It’s 2016 and cold calling is a complete waste of time! (…80’s style).

Hitting the phones during “peak selling time” is so… old school. But back in the 80’s and 90’s what were the alternatives? Sales teams would pound the beat going door to door or grab the directories and hit the phones.

For the majority of people it’s a nightmare. Do you enjoy cold calling?

Let me ask you another question. Do you like being cold called? Probably not – so don’t do it to other people!

Here are three of my personal favourite highly effective strategies to generate leads and find new business without the dreaded cold calling.

Let’s start with these – see how you get on and then we’ll move on to more… it’s all about action, which you test and measure.

Go Networking

Let’s take this head on. I know the idea of walking into a room full of strangers can fill some people with fear and dread. Yet, the world over and regardless of industry or sector one truism remains constant; “People buy from people they know, like and trust”.

pasted-imageSo for people to get to know, like and trust you… you need to be visible and approachable. If you’re new to networking, don’t worry about perfecting your “pitch”.

Be yourself and at the same time be focused and know what you’re looking to achieve and the kind of people you’d like to help. * Note – I didn’t say the people you want to target or sell to – have the right mindset – be caring and helpful, this will make you more approachable and likeable too.

Go on-line and research. Find events where your existing and potential customers network and socialise. Ask existing clients where they go. Maybe even ask if they would allow you to go to the first meeting with them to break the ice.

Follow up conversations after meeting people with a phone call and an email – not one or the other – and do them in that order – call and email. Add further follow up notes and reminders to your database.

The more you do the easier and more enjoyable it becomes. The more consistent you are and the more you follow up – the more business it will produce. Test and measure.

Existing customers

Just as existing customers may be a source of information on networking events… they could easily be a direct source of leads too.

Think of the 6 clients you helped the most recently. What was their challenge, how did you solve their problem? What difference have you made to them or their business?

A call to these clients is definitely not a cold call.

Simple words can sometimes have the greatest impact. One such example is asking a happy customer for a small favour. Whenever you ask someone who knows, likes and trusts you for a favour the response is almost always a “yes”.

pasted-image-3Here’s how it works when you call a happy client (after the initial pleasantries of course);

“I wonder if you you could do me a small favour…? “

Their response will almost always be the same.”

“If I can of course I will, what is it?

“I wonder who you know just one person, who just like you, would benefit from our services in the way you have…”

This week – set aside time to call six happy clients and see how many leads you can generate. If you don’t ask… you know the rest.

You can either ask the client to make a call and introduce you or to email an introduction. Either way – when you call it’s a follow up of an introduction – not a cold call. Make your list, make your calls and test and measure the responses.

People who said no in the past

A no doesn’t always mean no forever. It might have been the wrong time before for all manner of reasons.

Now – don’t become a pain in the backside. If someone said no last week, I’m not suggesting you call them the following week to see if they’ll change their mind if you make a discounted offer. Don’t do that – that’s not what I mean.

I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve called somebody months, even years after they said no originally… to be greeted with;  “funny you should call, I was thinking of you last week…”  The timing could be perfect now – things change. Find a reason to call – something in the news that might affect them. A new product you think could help them. Show you care, show you are thinking of them and not just thinking what can sell to them. Make the calls, test and measure the response.

OK – I know I said three to start with, but here’s a bonus for you.

Joint ventures

Who has a list of the clients you’d like to work with? I don’t mean your direct competitors. That sounds like I’m suggesting industrial espionage.

For example an accountant may have a customer list that a solicitor might be relevant to. A travel agent may have a great list for a car hire firm etc.

Who would be a good candidate for you to conduct some joint venture marketing with. How could you add value to their list and visa versa. You are leveraging the trust in each other. Trust by association is a powerful thing.

Then – you have multiple choices.

Perhaps an email marketing campaign – they email their list recommending their clients speak to you and you do the same for them.  Or a specific telemarketing campaign – not cold calls with them introducing your offering.

Perhaps you put on a live event together where you invite your clients, they invite theirs. How could you add value to attendees?

I’m actually often asked to speak at such events. Now we have a win, win win…

Sales and marketing is the sexy end of business.  It will draw more people to an event for a bank or accountancy practice than a talk about new tax regulations!  So look for a common interest not just a sales pitch of your own products or services.

We all want more sales and more profits – so a talk on that topic helps anyone in business – now the bank and accountants have helped their clients and prospects and are seen in a good light for providing help and support. Conversations start, leads flow.

There you have it – I said three, but delivered four proven strategies for generating leads without cold calling – crack on!

Let me know in the comments below how you get on – be sure to test and measure your results and I’ll be happy to help you fine tune your approach in any area.

Steve

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