At a company event, two engineers were elated to share that two of their dream clients had downloaded a lead-generation piece from the website. The company’s entire staff applauded the good news. In the next sentence, the engineers disclosed they had been hoping for an event like this for five years. If half a decade seems like a long time to wait to reach out to a prospective client, you and I are in wild agreement.
It turns out that the sales team had known the contact’s names long before they had downloaded the files. So why the wait? Lacking a sales culture, the company pursued a demurely inbound marketing approach. They believed that only savages would make any outbound attempt to proactively contact a decision-maker. Still lacking a meeting with either contact, they believed they were finally permitted to email them.
The Critical Importance of Outbound Cold Calling
At the start, we need to establish what exactly we do in sales. Yes, of course, we sell our products and services to our clients and customers. But why? We do so because it helps improve their results. Some time ago, it struck me that some people believe that sales is something you do to someone, likening it to a form of assault.
The truth is quite the opposite, as selling is something you do with and for your client.
There is never a reason to wait five years, five months, five days, or five minutes to reach out to a person you believe you can help. Those who wish to see their company's revenue grow must acquire new opportunities to fuel that growth. At the same time, the client who needs better results also benefits by acquiring your help. Some of what these companies need are the insights and perspective of a One-Up salesperson.
Proactively Helping Clients by Cold Calling
There are times when your dream client recognizes they have a problem or challenge that causes them to reach out to someone they believe can help. More often, however, the contact doesn't call because they haven't recognized they have a problem, or they have learned to live with it.
If you have ever asked a prospective client how long they have been experiencing a challenge, the number of months or years may shock you. By making a cold call and scheduling a meeting with your prospective client, you become the catalyst for change.
The cold call you make may be the single event necessary for the decision-maker and their teams to finally address a problem they have allowed to go on far too long.
Another reason to pursue cold calling is that you know your dream client has results that are not what they should be. You might also notice that some external force is causing companies to experience difficulty. By making an outbound cold call, you shorten the time it will take for your prospective clients to acquire the help they need.
Outbound Increases the Number and Quality of Your Opportunities
There are other benefits that accrue to salespeople and sales organizations that pursue an outbound cold calling approach. First, by using the synchronous medium that is the phone to schedule a meeting, you increase the number of meetings you book. More meetings result in more opportunities, and more opportunities provide more sales. This is more than enough reason to go outbound, but there is an even more important outcome.
Not only does cold calling increase the number of opportunities, but it also improves their quality. The largest and most desirable clients are known to you—and all your competitors. Your dream client is already being pursued by your competition. Your dream client doesn't need to call a company to ask for their help because they receive calls every day.
In a meeting with one of my clients, I learned something about competition. My client received two phone calls while I was in his office. He answered the calls on speakerphone so I could hear them. The first call was from a much larger company in my industry, asking for a meeting to discuss how they would be a better fit. The second time his phone lit up, it was another competitor, one that was even more aggressive. There’s no reason for any large, high-profile company to make calls to set up meetings with salespeople. Sellers using a proactive, outbound approach provide them plenty of options.
Outbound and Taking Control of Your Growth
The company story at the beginning of this post is true. By excluding outbound and cold calling, this company had very slow growth. And they had no control over their growth because they were patiently waiting for prospective clients to come to them. Growth is always faster and more certain when you can create the opportunities that can generate it.
The problem with waiting is that once your competitor acquires one of your dream clients, you are unlikely to displace them any time soon. Even in the commoditized industry I spent the most time in, we were able to keep clients for decades. For a proactive sales organization, this is great. But the organizations waiting around for an invitation can be locked out for longer than you might believe.
Without a conversation, you never know the status of a company or what they are experiencing, so it is imperative to talk with your future clients. Some of the time, your cold calling approach will catch the client at a time they are satisfied with their supplier and their results. But enough of the time, you will find decision makers and companies that are interested in a conversation. To control your growth, you need an outbound approach that includes a large amount of cold calling.