Alternatives to Cold Calling

20 replies
Alot of people say that cold calling isnt the most effective way to generate prospects for your offline business... Fair enough.

What are the better ways?

What are some of the alternatives to cold calling that you use to generate incoming inquiries from offline customers!

I know a couple of you have brilliant ones . For instance; writing authority books is a way to generate excellent incoming leads...

It would be fascinating to hear more ideas about this subject,in a thread thats about this subject.

So in short; What are some alternatives to cold calling that generate consistent customers for your offline business?

Thanks
#alternatives #calling #cold
  • Profile picture of the author kingofthesouth
    Postcard marketing is great. I have generated hundreds of leads and sales from postcard mailings.
    There are companies that will design and ship out your cards to your list. Some companies even have specific lists you can use to generate new customers.
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  • Profile picture of the author John Durham
    Okay,I guess it is only appropriate for me to offer a contribution... Many moons ago, I put out an employment opportunity, offering thousands of people a chance to make money selling webpages.

    I trained the new recruits online, and made hundreds of sales... what's more,is that each of them were advertising their affiliate pages all over the place, plastering the search engines with listings for and about our business... without any effort on my part,creating incoming leads.

    I'm not going to go into a bunch of details about that business and open a can of worms that requires 50 posts to explain and defend...,but you get the general idea: "Bird Dogs" (Offline Affiliates) are an excellent way to bring incoming prospects and sales,also to get your business exposed on search engines big time!

    In other words "Be An Opportunity Creator"
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    • Profile picture of the author Claude Whitacre
      My last several years selling in people's homes, I didn't cold call at all. Of course, I spent most of 35 years knocking on doors, so it's not like it didn't pay.

      But I would call past customers on the phone to offer a free inspection/tune up/service on what they already had. Eventually, I also called the past customers of other dealers that sold what I sold. And then I would call the customers of dealers that sold a different brand than I did. Again, offering a free in home inspection/tune up/ service.

      Why? Because these people already proved, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that they would buy from a guy coming to their home. This was, as I discovered, the easiest 6% of the population to sell. Sometimes I would go a month, with daily sales, selling everyone I presented to. It ws the quality of the leads, and how I managed them, rather than any great skill I had in closing.

      This is pretty advanced selling. But boy...it sure paid off.

      The problem with this, and every other form of prospecting, except cold calling...is that I always had a limited list to call, even if it was in the hundreds. It wasn't an unlimited list. There were down times, when I had to seek out another source of customers.

      Of course, an obvious alternative to cold calling is selling by referral. Most (certainly more than 98%) of salespeople never gain the skill to keep that referral pipeline full. I was/am great at it, but there are still times you need a different source. Working referrals exclusively, you eventually suffer from "referral incest" where people in the same groups are referring the same people to you. The "seeing past customers of other dealers" certainly helped.

      If you use marketing; postcards, advertising, incoming calls from videos, Facebook ads, Adwords, radio...etc. The problem is always that you aren't in direct control of how busy you are. You have to wait for the call.

      Of course, some people can get enough flow this way, that they can start getting picky.

      But cold calling gets you in front of people (or gets you sales from people) that you would never see otherwise. It's the source for new blood.

      And for this reason, when I had reps working for me, these was always a cold calling component to our prospecting.

      When I hear people say that they never cold call, and only work incoming leads, my thought is (right or wrong) "what do you do with your down time?"



      Originally Posted by joe golfer View Post

      Public speaking is powerful as long as you use it right to establish authority, advance sales and create publicity. It's also a lot of fun and helps you meet like-minded entrepreneurs.
      I cannot imagine a more profitable way to sell your service to business owners. If I were to be more active today, I would go back to that. Most profit per hour of any activity I've ever done.
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  • Profile picture of the author joe golfer
    Public speaking is powerful as long as you use it right to establish authority, advance sales and create publicity. It's also a lot of fun and helps you meet like-minded entrepreneurs.
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  • Profile picture of the author John Durham
    Another thing to do is write a helpful free report on how to say "start an email funnel"...then offer readers an opportunity (link) to have their email funnel built by you, if it sounds like too much work to set up on their own....

    Give away hundreds of reports and generate a few customers every week.

    For a business owner, you might offer an email series on how to "harness your customers with an opt in form" (Maybe they will want YOU to manage their email list after reading it....)

    This could apply to any subject from email funnels to "how to successfully market your website" (parlaying into SEO work...)

    I have gotten a ton of work and lucrative projects from establishing authority on a subject in an article or report. It is an excellent way to create incoming business.

    Note: If you can "Video Tape" a great public speaking engagement,that was effective,and use it over and over again... All the better!
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    • Profile picture of the author Claude Whitacre
      About ten years ago, I read a full page story in the Akron Ohio newspaper (800,000 circulation) about how online advertising helped and hurt local businesses. The person being interviewed was selling SEO services.

      The story cost him nothing, but I know I wasn't the only person to call him. And I was calling to buy.

      The problem was, he didn't know how to sell, so I ended up not buying from him, and soon after, decided to go into business myself.

