Customers hate them and sales reps often do not want them. Even in the days of the Wolf of Wall Street, cold calling was not a guaranteed recipe for success. And what about in 2021? Is cold calling dead or is there a way to adapt it to current conditions?
Cold calling is hard work more than anything else. Anyone who has ever worked in a call center will certainly be happy to confirm that rejection is literally the job. That will definitely not change anything in the future. Over the years, customers have developed a certain resilience to this way of addressing them, sometimes even aversion.
The statistical success rate of cold calls is 1-3% of arranged appointments from all unwanted calls. Today, it is hard to do business just based on calling random contacts. In short, cold calling hit its limits at a certain time and it turned out that the effectiveness of this method is no longer guaranteed by any superhero on the phone. But with some improvements, cold calling can still be an interesting way to reach new customers when making deals is hard.
“Where did you get my phone number?“
The selection of suitable contacts has a comparable effect on the success of cold calling as the caller's business skills. This is the biggest shortcoming of cold calling in its original concept. After all, one of the most common reactions called is "where did you get my phone number". This is a perfectly fair question and every company should be able to answer it honestly. And not just because of the GDPR, which forbids being approached without prior consent.
Far more effective than taking an anonymous list of phone numbers and the blank fire is something called warm calling. The principle of cold calling enriches by the key thing - the called party has always been in some way in contact with the company before. This prevents calls from being unexpected or unwanted. This approach requires just one thing, to maintain a database of contacts, no matter whether contacts for potential customers or existing ones.
TIP: Check how to obtain consent to addressing the clients in compliance with the GDPR or download the eWay-Book GDPR, which deals with the issue of personal data protection and processing in more detail.
Where to get the right contacts
- Database of customers
If you have not yet systematically kept a customer database, this is one of the reasons why it pays back in the long run. Why work hard to reach new customers when you can just dust off old contacts? After all, a satisfied customer is the ideal contact. Maybe they won't use your offer at the moment, but it certainly won't offend them.
- Company website
Listing a phone number and other contacts on the web is no longer enough. It is necessary to make communication easier for customers and to reduce the number of steps to a minimum. A web form or chat (of course with a field to fill in a phone number) is a much more convenient option for a web visitor.
The website can also be used actively to get in touch with the customer and then to address them. If you create interesting and useful content such as articles, e-books, or videos, customers will often be happy to leave their contact for it.
But the easiest way is the services that record data. They record all the data about website visitors and their activity, which can even suggest something about the customer's interest.
- Social networks
Social networks can also help you reach new contacts. Especially LinkedIn and Facebook. It depends on the target group. You can find this on both networks in often very specifically focused groups and the like.
But just like on the phone, no one here wants to be overloaded by offers without warning. Direct contact should be preceded, for example, by the customer's comment or "like" on the article and other content you have published. As soon as the customer indicates some interest, you can introduce yourself, make an appointment over the phone and prepare the fertile ground for a possible call.
This option is currently out of the question, but at trade fairs, conferences, lectures, and other events, a large number of contacts can be obtained relatively quickly. It is only necessary not to forget the written consent to the processing of personal data. However, online webinars or competitions may be a possible alternative at the moment.
Effective work with contacts
Not only the selection of contacts is much more complicated in the current concept of warm calling. The same attention needs to be paid to call preparation. Now that you don't have 50 random numbers in front of you, but a list of potential customers, it would be a terrible mistake not to prepare for calls. And the preparation is not just about cold calling scenarios.
It still pays back to pay attention to them, but thanks to the available information, it is possible to understand the customer's needs, listen, and not necessarily push them. Although people like technological tricks that make their lives easier, they still prefer to talk to people over the phone rather than to robots. When you know who you're talking to, it's no problem to personalize the call from the beginning.
But what to do with all the contacts, information, and requirements of potential customers that emerged from the first interview? How do you schedule more calls? How to evaluate the success of cold calling? And how to organize all this with your colleagues?
Whereas in the past a phone, a pencil, and a paper, or possibly a spreadsheet in Excel, were enough to call a list of numbers, with increasing information it is more difficult to keep them in order. Therefore, in a situation where the organization is out of control, it pays back to look at a CRM, in which work with contacts can be fully automated.
Whether you want to filter out existing customers you haven't been in contact with for a long time, work with a list of leads, schedule calls including reminders, record contact information, and call notes, or evaluate the success of cold calling, you can set up the whole process in the CRM and most importantly automate everything according to your company habits.
In the beginning, however, we asked ourselves a fundamental question that needs to be answered before we even start cold calling.
Is cold calling dead?
Cold calling, as we know it from Leonard DiCaprio alias Wolf of Wallstreet, can be said to be a dead method. Calling anonymous numbers actually leads to a minimum number of closed deals. However, this can be changed by working effectively with contacts. And it's still a method that's not particularly expensive and is usually more successful than cold e-mails, which are easier to ignore.
Cold calling is especially useful at a time when other ways of reaching customers do not work as before, and there is a need to encourage business in some way. And honestly, how many companies don't have a weaker period from time to time?