Cold calls to consumers have declined and businesses have become more effective at screening cold calls. However, for many startups, cold calling can still generate revenue and open doors to prospective business clients and suppliers.
Cold calling conjures up images of banks of telesales staff remorselessly parroting scripts while making telephone calls to a list of prospects. Often viewed as a marketing dinosaur, cold calling has been largely overlooked by pay-per-click and social media marketing.
Cold calling definition – what is cold calling?
Cold calling is straightforward. As a business, you can call any publicly listed phone number that has not opted out of telemarketing calls. It’s used by reputable businesses to sell everything from broadband packages to introducing business-to-business services to other companies.
Costs can be cheap. All you need is a phone and a list of customers to call. Alternatively, you can outsource calls to a telemarketing service.
The main focus of a cold call is to talk with a key decision-maker about your products and services. A successful outcome may be a sale over the phone or arranging a face-to-face meeting. It doesn’t always have to be sales-led. Market research firms use telemarketing as a quick way to survey people.
For many businesses, using cold calling, social media, and email collectively are far more effective to use to connect to customers. According to research by LinkedIn, fewer than 2% of cold calls result in a meeting, and the cost per lead is around 60% more than other channels such as email and social media. Only 2% of customers typically list the phone as being their preferred method of being contacted. However, with the right cold caller, you can convert at a much higher rate as seen in this cold calling case study.
Why use cold calling?
With so much controversy around cold calling, you may wonder why use it at all? Yet, cold calling does have its place. With enough calls, that 2% response rate can turn into a good number of customers, especially with a large lead list created. Even if one call in 50 gets your new business in front of a potential client, it could be the start of a profitable business relationship.
It’s also a good way to get immediate feedback on an idea or product pitch and to quickly decide if a prospective client is worth pursuing. While email is easily ignored, at least a strong ‘not interested’ on a call lets you move on to other prospective clients.
The following tips can help you make cold calling an effective marketing tool for your business.
1. Identify your target market
You’ll have a greater chance of success if