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. Refocus on referrals.
Consider the following stats:
- 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.
- You’re 4.2X more likely to get an appointment if you already have a personal connection.
What do all these numbers have in common? It’s easier and faster to reach decision-makers and close the deal if you don’t start as a stranger. Every referral is a valuable foot in the door that makes your job far simpler.
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! The frustration to connect is something we can all relate to.
Instead of spending that time on cold calling, learn something new that will pay dividends down the road. 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. A few basic design skills can make your online presence look more professional in the eyes of potential clients and help you stand out on social media.
- Take a free Moz course to learn how to enhance your SEO, bringing more traffic to your website and more eyeballs to your brand.
- Download Duolingo to learn another language or brush up on one. This can open up your potential client base to entire new communities.
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 LinkedIn if those are part of your social media plan.
When was the last time you followed a few new accounts? Search industry-relevant hashtags on Instagram and Twitter to see what accounts may come up. Most social media platforms will also suggest accounts you may like. And don’t forget to scope out your competitors’ social profiles to make sure you’re keeping up!
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 if you’re willing to spend enough time on it (and take the risk of annoying your prospects). 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 lost opportunities 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 that still works even though it’s been around for decades.
- Work on content marketing: The easiest way to describe content marketing is helping, not selling. Essentially, content marketing is creating and sharing materials like blogs, videos, posts, 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 for how to replace the time spend cold calling with more productive activities. If you’d rather not spend that time asking for referrals, writing emails, and sharing social media posts, you can always delegate these tasks to marketing automation.
There are tons of marketing automation options out there to send emails and post to social media, but OutboundEngine goes one step further: we provide a team of professional writers that create 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.