Phone technology has changed our behavior. People don’t take calls from people they don’t know anymore. Cold calling is about as welcome as robo calls. Likewise, cold sales emails often feel like SPAM.
Today the odds of a cold call ending in a sale are depressingly miniscule. Richard Stephens reports in a Dec. 2018 HubSpot article, “Recent research shows that less than 2% of cold calls actually result in a meeting.” He then calculates that it would take 6,264 cold calls to make just four sales.
Talk about bleak. That, friends, is not a smart use of anyone’s time.
There are better ways to generate leads.
Ditch the cold calls for lead generation moves that actually work
Recommendations and referrals. Nothing beats word of mouth. When current customers have had great experiences with you, when they know they can trust you, they will naturally tell their friends and associates good things about you. More than half of all sales opportunities that start with a referral end in a sale, says Geoffrey James, author, speaker, and contributing editor for Inc.com. He adds that sales that originate from referrals tend to be larger than average, too.
Networking, social and otherwise. Referrals will come from your networks. It’s important to keep in mind that networking is different from selling. Your goal in networking is to create connections. A sales pitch is counterproductive at this point. Think of it as a meeting between friends. What do you have in common, and how can you benefit the other person? Just as you have ideal customers, you also will wisely focus on finding ideal partners as you build your network.
Email marketing. Email marketing that works creates a conversation that eventually leads to a meeting and sale. What doesn’t work? An information-laden sales pitch sent to any and every person in your contact list. “Email marketing isn’t like direct mail,” says James. “Email is a conversation, not a one-way distribution.” It takes time. Think relationship, not transaction.
In this Inc.com article, James lays out seven specific steps to highly effective use of email for lead generation.
Things to keep in mind with sales and marketing emails:
- Should the reader take time out of their busy day to read this? Make sure you have a good reason to interrupt their day.
- Is the information you’re sending something of value? Is it helpful or educational?
- Is your message too long? Very few people want to read a novel in their inbox. And most business people skim, rather than read. Keep your messages short and sweet (125 words or less is ideal).
“Recent research shows that less than 2% of cold calls actually result in a meeting. On the other hand, more than half of all sales opportunities that start with a referral end in a sale.”
Inbound marketing. Cold calling is a form of outbound marketing, in which a business sends out a message targeting people who may or may not welcome it. Inbound marketing provides prospects with something of value that gives them a reason to engage with you when they are ready. You build trust because they don’t feel like prey.
Website design is part of inbound marketing. How are customers invited to engage with you? A blog or a podcast can be part of inbound marketing as a way for you to open your knowledge base and position yourself as a trusted guide.
Smart, robust CRM behind the scenes. Systems provide a foundation for any successful relationship-focused marketing strategy. Small Business CRM Coach, Lidiane Mocko, says, “My clients see increased sales just by tracking their interactions with clients and prospects in their CRM system.” She explains that a common feature in most CRM systems is a web-to-lead form. It invites website visitors to request information and captures their contact information in the CRM system. Because these persons have indicated interest, your follow-up contact is now a warm call resulting from inbound marketing.
“Your marketing efforts help you to generate leads,” says Mocko. “The CRM system helps you track the interactions with your leads and convert them.”
CTA: Gone are the days of the phone warrior working through the business directory. We’d love to hear your stories of successful lead generation, as well as your challenges. You’re invited to call us at 720-722-2987 or click the blue button below to request a time for conversation.