It’s the end of a long day running your small business. You’ve put your feet up and the phone rings. Your anger rises as you realise it’s another salesperson wanting to sell you “Australia’s cheapest insurance”.
You’d be hard-pushed to find anyone who likes cold calls. Customers dislike receiving them. Then there are the poor souls whose job it is to ‘smile and dial’.
It’s amazing that while the internet has unleashed more effective marketing techniques, cold calls demonstrate remarkable staying power. Surely that must mean there are positives to offset their ability to irritate and annoy?
The positives of cold-calling
- Cheap set-up – all you need is a phone, a list of numbers, and a script
- Emotional connection – it’s easier to build rapport by phone than email
- Immediate feedback – even if it’s negative
- Faster responses – you can close the deal quickly if the customer bites
The negatives of cold calling
- Annoyed customers – most of them will resent being cold-called
- Low conversion rate – annoyed customers are more likely to say no than yes
- High burnout rate – staff who have to make cold calls don’t stick around for long
- Hard to scale – you can only make more calls if you invest in more staff
Is there a better way?
Cold calls are a form of outbound marketing. This is where the company initiates the conversation by sending its messages out to an audience.
The opposite technique is called inbound marketing. Here, you attract potential customers by providing them with useful and interesting content in the form of blogs, newsletters, social media posts and the like.
This type of small business marketing is incredibly effective when compared to the scattergun technique of cold-calling and its ilk. It generates more leads and sales, while requiring a whole lot less hustle and cash.
Also, it leaves your customers with a positive rather than a negative impression of your business.