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.