In continuing where we left off in Part One of Cold Call: Dead or Alive, let me be perfectly clear: social networks are the new cold call (or at the very least social networks should always be used to warm up every cold call you make). Why dial and hope someone will answer the phone? Why dial and pray that if they do answer you can get through the gatekeeper who does not want to help you? Why dial and wish you get your prospect’s full and undivided attention when they say hello? Instead of calling a gatekeeper and fishing for information on one possible decision maker, you can now advance search within relevant categories on Linkedin, Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ and drill down to find exactly who you’re looking for BEFORE you make the call. You discover who is connected to your connections and find people by job descriptions, job titles, job history, location, pay grade, and education. You can find out what they are reading, what they are writing, what they like, what they don’t like. I still am not fully sure why people share all of this powerful information that can make them vulnerable online, but they do. Use it to your advantage.
Financial Advisor Conversation:
I recently heard many differing views on the cold call from a Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association (SIFMA) event. A lot of people were asking, is the cold call dead? Everyone agreed that a new advisor would fail if he sat down and tried to dial through the phone book, which was the norm 20 years ago. Today, it is not the right approach. No more smiling and dialing; instead, it’s surfing and typing. The cold call is evolving to the social call.
No matter what year you were born, one thing remains the same: sales is a numbers game. The metrics I used to measure my success in selling were Activity, Skills, and Knowledge. With phone activity being the engine for everything, you’d create your own luck. Without activity, you were dead. It was clear that the more dials you made, the more contacts you had. The more contacts you had, the more appointments (phone or in-person) you had. The more appointments you had, the more presentations and closes you’d make—and the more you’d get paid.
This success equation is still relevant, but you need to replace the phone activity with social activity to be successful. Phone calls are unexpected interruptions. In general, it’s harder to get someone’s attention these days through the phone; you need to go to where they are already paying attention.
The phone call has now been demoted to a follow-up tool, used only after a social interaction.
When I connect with someone online, the goal is to connect with them offline. Most times, I use the social network to secure a face-to-face meeting. If not, I pick up the “heavy” phone and secure a face-to-face meeting that way. I have had more success meeting people in person than having the same conversation over the phone. Nothing, in my opinion, replaces physical human interaction.
Conversely, when you connect with someone offline, at an event, or on the street, and you then search for them online almost the second you get back to your office. You search to find useful information out about them by accessing their social profiles. After you take it all in you then need to decide which is the best social network or networks to get back to them to round off the interaction. Interactions are continuous. You can then follow their online movements and likes and get to know what information they are reading, commenting on, sharing and talking (creating) about.
Because the number of interactions has accelerated at an astronomical pace (albeit, the same pace of the average social network growth), it takes more time and organization, as well as a follow-up system, to not lose track of all these interactions. It is quicker to develop a relationship because the person you are trying to connect with flat out tells you what you want to hear.
By doing this, you are not interrupting them, or controlling the conversation, or not paying attention, dosing off or daydreaming while they are speaking. You can proactively look up this information at your leisure, but again, you need to know what to do with this information, how to organize the social profile so you don’t forget. And, of course, you need to remember how to close. By leveraging and organizing the social web, there is no question your closing ratio will go up, each interaction deepens the client advisor relationship. This social process makes selling easier, for the motivated salesman or saleswoman.
In conclusion, the new social prospecting process shouldn’t feel like marketing, it should just be how you are—your personality, your process, ingrained in your soul.
What is your opinion of the traditional cold call?