director" etc.
No even today cold calls play a very important role.Though there may be changes while calling the person but the main purpose or the idea of cold calling remains the same.
It is up to the person why does the cold calling needs to be done,what is the main purpose of cold calling may vary from one person to another because the nature of business or industry varies.
Like you have WHEAT a part of daily meals all across globe since decades or ages, COLD CALL cannot be avoided for sales strategy. Recipes of WHEAT keep changing so does the format and pitch of COLD CALL but basics can't/shouldn't change.