Cold calling is one of those business practices that is still rife in every industry. Of course it is – sales are needed to create revenue and cold calling is the strategy when you have a team of fresh faced cheap graduates to bring you those leads.

Data lists are getting cheaper as data sharing is becoming easier (despite some very stressed compliance directors attempting to prevent this). LinkedIn is a great tool to help you identify who to contact. Finally, the shift to be inbound focused means businesses are sharing more information about themselves than ever before – through news, social media and blog posts. Finding a targeted audience is easier than ever.

….Actually speaking to them on the other hand… is a different story. 

    • Cold Calling has a rate of less than 2% of phone calls resulting in a meeting (Leap Job)
    • In 2007 it took an average of 3.68 cold call attempts to reach a prospect. Today it takes 8 attempts.   [Source: TeleNet and Ovation Sales Group]

In my direct experience:

  • Several directors simply didn’t answer their phone to external numbers
  • Gatekeepers had a pre approved list of who to put through. Many would just tell you “they’re in a meeting” despite knowing that they will never take your call
  • Some departments had a special voicemail for “suppliers” where you could leave a voicemail and never be called back
  • When you did get through (probably 1 in 40 calls for me) – you’d be so surprised that you’re actually speaking to someone that it would mess up your opening statement and end up being a useless call anyway

Of course the argument is that there should be lots of other activities going on such as targeted email campaigns and relationship building to make each call a bit warmer however for the purpose of this post, lets focus purely on the cold calling activity.

Is there a better way to introduce your business and you as a sales representative? 

Of course there is, and I found it! 

Shortly before I left cold calling for the account management world I decided to attempt video messaging on the advice I received from a girl at Cisco. She worked in lead generation and was bringing in double the amount of leads in comparison to her colleagues. I had to give this a go.

So one Friday, I worked from home and spent the day making 30 different videos. They were tailored to each individual I contacted and would include things like:

  • a personal greeting
  • recognition of something they have done recently “I saw that XXX has had a huge revenue spike this year so thought I’d get in touch to see how you’re potentially re-investing some of that into your infrastructure”
  • Who I am and a short blurb about the business
  • Who else we work with in their industry and how we solved a problem for them
  • Call to Action – ask to meet, email, call etc.

I actually recorded the videos on my Macbook and added a company logo on iMovies and off they went. My boss was skeptical thinking that they were too large to send but I was amazed at the results.

Out of the 30 I sent, 5 bounced because they were too large. 11 responded saying thanks, but no thanks/try me again in 3 months. 7 requested a meeting!

Bearing in mind that my hit rate used to be 1 in 40 just for a pick up, I was amazed that spending some time actually tailoring a message and recording a short 1 minute video provided so much more success. In the space of 2 days, I had generated 7 immediate leads and 5 long term leads. Before, I would be lucky if I got through to 12 people in 2 days!

So what I’m trying to highlight is your sales teams should give this a go. There are a few tools on the web now that can assist and help you to be a little more intuitive:

MailVU– offer recordings of up to 10 Minutes, an address book, and a few options for $39.95 a month

Talk Fusion – $20 per month for 1000 Contacts. They also provide Custom Designed Templates that include your Company Logo, Pictures, and Slogan that will help you brand yourself more effectively

BombBomb – Around $35 after a free trial. Includes integration with CRM systems and the ability to measure the success of your campaign.

Remember to be presentable, concise and tailor your messaging to their industry issues. Think about what they’re going to be getting out of the call.

I would love to hear more success stories about video prospecting – do you have any to share? In this day and age, I’m amazed its not more widespread.