If you work for a company that has cold calling quotas, I feel your pain. But from my experience, if you call 100 people, you’ll connect with maybe 20 and get maybe 2 appointments. And you still haven’t made a sale. There're easier ways to make a sale.
1. Build relationships with your current customers. Whether you’re selling brokerage services or pet supplies. The stronger your existing relationships, the more likely they are to refer you business. Do something that’s more personal and not all business, like going to the theater or a sports game. Send them cards on their birthdays and anniversaries. But once you’ve bonded, don’t forget that you have to ask them for the referrals.
2. Ask referral sources to introduce you to their referral sources. One of my former employees uses this strategy very effectively. He would build relationships with his referral base of accountants, lawyers, and strategic partners. Then he’d ask them for introductions to their referral sources. Over time, his network base grew exponentially.
3. Join committees and boards. Be careful here, as you only want to commit your time to organizations that can open doors to your potential client base. Volunteering to head an awards committee for a group you’re targeting is a great way to get to know the award nominees and hopefully get you a speaking role at the ceremony. Developing relationships with other board members continues to enhance your visibility in the community where you work.
4. Plan events that cater to your target customer needs. If you’re selling office supplies, plan a breakfast with an expert that can talk about the next best thing in copiers. Or if you’re a broker, plan an event an invite an expert on retirement planning. If you don’t have the budget for an event, just find ways to demonstrate to your prospects that you’re not just about making a sale. You really want to enhance their experience or knowledge.
5. Embrace social media. Find interesting articles in your field and share them on twitter, LinkedIn or whatever social media outlet your prospect base may be using. Try to be a contributor to the periodicals that your prospect base reads and again, link them to any and all other forms of media. The more your name becomes commonplace, the more likely that prospect will think of you when they need something.
Selling is a great job if you have the personality for it. But be creative about your approach. Cold calling should have died a slow and painless death years ago. Especially now that no one seems to want to pick up the phone anymore.