Add it Up: Don’t Cold Call

Last week I attended a great webinar with Joanne Black and David Nour. These two are a dynamic duo for me in that they bring together years of experience in referral selling with years of experience in social media. The basic two compounds of the amalgam “Social Selling” (my baby)

So admittedly I was predisposed to like this webinar as I love the subject of sales people using social media to sell and especially the subject of sales people filling their sales pipeline more effectively using social media rather than volume cold calling – the “old smile and dial”.

But the bit of the webinar I want to share is not any of the nuggets of information Joanne or  David served up (and there were several of these) it is actually information from the audience. The information is from a couple of online polls Joanne and David carried out during the webinar.

Question #1: What’s Your Biggest Sales Challenge?

Poll Results

  • Getting the meeting at the level that counts (58%)
  • Converting prospects to customers (47%)

They we go again. The biggest sales challenge most attendees are having is “getting in”, aka starting the sales process in the first place. No surprise but here’s some actual data.

Buyers are getting more-and-more screened -harder to reach. Getting in their office in the first place is the biggest problem of all. 58% of the audience says their biggest problem is getting through the door at the very beginning of the sales cycle.

Question #2: When you get a Qualified Referral. How often do you close business?

Poll Results

  • 31 percent of you said over 50 % of the time
  • 30 percent of you said over 70 % of the time
  • 23 percent of you said over 90 % of the time

For those who have not absorbed their caffeine before reading this post: that means 84% of the audience says they close business 50% or more of the time they get a referral. Or 53% of the audience says they close business 70% or more of the time when they get a qualified referral.

Think about that versus volume cold calling. You can easily make 100 or 200 calls just to get a meeting. Then when you get a meeting there is less trust so your chance of closing business from that meeting is less than from a referral (from real world data I have seen in the field over 1.5 decades it takes about 7-10 meetings from volume cold calls to close a deal). So let’s look at that math for a mo. 100 calls for one meeting. 7 meetings for one deal. That’s 700 calls for one deal.

Let’s say in the referral approach it took your 3 calls to reach your prospect (conservative). 3 calls to get 1 meeting. And 84% of the time you need only 2 such meetings to get a deal. So now you’re making 6 calls to get a deal.

OK class, what’s 700/6? Well it’s 117. (OK I cheated and used a calculator but I’m tired today). What’s this tell us? You have to make 117 TIMES more phone calls to get a deal volume cold calling rather than referral selling.

117 times more phone calls. That’s a big multiple. (Huge actually).

Now I admit smiling-and-dialing is quicker than getting referrals. But the tools exist in a Sales 2.0 world to put getting referrals on steroids. So you can get referrals much more quickly than ever before. We call it “Social Calling”.

What do you think? Does this data make you wonder if “Social Calling” is smarter than smiling-and-dialing or do you prefer to keep to what you know?

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