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Stop Cold Calling Now!!!!
Think back to the last time you received a phone call at home just as you started into something important to you such as a meal with the family, watching a highly anticipated television show or sporting event, or reading an article or book. Chances are you probably weren’t too thrilled with the person on the other end regardless of who it was. If it happened to be a telemarketer, you were likely less than cordial with the person on the other end. Why, then, do many salespeople insist on cold-calling when there are so many alternatives to prospecting and uncovering legitimate prospects and potential customers?
Sales managers frequently utter the over-used cliché of “you’ve got to increase your activity—it’s a numbers game.” Their intent, increasing your sales, is well serving, but their methodology for accomplishment couldn’t be worse. The key to increasing your prospect base without cold calling is marketing yourself as if you were your own company and presenting yourself as an expert in your chosen industry. The moment you quit thinking like yesterday’s employee and start thinking like today’s entrepreneur, your career will take on a new direction that will finally reward you in proportion to the effort you invest. Stop spinning your wheels cold-calling and allow your customers find you for a change. Here are some ideas to get you started:
Do you publish your own newsletter separate from your company? If not, this is a great way to stay connected with your best customers and nurture relationships. It’s also a good prospecting tool to gain valuable exposure since it takes roughly six impressions for a prospect to become a customer. Tips and advice which relate to your product or service are common topics to include in a newsletter. Make sure the information is relevant and useful to your customer base, or you’ll lose their interest almost as quickly as you signed them up. A newsletter can be distributed in print or e-mail format so consider offering your prospects and customers a choice. Perhaps your company doesn’t produce a newsletter; think of how that could distinguish you from your peers and shine in your management’s eyes.
Advertise in someone else’s newsletter or cross advertise. If you know of current newsletters which target prospects you’d like to reach, consider paying to advertise in that newsletter for awhile. If you don’t have the money to invest in newsletter advertising right away, consider swapping ads in your newsletter with the publisher of other targeted newsletters. This is a great way to gain name recognition with prospects you may never meet.
Creating your own website will go a long way towards distinguishing you from many of your competitors provided the website is targeted, contains useful information that solves common industry customer problems, and provides your contact information.
If you are unable to create your own site or don’t believe you have the time to maintain one, a blog might be another alternative worth considering. There are many free blog sites available (Google the term free blog site), and a blog gives you the freedom to express yourself in a more engaging and conversational manner.
Conducting or participating in seminars may give your reputation a big boost especially if you are able to deliver a great presentation on an interesting and industry related topic. People who attend seminars will remember you as an “authority” long after the seminar even if you don’t necessarily remember them provided you don’t put them to sleep or offend in any way.
Generate a prospecting e-mail instead of calling with a link to a case study or relevant set of statistics to generate interest and/or recognition. Don’t make your prospecting e-mails about you—make them all about the customer and how you might be able to help them. If they have an interest, they’ll research you and your company when appropriate. Remember: you can only make one cold-call at a time, but you can send out one e-mail to many people at once which increases your number of “dials” and impressions.
Produce a podcast or downloadable audio seminar on a popular industry topic. This could even be done in an interview format, but be sure to include some tips and tricks that prospects can use rather quickly. You’re merely looking to increase awareness of you and your company.
Create a video or webinar that can be downloaded which addresses common customer questions and problems and shows them how to resolve the problems. Again, this needs to focus on the customer and their issues instead of you and your company. Avoid the temptation to talk about features and benefits of a product or service.
Write an article to be published in an industry publication. This will provide publicity and further differentiate you as an expert in your chosen field. Be sure to include a byline at the end of the article so people know how to contact you should they choose.
Write a book. This will provide the same benefits as an article but on a much grander scale. Authors regularly are asked to be guests on radio and television shows which, if you score a spot on one, will skyrocket your career.
While it’s likely impossible to implement each of these ideas today, you can begin by implementing a couple at a time to gauge their effectiveness. The more ideas you implement, the less reliant you’ll become on cold-calling and yesteryear’s prospecting methods. Your career will shift gears as well.
About the Author: Roger Bauer is Founder and CEO of SMB Consulting, Inc., a Louisville, Kentucky based small business consulting firm specializing in strategic planning, web presence, internet marketing, SEO, technology, and business analysis. To learn more, point your browser to http://smbconsultinginc.com