      If the newspaper isn't interested in your story, buy ad space. They will be interested then.
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      • Profile picture of the author John Durham
        Originally Posted by Claude Whitacre View Post

        About ten years ago, I read a full page story in the Akron Ohio newspaper (800,000 circulation) about how online advertising helped and hurt local businesses. The person being interviewed was selling SEO services.

        The story cost him nothing, but I know I wasn't the only person to call him. And I was calling to buy.

        The problem was, he didn't know how to sell, so I ended up not buying from him, and soon after, decided to go into business myself.

        If the newspaper isn't interested in your story, buy ad space. They will be interested then.
        Awesome contribution!

        Yes. When these leads come in we have to know how to close them, for sure.
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  • Profile picture of the author John Durham
    So far we have

    1: Public Speaking
    2: Authority Reports
    3: Postcard Marketing
    4: Offline Affiliates
    5: Referrals...

    Let's keep em coming...
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    • Profile picture of the author kevin timothy
      Originally Posted by John Durham View Post

      So far we have

      1: Public Speaking
      2: Authority Reports
      3: Postcard Marketing
      4: Offline Affiliates
      5: Referrals...

      Let's keep em coming...
      Have you considered using dropcards?
      The have to be done in bulk (like postcards) to work.

      Eye catching, curiousity, high converting online form.

      Attraction marketing in general - if executed properly - will beat
      out cold calling.
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      Your Funnel is Waiting. Fill It With Unlimited Leads
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  • Profile picture of the author John Durham
    It's also important to note that when you write an"Authority Report" you need to be doing a certain amount of selling and encouraging in it...


    Just giving them the facts and valuable information isnt enough to make it an effective advertising strategy. You have to write the information in a way that makes them excited about doing it...,and makes them want to take action.

    Learning to sell is important in all aspects of marketing. At some point, you must evoke emotion, not just relay information.
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    • Profile picture of the author quadagon
      Originally Posted by John Durham View Post

      It's also important to note that when you write an"Authority Report" you need to be doing a certain amount of selling and encouraging in it...


      Just giving them the facts and valuable information isnt enough to make it an effective advertising strategy. You have to write the information in a way that makes them excited about doing it...,and makes them want to take action.

      Learning to sell is important in all aspects of marketing. At some point, you must evoke emotion, not just relay information.
      I come across this a lot with business owners who want to create kindle books.

      The key to a successful lead gen kindle book is to have it presell for you. To do this effectively you need to understand the medium. There is some variance but essentially people buy books to read stories so tell them.

      Provide case studies and testimonials.

      Pro tip. Provide case studies and testimonials that reinforce your USP but also handle objections.

      Provide them with enough knowledge so that they can do the job themselves but with the lingering though that it might be easier/quicker/cheaper to hire someone.

      Now who could they hire?

      Now provide them with a unique web address or telephone number so you know who you are dealing with.

      Edit

      A really important factor as well is to repell people who aren't your ideal customer. If you have a starting price of £2,000 let that be known in the book. Show why it wasn't an issue for customers x,y, and z.

      This way you should attract ideal customers and repell those that wouldn't fit your business.
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  • Profile picture of the author quadagon
    Media Appearance

    Getting in or on the media (for the right reasons) can be massive for companies. We had a client who we placed on local radio, local TV and in the local papers.

    The key is to tie the appearance to a story so you are not just trying to spam the airwaves.

    An example would be with the mobilegeddon that was feared from Google. We put a web designer everywhere we could for a short spell to talk about how businesses are missing out on mobile £'s.

    The downside is that this is shorttermism but its highly effective.

    Another bonus is if you are articulate the media will have you back. This web designer now writes a weekly column in his local rag.

    I'd also thought I'd throw in a couple of campaigns business can run into of cold calling.

    Warm(ish)Leads

    It's hard to classify some of these as warm but they are at least not cold calling:

    Existing Customers

    A must campaign in my eyes. What can you upsells or x-sell to your existing clients. Chances are you attempted these when they first became clients but don't let that stop you - Business/customer needs change. Oh and of course you are no longer a stranger.

    Lapsed Customers

    This works better in price sensitive markets like insurance. Just because you were too expensive for them last time doesn't mean you will be this time. If you've kept good records you will also have the advantage of knowing why they left and the previous price points.

    Enquiries

    We're getting colder but calling people who've had quotes from you in the past for your product or service. Again with good record keeping you can be prearmed going into the call.

    Webquotes

    With a little technical wizardry you can call people who visit your website. Generally this can be split into the following campaigns.

    *Took the policy (chance to upsells and xsell)
    * Quoted but no sale
    * Incomplete quote

    Email

    Again with a bit of technology you can see when an email has been opened and more importantly if a link is clicked. In a sales sense this gives you a great window of opportunity.

    To go back to the web designer he had a web form one option was for an demo. The visitor placed their existing URL into the field and the website mobilised it.

    The visitor was sent an email with a link to a virtual mobile site. Once they clicked the link he knew about it. Waited a few minutes and called.
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    I've got 99 problems but a niche ain't one
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  • Profile picture of the author John Durham
    Excellent!!
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  • Profile picture of the author animal44
    As you'll all know I'm a fan of JVs, so I won't mention them... Doh!

