Over the last few years, it’s been pretty common to hear self-proclaimed marketing pundits trumpet this particular mantra – “Cold calling is dead.”
What does this mean?
What they’re saying, essentially, is that the age-old marketing technique of picking up the phone and dialing your way down a list of contacts, trying to generate a lead with each one, is dead.
The “cold” in “cold calling” refers, of course, to the fact that these contacts are all new prospects – they’re not people who have approached the company indicating interest. And this, apparently, is the reason that this method is dead. Prospective customers today, these pundits will have you believe, are not willing to engage with someone at the other end of a telephone line that they’ve never spoken to before. They see it as an interruption, an intrusion into their privacy, and never respond positively.
Well perhaps it’s a good idea for someone to step back and examine this claim a little more closely. And being in the telemarketing business, we at Aavaz are probably well-placed to do this. Because if cold-calling is in fact dead, as the gurus claim, then it was probably a bad idea for us to develop a web-based software that helps our clients call lists, track their calls, raise funds and generate leads. We probably should’ve listened to the pundits before we put in all that time and effort…and money. Right?
So what did we find?
Fittingly, our experience with marketing Aavaz itself taught us that the pundits have got it wrong.
Slightly wrong. Actually more than slightly wrong. Rather wrong. Ok make that VERY wrong. You might even say humungously wrong.
In fact, we started by listening to the pundits. Instead of cold-calling prospective Aavaz clients, we signed on for a Google AdWords campaign. We were convinced it was the new way market things. So we wrote our ads, placed them, kept tweaking them, and waiting for leads to come in.
It didn’t happen. We kept pouring money into the campaign, and the leads just refused to bite.
That’s when we figured it might make sense to give the old-fashioned method a shot. We did the worst way possible – we search scraped a list from an open directory and started outbound calling which should have resulted poorly.
In fact we used Aavaz to market Aavaz.
And the result was astonishing. Our own software helped us navigate our lists, keep track of call progress, and let us follow up on leads quickly and efficiently. Out of 3019 calls we generated 110 leads. Take another look at those numbers. That is a percentage of 3.6. Marketers will tell you that it is impossible to generate that much interest through cold-calling or pretty much any other method. They’re usually happy with a conversion rate of 2 per cent. But there we were. We had incredible numbers, and we’re still following them up, and sure enough, people are buying the product.
So what are we saying?
That cold calling is not dead. Three sound decisions, that require thought, research, and a little investment, can render the pundits viewpoints obsolete, if not altogether incorrect.
One – a referral is still the most powerful way to make a sale. If a customer comes to you because a friend or partner has recommended you, it shoots up your chances of selling to them. BUT referrals are not within your control. And to request referrals from existing customers is often seen as annoying. So, in a sense, hoping for referrals is like sitting around and keeping your fingers crossed that your business will grow.
Two – you need good contacts. This is a key. Too many lists are random collections of numbers, many of them dysfunctional, many irrelevant to your business. You need to invest that basic minimum in a good, clean collection of contacts that is professionally generated. This will ensure that the first reaction your caller gets is not to have the phone slammed down on them. A well-placed cold call, even if it doesn’t generate a lead, will at most meet a polite declining, or a “Thank you, but I’m not looking for this product at this particular point in time.”
Three – you need good software to manage your lists. Aavaz is web-based, which means you don’t have to install anything to use it. The interface is clean and simple. Annotations, call-back reminders, bad numbers, call caps are easily clickable and effective. The system is intuitive and not at all disruptive to the crucial task at hand…to continue making those calls.
How do we know?
Well, we tried it, and it worked. And we learned that cold calling is far from dead. With a good product and a little imagination, it works brilliantly.