When we’re looking for alternatives to cold calling, we don’t want to turn the alternatives into something as clumsy and uncomfortable as a typical cold call. Right? Because a lot of times they are. They’re clumsy and they’re awkward and they’re not comfortable. We don’t want to just come up with another way to be that. The idea of looking for these alternatives is to say, “okay, how can I make this experience better for the person that I am trying to initiate contact with?”
David: Hi, and welcome to the podcast. Today, co-host Jay McFarland and I will be discussing alternatives to cold calling. Welcome back, Jay.
Jay: I am so glad to be here. Thank you. Even the word sometimes, “cold calling.” I get the shivers, not just cause it’s cold, because I think that this is probably one of the most dreaded parts of the sales process, but in many industries, Absolutely necessary. And so how can you make it easier? How can you make it better? And what happens if you don’t?
David: Yeah, definitely gives a lot of people the chills. And the reason that I thought it would be good for us even to talk about alternatives is that there are a lot of people who have been trained that prospecting equals cold calling. Or cold calling equals prospecting.
I need to do prospecting. I need to pick up the phone. I need to call people. And some people are actually trained that way. And some sales managers will evaluate people on how many cold calls they’ve made in a day. That’s part of people’s jobs description. If that’s part of your job description I’m not saying don’t do that, right?
If that’s your job description, you have to do it. However, for people who have a little more flexibility in terms of the way that they initiate contact with a new prospect, there are alternatives to cold calling. You don’t necessarily have to pick up the phone. And so, there are two aspects of this. One is the first question that you just asked about, okay, now what can we do to make cold calling better?
Considering the Alternatives
And there are certainly things that we can do there in terms of thinking about how we’re going to approach them, what we’re going to say, how we’re going to lead into the conversation, and all that sort of thing. But for a lot of people, a better question might be what could I do to sort of grease the shoot or grease the wheels so that when I pick up the phone and call someone, the results are a lot better.
Yeah, and I think that’s so important because you know, you would regret or not want to do cold calling less if you’re getting a better result. And if, when people pick up the phone, they’re not hostile towards you, or they’re not indifferent to you, because you’ve done some things in advance. So that it’s not so cold that I don’t know what you would call it.
Jay: Would you call it warm calling or something like that?
Warmer Alternatives to Cold Calling
David: It’s certainly a lot warmer if you’ve had contact with them in advance. Like if you met somebody at a networking function, you exchange business cards or whatever, and then you picked up the phone and called that person. I wouldn’t view that as a cold call because you’ve already met them. If you’ve got prospects that you’ve interacted with previously, then if you call them, yeah, that’s not really a cold call. So I don’t know, you can certainly call it a warm call. You can just call it a call.
If I were to pick up the phone and call you, I’m going to give Jay a call. It’s not cold, because we know each other. So, the question becomes, how can we get to know people better, get them to know us better, so that when we do have contact with them, it doesn’t feel as cold. And so, even now, things like social media, if you and I connected on social media, if you commented on a post of mine, or I commented on a post of yours, if we exchanged messages back and forth through Facebook or through LinkedIn, we’ve had communications that way.
At that point, if we had a telephone conversation, it will be a lot less cold.
Jay: Yeah, I can certainly understand. And I see this a lot. Like I will be interested in looking around at something and I will see a social media post. I’m much more inclined to ask a question. You know, via social media or via a chat or something else before I pick up the call as a customer. And that’s going to open up those doors, right? For you to be able to now, when we do finally talk face to face or voice to voice, it’s going to be a totally different experience, right?
A Different Experience
David: it really should be. Yes. And this kind of goes back to what we were talking about in a previous podcast, when people are not comfortable with these other methods of reaching out to people, it really limits their ability to communicate.
Because, as you said, there are some people you get a phone call, I don’t necessarily want to call back. Maybe I’ll message you, or maybe I’ll send you something on Facebook or LinkedIn or whatever. And, at that point, if I’m, “No, I’m going to talk to you on the phone!” If you don’t want that to happen, it’s absolutely not happening.
So I think there is a level of flexibility that salespeople need to start to adopt if they want to be able to reach the people that they need to reach in a way that people are willing to be reached.
