Direct Marketing Article
Should Social Media Replace Cold-Calling?
By Mark Hunter
People continue to say how cold-calling is dead and how in today's
environment, it no longer can be cost justified. The answer in my book is
both "yes" and "no." Let me deal with the "no" first.
In the past few months, I've watched numerous salespeople shift all of their
prospecting efforts to developing social media with such vehicles as
Linkedin, Twitter and Facebook. The problem with this is it becomes a giant
time sucker. The payout of social media in terms of developing sales
short-term is very poor.
To develop a social media strategy requires time, and I'm a firm believer it
must be incremental time. You can't allow it to take away from your current
sales development strategy. Now, I'm astute enough to know that this may
change, but we're not there yet. Salespeople who spend their time dealing in
the social media world at the expense of time spent on normal sales
development do so at great expense.
Now let me give you a "yes" response to the use of social media and
cold-calling. First, keep in mind that cold-calling is rarely as cold as the
term implies. Unless you're still living in the world of selling via a phone
bank sweatshop, then you understand that cold-calling is really more about
warm-calling. More often than not, you are contacting people who already
have some sort of knowledge of you or relationship with you. In this
context, social media is a great supplemental vehicle – one that must be
handled in the context of a marketing strategy. To spend time tweeting away
hour after hour or visiting everyone's Facebook page is not going to get you
anywhere but broke.
The solution exists in having a sound sales development strategy that is
focused on your core prospects. As an incremental process (on your own
time), develop a social media awareness with Linkedin, Facebook and Twitter.
A key part of your sales development strategy needs to include keeping your
web presence tight and focused. Don't be easily swayed into believing that
your best approach is to be part of every social media website available. If
you can't be a strong presence, don't go there. What I mean by a "strong
presence" is that you are an active player who can contribute or monitor the
site at least four times per week. For me, this means the only social media
sites I use are Twitter, Linkedin, and Facebook.
One very strict rule to keep in mind is that social media should occupy no
more than 15 minutes per day. Only in rare exceptions should you ever access
Facebook or Linkedin during your normal workday. Twitter is an exception,
but only to the degree that you can have a timely review and distribution of
messages. Fortunately, there are plenty of apps you can use to automatically
send out pre-loaded tweets during the workday.
Social media has a role in your sales strategy, but not to the abandonment
of time-tested elements such as cold-calling and meeting face-to-face with
customers. Begin today to grasp this so that you do not jeopardize your
About the Author:
Mark Hunter, "The Sales Hunter," is a sales expert who speaks to thousands
each year on how to increase their sales profitability. For more
information, to receive a free weekly email sales tip, or to read his Sales
Motivation Blog, visit
www.TheSalesHunter.com. You can also follow him on Twitter
Hunter), and on his Facebook Fan Page,