The Social Media Tool Everyone Forgets to Use

I recently put up a handful of videos on cold calling techniques on YouTube. Not surprisingly, I got the usual round of folks who decry the use of cold calling at all and say it’s unprofessional, inefficient and a waste of time.

I wanted to put that myth to bed once and for all.

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What Cold Calling Is Not

A lot of people try to create gradients about calling prospects and refer to “cold calls” vs “warm calls.” The term they choose is associated with the relative receptivity that the prospect is going to have in response to me calling, which actually ends up meaning the relative comfort I have making the call.

The problem I have found with using this cold or warm concept is that it’s always subjective. I have called folks with whom I very much assumed I had a long-standing relationship and who I thought would have no problem taking my call only to completely shut me down and give me a cold response. Similarly, I have called folks with whom I have no prior relationship that gave me an incredibly warm response.

Cold calling simply refers to any outbound prospecting effort performed over the phone where I do not have a scheduled conversation with the person I am calling. Simply put, cold calling is not different from warm calling. If you are comfortable calling someone and want to refer to something as a warm call, it is still a cold call if the person on the other line is not expecting your call.

What Cold Calling Is

Cold calling is the outreach activity we perform when prospecting, which is the top of the funnel work designed to move from an interruption to a first conversation with someone. At some point in the prospecting process I am going to need to pick up the phone, and whether I am calling a prospect that has or has not requested my call, it is still a cold call if it is not on their calendar.

For example, if I called a CEO at a company downtown that I have worked with for years but haven’t talked to in six months and did not have an appointment to chat, that would be considered a cold call because I am interrupting their day unexpectedly. If, however, I send an email with suggested times and one of them is accepted, even if it’s our first call, that would not be considered a cold call. Rather, it is a scheduled appointment. While the term “cold call” does not refer to the openness of the recipient to receive my call, it does refer to the interruptive nature of the interaction. The lead source and my relationship with the person on the other end of the phone are irrelevant.

All the documentation and processes that I have put into prospecting are even more critically important in this day and age where marketers should be using demand creation, web marketing, lead nurturing and content marketing tools to drive traffic and interactions. However, at some point you’re going to need to pick up the phone.

It’s Still Cold Calling If:

  • You call up an old colleague you haven’t talked to in 3 years that works at a prospective company and he’s not expecting your call.
  • You call up an old colleague you haven’t talked to in 3 weeks that works at a prospective company and he’s not expecting your call.
  • Your marketing efforts are such that you drive someone to a “hand raise” where they’ve requested a meeting, a call or an appointment.
  • You reach out to someone you found into your marketing automation database that has been reading your articles, blog posts, process guides and consistently consuming content within a relevant track, opened your last five articles and spent three minutes on each page to say, “Hey, I saw you’ve been reading my stuff. I hope you are enjoying it. I’d love to grab a couple of minutes and see what’s going on in your world.”

If you’re not sure if something is a cold call, just ask yourself this…Is the person who is receiving your call expecting your call at that day and time? If the answer is no, it’s a cold call.

By Townsend Wardlaw

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