I know, you are all cringing right now. Yuck I hate it when someone calls me unsolicited and asks me to do something, pay something, buy something, or well…something!
You hear so much about inbound marketing these days, is outbound marketing dead?
Just one aspect of outbound marketing is cold calling. These days it seems that people are not only against cold calls, but they are into scheduling their phone calls as well. It is understandable, In the fast paced world we live in where meetings happen through Skype, Goto Meeting, and conference calls, it’s necessary to get all the parties involved to synchronize their schedules and meet up in cyberspace at the same time. But you only do this once you have a relationship and are getting down to business.
Nowadays a big buzz word is inbound marketing. Organically positioning your company so that people looking for your services and products. They find you! You don’t go out and find them.
Inbound marketers tend to slam outbound marketing techniques as antiquated and useless often as New and Social Media people tend to look down their noses at old media. Well I believe there’s a place for many different techniques when used properly.
Sometimes there’s not always time to put your communities out there and wait for people to come to you and ask about your product. Take a time limited event for instance. Right now in planning the Blue Gypsy Bluesfest I’ve put my inbound marketing hat back on to get this done in less than 6 months. I’ve got a website, a facebook fan page, an eventbrite site, I’ve placed the event on 10 different local calendars and believe me this works to get the word out about the event and find attendees.
But what about sponsors?
This is an amazing event, everyone I talk with is getting excited about it, they want to be part of it….but wait, that’s the key. Involvement in the process of putting together this grassroots first year event for charity is really word of mouth. The old fashioned way. Cold calling. Just one of many outbound marketing techniques.
As an online sales consultant who’s bread and butter comes from targeted emailing, I’m no stranger to outbound marketing though there are inbound techniques interwoven with what I do.
Maybe people are afraid of cold calling because there is actually an art to the cold call. And when done right it can garner results.
When done wrong it stings like the rejection from a fledgling relationship. Kind of like a bee sting that hurts badly at first but fades quickly. It’s not like the painful ache of a long-term relationship gone awry but still no one likes to get stung.
Here are a few tips I have for cold calling that may or may not be beneficial to you. I’ve been using this technique a lot as I try to find sponsorships for the Blue Gypsy Bluesfest and so far I’ve really had only one person be absolutely rude to me on the phone, and I’d say 99% of people are asking me to email them information about the event. Now I’m working on turning over those emails to sponsorships….the hardest part. Ironically the easiest part is the cold call.
Here are some tips and tricks:
1) You’ve got to love what you are talking about. If you aren’t thrilled about it the cold call will not warm-up.
2) Pick the right time. Some businesses have an optimum time. For instance don’t call a restaurant during their rush. If at all possible try to call them before 10 am.
3) Take breaths. Gauge what the other person is doing on the other end of the line.
4) When at all possible find out the name of the person you need to speak with. They may not know you but if you ask for them by name and then introduce yourself it goes a lot further.
5) Know something about their business before you call. Would they even be interested in what you are selling or talking about?
6)Be pleasant. If you are really cheery and nice, it pulls others into that mode…usually.
7) Don’t let a negative response get you down. After all you are calling cold, you have no idea who they are or what is going on in their life. The easiest place for unhappy people to take out their frustrations is on a stranger. Be aware you may be providing that target. No biggie, move on.
8) Take a deep breath and make the next call. The only way you’ll achieve your goals is through numbers. Do not give up after 3, 5 or 30 calls. There are a lot of people out in the world who could benefit from what you are offering and it’s your job to find that right fit. In this economy it can be especially hard to get companies to part with marketing dollars, consulting dollars, and donations. But it doesn’t mean it’s impossible.
While cold calls can be daunting, they can be rewarding too. It all depends on how you approach the prospect of calling strangers and asking them to believe in who you are, what you do and the program, product or project you represent.
There is still a place in this world for outbound marketing techniques but over and over again, I believe the key is personal touch.