It’s no secret that cold calls are becoming less and less effective everyday. Yet, it’s still something that sales managers are pushing their reps to do and something that is used as a measurement for success. When we asked sales professionals what their thoughts were on cold calling, the sentiment that cold calling was dying came out loud and clear. Here are some of the stats to support it:
- 35% of Sales Professionals say cold calling is less effective now than just 3 years ago
- 64% of Sales Professionals say cold calling hasn’t improved at all in that time
- 64% of Sales Professionals didn’t know if it was currently effective or not. Hmm…
It’s time to change our thinking. It’s time to admit that in today’s economy, we need to be willing to depart from traditional and conventional rules and do something different. We can no longer rely on the old school sales tactics that we see in movies like Boiler Room or Glengarry Glen Ross. Instead, we must focus on what we’ve always known to be the most effective way to drive success.
Relationships. Any sales professional worth their weight in nickels would agree that referrals and introductions are a key part of business success. We already know that our buyers rely on their colleagues, partners, friends and acquaintances to recommend service providers and business solutions. Thus, we need to actively look to tap into our networks and generate introductions.
So how do we do it? How do we start to generate strong referrals from our existing clients, previous employers and existing relationships? Here are a few tried and tested ideas to get you started:
Do Some of the Heavy Lifting
What would you say if one of your connections sent you an email that read, “Hey would you mind sending me a few referrals?” Sure, it would depend on who the connection was but if you didn’t know them very well, it would be important to get some context. Sadly, this is the approach too many of us take when looking for an intro.
Instead of simply asking for an introduction, add some specifics and context to your request. Do a little bit of the heavy lifting and look through their contacts to determine who it is you want to be connected with. And if you’re looking to be introduced to a wide range of people, give a description of the type of person you would like to be introduced to and what specific value you think you can add.
Start Treating Vendors Like Partners
Establishing strong business relationships is the first step to being able to generate introductions. When we talk about relationships in sales, the mind tends to always shift towards the relationships we have with our customers. As a result, we forget about one of the most important relationships we have; our vendors.
The first step to strengthening vendor relationships is to stop calling them vendors. Instead, you should refer to them as partners and while they might look like vendors on paper, calling them partners sets up a different expectation on both sides of the table. It’s a simple language change in which you state that you work with XYZ instead of XYZ works for you. See the difference?
Add Value to Your Network Online & Offline
People want to share value with their network. If you’re someone who is seen as an expert in a specific field, you have a sense of credibility associated with your name. It’s more comfortable for someone giving you an introduction to reach out to someone if they can reference your skills or the value you’ve added to their life.
For example, if you were to blog about your industry on a regular basis, it’s easier for someone to introduce you. Why? Well, they could start the email with something along the lines of: “I’ve found Janet’s blog extremely helpful over the last few months and think you could benefit from her expertise in XYZ.” That automatically gives you a bit of credibility and increases the chance of getting a response.
These are just three ways to become more referable. Let these suggestions help kick start your referral program and watch the impact meaningful relationships can have on your business.
When you focus on providing value and giving people respect, you’re able to build and establish stronger relationships. Strong relationships are the backbone of receiving more introductions and this, in turn, can translate into exponential growth as it relates to your business and new opportunities.