Cold Calling is not dead, but…

You need more. You need more than the yellow pages and a phone. It’s 2018 and with caller ID and the ability to stop and block calls with the simple flick of a thumb, it’s harder now, more than ever, to reach people on the phone. Let me preface this post by stating that I’m speaking from years of personal experience building an innovative tech startup and running a long-standing real estate business (and there’s nothing innovative about real estate!). If you make it to the end of this post, I’ll share the sales communication cadence I used for building my tech startup (you’ll see there’s more to it than cold calling).

I specifically mentioned the tech startup and real estate experience to show you that regardless of the nature of the business, you’ll still face the same challenges in cold calling. People simply don’t answer their phone for numbers they don’t recognize. Why? Because it’s typically a robo-call or a telemarketer trying to sell something.

It's harder now, more than ever, to reach people on the phone #coldcalling #sales #startups #smallbusiness Share on X

Who Me?

There’s no way anyone wants to be known as a telemarketer, right? This is particularly why many startups shy away from cold calling (in addition to the fear of talking to strangers who may possibly reject their new business idea). Startups, particularly tech ones, think their product and company is much more sophisticated than that. But, it’s simply not true that cold calling is for telemarketers. Cold calling is for anyone who wants to make money in their business. The most successful tech giants have outbound sales teams (and they’re HUGE teams!). In fact, I received two sales calls last month from….(drum roll)…Google! Yep, the company who tells you that all you need to do is buy Google AdWords and all will be good in your business. Sure, online strategies are effective but are only part of the equation.

It's simply not true that cold calling is for telemarketers #sales #coldcalls #startups #smallbusiness Share on X

The Truth

The truth is…Cold calling does work when done as part of a regular cadence of communication. For example, you may start out with a cold email, then a follow-up email with a link to a blog post or white paper (or something of value) that could be helpful to the prospect, then a call (with voicemail if no one answers), then another email, and so on.

Shoutouts and Secrets

I have to give props to the companies and individuals that have helped me figure out just about everything there is to know about sales: Grant Cardone, Kyle Porter of SalesLoft, Aaron Ross and Jason Lemkin –>Books: Predictable Prospecting, Predictable Revenue), John Barrows, Josh Braun, Brian Tracy, Tom Hopkins, and Zig Ziglar.

I have read and practiced just about everything they’ve recommended. I have to tell you though, my hidden secret that complimented all of the information from these guys were the rockstar women I met who were blessed with marketing superpowers! If you run a business or are thinking of starting one, please make it a priority to find someone with marketing superpowers too. As I always tell my clients: “Without sales AND marketing, you have no business! It’s over before you even start it.”

Without sales AND marketing, you have no business! It's over before you even start it. Share on X

Always Selling

Due to becoming completely obsessed with selling, a skill that we’re not taught in engineering school (we’re taught to problem-solve and build it, not sell it), I can whip up a sales strategy in no time, use technology to automate several aspects, and implement the rest MYSELF. Sure, I’ll cold email, cold call, schedule demos, complete demos, continuously follow-up, and close the deal. I’ve never been a salesperson—or so I thought! However, when you start a company from an idea YOU have to be your biggest salesperson. There’s no way around it! You have to sell to get people to join your team, to get people to take your calls, to get mentors, to get investors, to get customers etc. etc. etc. You are always selling!

When you start a company from an idea YOU have to be your biggest salesperson #sales #startups #smallbusiness Share on X

The Cadence

So, here’s that sales communication cadence I promised you at the beginning of this post….nothing fancy (copied straight from my Evernote), but it worked for getting early customers for my tech startup. As you can see, it’s not all cold calling.

  1. Send cold email (short and friendly)
  2. Contact via Facebook
  3. Send email again – w/video
  4. Contact via Facebook -w/video
  5. Call phone number
  6. Send email again/contact via Facebook too
  7. Call phone number
  8. Tweet/Facebook/Instagram them
  9. Tweet/Facebook/Instagram them
  10. Send email
  11. Call phone number
  12. Send final email

This is just one example of many strategies I deployed as we tested the market for our technology. Most tech founders would make 1 or 2 attempts and give up, but you can’t. Using technology, I tracked how many touches we made with a prospect before they responded. It was usually 3 to 5. In addition, I used behavior-based automation for many aspects so that the follow-ups were automated and provided valuable, timely information AND asked for the appointment I soooooo desired. Even scheduling the appointment was automated. Technology has come a long way. Use it to your advantage.

So, what’s the communication cadence in your sales strategy? Please share.

Originally posted on LinkedIn by the Founder and Principal of TPM Focus, Monique Mills.