Earlier today I came across an article that explained that the "cold call" was dead. The author claimed that in a world with LinkedIn, Twitter and other Social Media, a direct phone call to an unconnected person was wasted effort. At first I was nodding in agreement, but then I thought about it. Did this really make sense? Was a "cold call" in the pure sense ever an effective sales strategy?
Online networking is a great tool for creating and building business relationships. But it cannot replace the power and efficiency of a phone call or a personal sales call. Plus, combining social networking and a well-placed phone call can result in an unbeatable combination.
Combining networking with a personal phone call is a very powerful sales strategy
- One phone call can replace hours of online effort trying to connect with a prospect.
- One well-placed phone call can quickly provide you with the names of the key decision-makers.
- A phone call can be the best way to identify real sales barriers and objections that can easily be hidden in a virtual relationship.
A real one-two sales punch comes from combining the power of the internet to extend your reach and provide information with the immediacy and personal connection only possible in a real world contact. Long before the internet was created, top sales people knew how to make a cold call seem like something else – they knew how to work the phones to make a cold call into a referral. A pro would call someone in the company and ask for the name of the key decision-maker. Then they would use that person’s name in the next call so that now it was a referral. They used contacts in one part of a company to introduce them to other key prospects. They knew how to prepare an introductory sales letter that promised they would call in the near future then called as promised. To a pro, there was no such thing as a "cold call".
It is no different in today's ultra-connected digital world. The sales letter may have morphed into an email or other digital communication. And it is easier and faster to get recommendations and referrals online. But at some point, the best sales tool is still a personal call.
New technology and new communications methods provide new sales tools but can't change what makes a great sales effort effective – planning, persistence and a personal connection.