Jay: Yeah, I’m just curious as people go through your program, what are some of the ideas that come up when it comes to alternatives to cold calling or making at least the process easier or greasing the chute as you said?
David: Yeah. Greasing the shoot, exactly.
Greasing the Chute
David: Well, I mean, there are a lot of different things that can be done. I mean, even things like direct mail. You could send something in the mail and then if you were to call and say, “Hey, did you get the thing I sent you in the mail?” Now, at that point, you at least have something to point to, to indicate I’m not just calling you out of the blue. Right?
A lot of the clients that I work with operate in the print and promotional products industry, and for them to send out some sort of self-promotion item, in the mail, with a cover letter, is a great way to establish rapport. and also create that sort of gift of obligation. So that when they get it, they feel like, “oh, somebody sent me something.”
And then when you contact that person, you can say, “Hey, did you get the, you know, the item I sent you?” Whatever that item is. And from that standpoint, they’re probably going to be more likely to take the call, if they have a conscience, than they would be to take a cold call from somebody that never sent them anything or that they had never heard from previously.
Over the past couple of weeks, I’ve gotten a number of emails from people who have been asking about either being on my podcast or having me appear on their podcast. And a lot of it is just people who are writing on behalf of somebody else. And “Hey, I think so-and-so would be a great guest for your podcast.” And from what they’ve written, I can tell they’ve never listened to the podcast. They have no idea what we do here.
Pay Attention to Get Attention
And so I just ignore that sort of thing. Recently, there was a guy who was sending me something and I thought it was one of those, but he was actually asking me to be on his podcast, and he paid attention enough to what it is that we do that he said, “Hey, I’d like if you could talk about this particular topic.” It was about market domination, which is something that I talk about.
So at that point, it’s like, okay, well that makes sense. Here’s somebody who at least made some sort of effort to understand what I’m all about before reaching out and either asking for a favor or whatever. So I think that’s an interesting approach too. Because in a sense, what he did was a cold email. But by simply putting in a little bit of effort to demonstrate that he had some idea of who I am and what I’m all about, it made me far more likely to respond where other people just wouldn’t have gotten a response at all.
Jay: Yeah, I, love this idea. Doing a little bit of research, a little bit of homework. And when you reach out to them even saying, “Hey, I saw a particular podcast,” or “I saw a particular post,” or “I saw this story about you.” Maybe playing to their ego a little bit or at least letting them know that you have a genuine interest because you’ve noticed something about them instead of, “I just want to talk to you so that I can sell my product. So pick up the phone, dang it!” You know?
Spamming People on Social Media
David: Yeah. And there’s a lot of that happening on Facebook right now. Where people will send you messages, trying to establish a conversation out of nowhere. And they’ll say, “what do you do?” And they’ll send that via Messenger. And so they might have already initiated a friend request. You accept the friend request. And they say, what do you do? And at that point, I’m like, “well, did you look? You know, you’ve requested to friend me. I friended you. Did you look at the profile?
Did you look into anything that I do at all? You know, it’s just like, “No, I’m connecting with you so I can send you this message. So I can try to see if I can sell you something.” And it just doesn’t create a great vibe. And so I think part of this idea, when we’re looking for alternatives to cold calls, we don’t want to turn the alternatives into something as clumsy and uncomfortable as a typical cold call. Right? Because a lot of times they are. They’re clumsy and they’re awkward and they’re not comfortable.
We don’t want to just come up with another way to be that. The idea of looking for these alternatives is to say, “okay, how can I make this experience better for the person that I am trying to initiate contact with? And all this week in the Inner Circle, this is what we’re going to be talking about.
Having Multiple Alternatives to Cold Calling
What are the alternatives to cold calling? What can we do better? What can we do differently? How can we do those things differently? So that when we are in a situation where a cold call is either not appropriate or not desired by either us or them, we have, not just one other thing.
We don’t just have a plan B. We might have a plan C and a plan D and a plan E and a plan F, right? So that we can initiate contact with the people that we need to reach in a way that is not going to immediately alienate them. And again, I think that’s one of the concerns that people have now with cold calling is that if they don’t know who you are, if they’re not expecting the call, if they’re not in their office and they’re retrieving voicemail remotely, and now it’s somebody who wants them to call back, they’re just not going to want to do it.
