Cold calling is a term synonymous with selling. The thought of contacting potential prospects with whom there has been no prior communication is unsettling to many marketing students who want to avoid a sales job requiring cold calling at all costs. It is understandable – asking total strangers to consider buying a product is not exactly consistent with relationship selling practices students learn. While many sales pros have made their fortune because of their ability to cold call, the long-term goal of salespeople should be to turn up the heat on cold calling so that reliance on it is minimal.
Sales expert Jeffrey Gitomer offers 7.5 “one a day” strategies that if practiced eliminate the need for cold calling and are 10 times more effective than making dreaded cold calls. The three ideas I like most are:
- Visit one customer a day – Too often we are so focused on making sales that we do not devote enough time to building relationships that drive future sales and referrals.
- Give one referral a day – When salespeople think about referrals it is usually in terms of how can we get customers to refer people to us. Add a twist to your thinking about referrals and commit to giving one referral a day – promote the good work of your clients by sending business their way.
- Attend one face-to-face networking event a day – Salespeople are in the relationship business. You cannot form relationships sitting in your office or driving around in your car. Be intentional in putting yourself in situations that enable you to meet other people.
Check out all 7.5 strategies in Gitomer’s article. His recommendations are a mix of old school relationship building and new media savvy. Leave cold calling to the salespeople unwilling to make the needed effort to build relationships with current and future customers.