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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 or contacting people who already have some sort of a knowledge of you or relationship with you. In this context, social media is a great vehicle; however, it still takes time and must be done in the context of a marketing strategy. To spend time tweeting away hour after hour or playing around visiting everyone’s Facebook page is not going to get you anywhere but broke.

The solution lies in having a sound sales development strategy that is focused on your core prospects and then having as an incremental process (on your own time) a social media awareness that uses Linkedin, Facebook and Twitter. One very strict rule to keep in mind is that social media should occupy no more than 15 minutes per day and only in rare exceptions should you ever access Facebook or Linkedin during your normal workday. Twitter is an exception but only in rare circumstances that dictate the timely review or distribution of messages. Remember there are plenty of tweet tools you can use to send out tweets during the workday that you can pre-load, on your own time.

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6 thoughts on “Should Social Media Replace Cold-Calling?”

  1. Pingback: Tweets that mention Should Social Media Replace Cold-Calling? #fb -- Topsy.com

  2. Pingback: Are Cold Calls Really Dead? : Media Sales Today

  3. Mark,

    I’m pretty much agree, but there’s an aspect of “social media” that I think you missed – blogs. The day will soon come when EVERY sales rep has a blog. It too will be “in addition to,” not “instead of” current vehicles to communicate with customers and prospects. The 24 X 7 X 365 nature of the tools is too compelling to ignore.

    Todd

  4. Thanks for the comment Todd! You make a great clarification. I agree that blogs increasingly are one of the best avenues to not only share vital info, but also to learn. You’ve given me a good idea for a future blog posting… to differentiate blogs from other social media and how they can be used effectively! Thanks again…

  5. Richard Stewart

    Mr. Hunter,

    When you do create your next post, relating to blogging- I would greatly appriciate some insight into particular sources/sites… I have long been a blogger (at least since before it was called blogging, back in 1999 and 2000) though the nature of my posts was not at all related to sales- I was a high schooler exploring new social networks in the area of track and field…though the skills I learned there will prove invaluable and help me be expedient in my transformation to top biller at my current job, I don’t think the site (www.livejournal.com) is going to be nearly as helpful as one that I am undoubtedly missing.

    Don’t hesitate to e-mail me any suggestions- I’ll continue to check back with you but there is no need to wait for your next post to share this information- which is greatly appriciated.

  6. I agree that there is a growing place for blogs in the prospecting process. My question is how do you get decison makers who are time starved to stop their busy schedule long enough to read your blog?

    Thanks!
    Kenny

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