    How about writing a regular column in a newspaper.
    Why will people positively recommend your business? - Small Business - NZ Herald News
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  • Profile picture of the author AmericanMuscleTA
    Surprisingly, to me,... Facebook.

    I'm not a big fan of social media, but my sister recently opened up a new take-out restaurant, and Facebook had been her main source of getting her name out there. I keep telling her she needs to advertise in the local paper, send out flyers, you know... the usually stuff, but she just keeps at it on Facebook.

    Heck, I was there yesterday and there was a couple, who lives down the street, who stopped in and ordered. 2 hours later my sister told me they left raving review on Facebook.

    And, a lot of her customers have said they saw her on Facebook so they wanted to give it a try. Amazing.

    As much as I hate to admit it... Facebook does work.


    And here I am trying to get rid of my Facebook.
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  • Profile picture of the author sdentrepreneur
    Most of my success, is treating myself like my client. This is what works for me.

    1. Facebook Ads
    2. Google Adwords
    3. Content Marketing - Blogs, Videos, Press Releases
    4. Public Speaking (saw that posted already)
    5. Social Media Marketing, use my personal page and Facebook Groups. Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram.
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  • Profile picture of the author umc
    I guess this goes along with referrals, but if done right you don't even have to ask for them. Under-promise and over-deliver and you'll have raving fans of your product/service that can't help but tell others about you without any prompting.
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    • Profile picture of the author Claude Whitacre
      Originally Posted by umc View Post

      I guess this goes along with referrals, but if done right you don't even have to ask for them. Under-promise and over-deliver and you'll have raving fans of your product/service that can't help but tell others about you without any prompting.
      But that isn't a system. It helps dramatically, if you get the name of the referral, have the client call for you, and then you call the referral after they tell their friend that they will talk to you.


      Yes, giving great service is key.....but you can multiply your referral business if you just take control of it. I used to use a business card that said, "By Referral Only". Getting referrals, having your client introduce you to the referral, and proper follow up, is a system...complete with timing, scripts, answers to objections, and when to ask for referrals.

      Working referrals is a sales skill in itself. It's the hardest to teach, because it isn't as overt as the rest of the sale. Getting referrals isn't a favor the client does for you. Referrals are a favor you do for your client. And positioning it that way makes a world of difference.

      Honest guys, this is how the top 1% sell.
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  • Profile picture of the author John Durham
    Indeed. My true sales comrade Claude Whitacre has made the distinction between "something that works", and a "system", or "something that can be systematized and scaled upon predictably".

    Even I myself have made contributions that "work", here and there.

    What is the idea that works, outside of cold calling, which produces consistently and predictably and scale-ably?

    It's the definition of all of my unique work on the Warrior Forum; the difference between a "technique" ( that sometimes works) and a scale-able :system, that works without question, day in and day out, in a predictable manner.

    Please tell me..."Us".

    What would you bet your ass on, tomorrow?
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  • Profile picture of the author bizgrower
    The Body Shop constantly donated/sponsored charities.
    The Body Shop | About us | Dame Anita Roddick
    Phenomenal rate of return on their investment.

    I was on our town's Promotion Committee, which led to us becoming the host hotel
    for a lot of events and getting our name out there on the websites for the events, and
    in the related publicity the event promoters do.

    I called dispatch and donated 7 rooms for three days when there was a large condo fire
    in town. So the people displaced that night, the police, the firemen and so on all remembered
    that for years.

    I donate rooms for charity raffles. Free publicity via the charity's promotional efforts.
    Sometimes the winners never even claim the room. If they do claim their prize,
    it actually costs about $12 to rent and clean a room.

    I could be different because I run a service business, but constantly doing these types of
    things does pay off for my business. I should be tracking more than the mental notes and
    guesstimating that I do, but I'm spread a little thin with everything it takes to run and improve
    this place.

    Next steps will be to systematically keep in touch with customers with special offers
    or touches such as Birthday wishes.

    Go after select long term business. Maybe. There is a housing shortage here, There are also
    many long term construction type of projects. I might go for some of the project supervisors,
    safety managers, or engineers - the people who will behave themselves while staying here
    long term and for a slight discount. Maybe not because I'm more interested in making this a
    place where people like to come because it is quiet and comfortable.

    Go after tourist related groups via Facebook and YouTube, etc.

    All in all, about 7 or 8 marketing legs (aka sales funnels) should lead to above average revenues and occupancy.

    Sometimes it takes more analytical or different thinking, and it's taken me a while to figure it out
    for this hotel. Taking advantage of what is or can be unique about us. We had someone nibble at buying it. He asked typical hotelier questions about getting trucker's business because we are
    close to a highway. We are not close enough to the highway, and not good for parking big rigs. Not really our best market anyway, IMO. We can be more of a retreat/vacation destiny.

    A couple of years ago we thought $500,000 per year was fantastic - almost unbelievably.
    We will probably hit $600,000 this year. I can actually see hitting close to $1,000,000 per year
    via full implementation of the sales funnels we could utilize.

    Dan
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