Sales Tip - Should Social Media Replace Cold Calling?
People continue to say how cold-calling is dead and how in today's environment, it no longer can be cost justified. The answer in my book is both "yes" and "no." Let me deal with the "no" first.
In the past few months, I've watched numerous salespeople shift all of their prospecting efforts to developing social media with such vehicles as Linkedin, Twitter and Facebook. The problem with this is it becomes a giant time sucker. The payout of social media in terms of developing sales short-term is very poor.
To develop a social media strategy requires time, and I'm a firm believer it must be incremental time. You can't allow it to take away from your current sales development strategy. Now, I'm astute enough to know that this may change, but we're not there yet. Salespeople who spend their time dealing in the social media world at the expense of time spent on normal sales development do so at great expense.
Now let me give you a "yes" response to the use of social media and cold-calling. First, keep in mind that cold-calling is rarely as cold as the term implies. Unless you're still living in the world of selling via a phone bank sweatshop, then you understand that cold-calling is really more about warm-calling. More often than not, you are contacting people who already have some sort of knowledge of you or relationship with you. In this context, social media is a great supplemental vehicle -- one that must be handled in the context of a marketing strategy. To spend time tweeting away hour after hour or visiting everyone's Facebook page is not going to get you anywhere but broke.
The solution exists in having a sound sales development strategy that is focused on your core prospects. As an incremental process (on your own time), develop a social media awareness with Linkedin, Facebook and Twitter.
A key part of your sales development strategy needs to include keeping your web presence tight and focused. Don't be easily swayed into believing that your best approach is to be part of every social media website available. If you can't be a strong presence, don't go there. What I mean by a "strong presence" is that you are an active player who can contribute or monitor the site at least four times per week. For me, this means the only social media sites I use are Twitter, Linkedin, and Facebook.
One very strict rule to keep in mind is that social media should occupy no more than 15 minutes per day. Only in rare exceptions should you ever access Facebook or Linkedin during your normal workday. Twitter is an exception, but only to the degree that you can have a timely review and distribution of messages. Fortunately, there are plenty of apps you can use to automatically send out pre-loaded tweets during the workday.
Social media has a role in your sales strategy, but not to the abandonment of time-tested elements such as cold-calling and meeting face-to-face with customers. Begin today to grasp this so that you do not jeopardize your sales success.
Source: Sales/marketing consultant Mark Hunter