Historically, the bane of every sales person’s existence is the cold call. I would like to postulate that the end of the cold call is approaching due to the power of social media.
Today via LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and other social media environments, a sales or marketing professional has access to data which historically cost thousands of dollars a year, if it was available at all. For example, these days if I search within LinkedIn for people with the title of “Marketing Manager,” I can quickly identify over 314,000 people. Now, if I add the industry “hospitality,” I can drill down to over 3,000 marketing managers. For each of these key potential buyers of my services, I am able to see a brief summary of their background, who they work for, and who they work with.
With this information, instead of making a cold call, I can identify those “marketing managers” in the “hospitality” industry who already have a relationship with someone I know, and I can use that connection to ask for a referral. But that’s not all. Even in the case of prospects with whom I don’t have a personal connection–I have valuable information about them and the ability to Google their company and learn more. I can even formulate a highly targeted email on LinkedIn “InMail” to introduce my company and services. Twenty years ago I would have paid hundreds of dollars for a lead of this quality with this collection of information.
The hardest part of a cold call is the constant rejection–a very small percentages of calls will result in sales. But the beauty of social media selling is that the process is semi-anonymous. While many of my email or social media approaches to prospects will go unanswered, the process is less stressful than the dreaded cold call.
To take advantage of the huge landscape of social media, begin by profiling your current customers and creating personas you can search for. Chances are there are more than you think; resources waiting to be tapped. Step up–now is the time to embrace the power of social media and graduate from cold calling to warm prospecting.