Over the years I’ve developed a framework for making prospecting calls more effective. I call this framework “social calling”.
The three elements of the framework are: (1) having clean contact data, (2) leveraging trigger events and (3) using relationships. I’ve covered the first two elements in the two previous posts. Now I’m going to go over the one that makes the biggest difference, relationships.
You are not alone
As I’ve mentioned in a previous post, there’s a professor of psychology at Oxford University called Robin Dunbar and he conducted some research on how many relationships we all have. He figured out that we have on average 150 relationships we can maintain.
The exciting outcome from this information from sales people is that if you know 150 people and each of your contacts knows 150 people then you can be referred to 150 x 150 people = 22,500 people.
There are likely 22,500 that you can be referred to and don’t need to cold call. You can get a warm introduction to these people by going to one of your friends and asking your friend to introduce you.
Linkedin connecting stuff
You can find these 22,500 people on Linkedin by searching for people that meet your prospect profile. When you see that they are a “2nd degree connection” (with “2nd” by them in their Linkedin profile) that means they are connected to the people you are connected to on Linkedin.
You don’t have to use a fancy LinkedIn Inmail to contact them either (and pay Linkedin for that privilege). You just ask your friend via a regular email or a phone call “do you actually, know Joe Smith. I see Joe Smith is your second-degree connection on Linkedin”. I find that about 50% of the time people do and you can ask for an introduction. (To make it easier you can send your friend a template email to use to make the intro.)
If you do this, you’ll have a huge success rate of over 50% in getting an intro. (Versus 1 in 330 or 1 in 100 via a cold call.)
Use your capital
Why does that work? It works because when your friend introduces you there is a transfer of trust or “social capital”. When somebody introduces you, it changes the whole game as the person being approached now has skin in the game.
If I introduce you to my friend, Richard, and I’m at the next networking event or I’m at the next barbeque and I see Richard and I say “how did you get on with my friend Alex”. And Richard says “oh, I didn’t take his call” then Richard does not look good to me. I introduced two friends and my buddy over here Richard couldn’t even be bothered to connect with you.
So, Richard knows that if he doesn’t make the connection, he’s not going to look good to me and that doesn’t make him feel good. So, he has “social capital” at stake in taking your call.
Now the person selling and the person buying have something at stake. Hence the odds of that connection happening increase dramatically.
In general, LinkedIn is the great tool for this, I call it a mapping tool. It’s a bit like Google Maps for the “social graph” (that’s Mark Zuckerberg’s term for all the relationship connections between us). Linkedin allows you to shine a light on who knows who and get the introductions from there.
If you want to make getting appointments much easier and especially when you need to crack into big companies, get yourself some referrals. It’s way more efficient than cold calling and it’s way more fun.