Has social media replaced cold calling?

Local Growth Hub advisor Chris Roxburgh, marketing consultant and Business Coach, on the power of social media

Social media is, slowly but surely, replacing cold calling in the business world. Through social selling, companies are now replacing their cold calling and telephone selling. Here’s why:

Ignoring Calls
With caller display, more and more people understand that the only calls they get where the caller id is hidden usually come from cold callers. As a result,  most senior executives agree that they would rarely, if ever, respond to cold calls. This is why cold calling is becoming ever more difficult.

So how do we, as business owners, overcome this problem? Here are some thoughts:

LinkedIn Populations
Currently, there are millions of professionals on LinkedIn. So, what does this mean for your business? Using this social media platform, you should be able to reach just about anyone who is on LinkedIn. This can be done indirectly through a connection (such as teamlink) or directly through groups and inmails.

Estimates vary but the UK has a high LinkedIn penetration of between 17 and 20 million business people and professionals, which is just about 27% of the total population on the social media platform.

LinkedIn Performance
According to the Social Media and Sales Quota Survey, 78% of the salespeople who use such social media sites as LinkedIn tend to outsell their peers. This simply means that your company is 5 times more likely to reschedule that elusive first meeting if it has a personal connection via LinkedIn.

Knowledge Gathering
Using LinkedIn you can learn just about everything you may want to know about the people you wish to do business with, and vice versa. Your potential clients can check out who you are and decide whether they wish to do business with you. To this end, they will typically look at your:

•    Profile
If you have no photo, and your connections are less than 100, then this will adversely affect your credibility in the eyes of your potential clients. Take time to ensure that your profile is both relevant and engaging to your visitors, and don’t fall into the trap of believing that visitors are interested in a long history of what you have done – they are interested in what you can do for them….now!

•    Summary
The summary needs to be a convincing sales letter. What can you do for them? You may lose opportunities if it is all about you and you will be surprised by the positive responses if you write with your visitor (potential client) in mind.

•    Connections
If you have a lot of connections you are likely to be connected to some of the same people as your visitors. When this happens they have the opportunity to ask these common connections about you and will feel reassured.

•    Your Content Marketing Strategy
Without recent updates and a regular contribution, most of your potential leads will be unable to find out as much about you as they can with your competitors so they may not consider you.

Consequently, it is important to ensure that all the above check out before you start marketing your brand, company, products and/or service through LinkedIn. This is the best way to attract and encourage potential visitors to do business with you.

Purchasing Decision
According to an IDC survey, 84% of senior executives and 75% of B2B buyers said that they use social media to form and make their purchasing decisions. And 56% of those surveyed agreed that they decided to buy even before they had met the contact.

Social Sells
This simply means that even before you meet your potential leads, they will already have done their research and decided whether or not they could do business with you. The success of the transaction will now depend on the pricing, the rapport that you will build and your relationship because people will still buy people first.

In conclusion, it could be argued that social media in general and LinkedIn in particular have already replaced cold calling as a means of generating new business. If you have not started actively promoting your business selling on social networks have a look and see what your competitors are up to.

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