So it creates a very uncomfortable environment. And that’s why I think for people who have not considered, what are the alternatives? How can I utilize the alternatives and how can I create a series of communications. Not just, “I’m calling you,” right? But a series of communications that could come in different forms, either via social media or email or phone or Zoom or YouTube. I mean, you could literally send them a link with a YouTube video.
More Options Give Us More Opportunities to Serve
There are lots of different ways to initiate contact with people. And the more comfortable we get at doing that, and the quicker we get comfortable with that, the more options we have and the better we’re going to be able to serve new prospects and clients.
Jay: Yeah. I love that I think kind of what I’m getting is a lot of times we think a cold call is a cold call and it has a certain success rate. And that’s what the success rate is. When the reality is, is how you go about it. You could make your chances much worse that it’s going to work, or you can make your chances much better.
And so you should be learning and assessing how to do that. And that’s exactly what we’re talking about today.
David: Yeah, or at least consider it. Right? You don’t have to do it. Nobody has to do anything. But if they understand and recognize why it is so important to at least consider other alternatives to a communication medium, cold calling, that has been in existence for a long time. It’s also been, let’s face it, kind of hated for a long time. There are a lot of people who hate cold calling. There are people who hate getting them. There are people who hate making them. And there are people who hate both.
Why Do Something You Hate if You Don’t Have to?
I don’t like making them, I don’t like getting them. So, If you recognize that it’s not the only game in town, particularly now, then you also recognize that there are definitely things you can do to warm things up, to be able to create relationships faster, to get people qualified in or out a lot faster. And sometimes it might not require phone call communication.
Jay: Yeah, that last one is the one I want where there’s no cold calling. They’re reaching out to me and I’m answering questions. I mean, that’s the ideal scenario, right? That’s the one I want, if you can give that to me, that would be great.
David: Yeah. And you know, in our Total Market Domination course, one of the things that we talk about are “lures.” You know, what are things that we can offer to people to get them to raise their hand, express interest, say “yes,” and get them engaged in conversation with us.
Because you’re absolutely right. When you’re able to do that and have them contact you first, they’re reaching out to you first on social media, or they’re calling you first, or they’re sending you an email first. It’s much better from both a positioning standpoint and the ability to close the sale. Because now it’s their idea instead of yours. Or they perceive it that way. But this is the importance of that distinction.
Referrals are Great, But Unpredictable
In other words, yeah, you can get a referral and somebody can contact you directly and that’s great. But you can’t necessarily control that. You can’t leverage that. Because that’s up to people to refer you. But if you are able to create lures and get them out there, and it could be something via social media, it could be something that happens in the mail, whatever it is, you create a lure that gets somebody to say, “yes, I’m interested in that.”
They come back to you, they express interest. Now it’s like a ping pong game, you know, where you’ve hit it first. They’ve hit it back And now it’s my turn. Right? Cold calls, a lot of times, it’s like you’re hitting it over there and they’re just ignoring it. It flies off the table. And you’re like, “okay, well let me call them again.” You just keep hitting balls at people and they keep ignoring it. It’s not ideal.
Jay: It’s not ideal. It’s not fun either. And it’s harder to make a living that way, you know, in all honesty.
David: Exactly. Right…
Continue the Discussion on Alternatives to Cold Calling
Jay: Yeah. All right. so how do people find out more?
David: Okay, well, if you’re already an Inner Circle member, you could just log into the Inner Circle website. We’re discussing this topic all this week.
If you’re not a member, just go to TopSecrets.com/ic that’s TopSecrets.com/ic. You can sign up for the Inner Circle. It’s a month at a time. You could sign up for a month. You could sign up for a lifetime.
We have literally members of our Inner Circle who have been with us for more than 10 years. And they only do that because they’re getting what they’re looking for from it.
Jay: Yeah, and this week Alternatives to Cold Calling. How to make it a ping pong game, more than just a single player that you’re not having very much fun.
David: Yeah. Getting bombarded with ping pong balls. It’s not ideal.
Jay: That’s right. David. Thank you so much. It’s been a real pleasure.
David: Thank you, Jay.
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