When you hear the phrase, “cold calling,” what first comes to mind? If you’re like most small business owners, chances are it’s not your favorite. In fact, 63% of salespeople say cold calling is what they dislike most about their jobs. Additionally, 88% of buyers will have nothing to do with cold callers. That’s a lot of people who struggle with what feels like a sales inevitability. If you fall into this camp, we’ve come up with four better ways to spend your time instead of cold calling (without sacrificing your bottom line in the process).
1. Increase your referrals.
- 84% of buyers kick off their buying process with a referral.
- 47% of top-performing salespeople ask for referrals consistently versus just 26% of non-top performers.
- 90% of C-suite executives say they never respond to cold calls.
What do all these numbers have in common? Having a personal connection can be a faster route to reaching decision-makers, and therefore closing a deal.
The easiest way to increase your referrals is to ask for them! Every situation and client needs to be assessed individually, but this post can help you figure out how to ask for referrals. Regardless of your industry or product, you should be asking for referrals and asking often.
2. Learn a new skill.
Research has shown it can take up to 18 calls to connect with a prospect. For most salespeople, this is probably not surprising news. Let’s think about this in terms that more people can picture. Imagine calling your doctor 18 times before you can reach the appointment desk. That’s a lot of time invested to simply get someone on the phone! While this isn’t a perfect analogy for sales, the frustration to connect is something we can all relate to.
Instead of spending that time on cold calling, learn something new. There are tons of free and paid ways to expand on an existing skill set or learn something new altogether. Here are a few ideas:
- Canva has tutorials that can help you learn graphic design.
- Lynda.com, now part of LinkedIn Learning, has courses on everything from learning songwriting to becoming a software tester.
- Take a free Moz course to learn how to enhance your SEO.
- Download Duolingo to learn another language or brush up on an existing base.
Have more than a couple of days gone by since you’ve posted anything? If so, it’s a good time to share something with your network. (Marketing automation can help with this, but few platforms will write content for you. OutboundEngine is one that does.) Check your Facebook business page, and maybe Instagram or Twitter if those are part of your social media plan.
When was the last time you followed a few new accounts? Search hashtags on Instagram and Twitter to see what relevant accounts may come up. Most social media platforms will also suggest accounts you may like. Look at competitors also; it’s good to keep up on what others in your industry are doing.
Have you left comments or reacted to other posts recently? When you engage with others, those posts will often appear on your connections’ feeds. Simply leaving a comment or liking something can mean you get your name (and business) in front of potential customers outside your current network.
4. Focus on other selling activities.
It’s true that cold calling can lead to sales. But there are many other marketing-related tasks crucial to maintaining a healthy pipeline.
- Clean up your database: Bad data can waste over 500 hours a year per full-time sales rep. Imagine what you could do with 500 hours! That’s equivalent to a three-week vacation. Keeping your data clean will lead to fewer sales opportunities lost and better interactions.
- Email regularly: We’ll repeat this until we are blue in the face. The benefits of email marketing are hard to beat. It’s a low cost/high ROI marketing channel for your business.
- Work on content marketing: The easiest way we can describe content marketing is helping, not selling. Essentially, content marketing is creating and sharing materials like blogs, social media posts, emails, etc., that don’t explicitly promote or sell but stimulate interest in your products or services.
Goodbye cold calling, hello automation
Hopefully, this list has given you some ideas on ways to improve or minimize time spent on cold calling. One of the best ways to save time spent asking for referrals, writing emails, and sharing social media posts is to delegate these tasks to marketing automation.
There are tons of marketing automation options out there to send emails and post to social media. One feature OutboundEngine can offer that many others are missing is a team of professional writers creating your content for you. We also do automated posting, email newsletters, referral campaigns, and social ads, to name a few, but creating clickable content is one feature we are especially proud to provide to our customers. Learn more about how marketing automation can help you find better ways to spend your time instead of cold calling.