There’s a reason telemarketers became targets for the government and the public at large – people don’t like cold calls. What was once a valuable sales tool is now widely viewed as an intrusion. While many services will continue to offer real estate companies call lists and scripts for cold calling, the fact is that cold-calling can be random and any good results can be just good luck. Luck always runs out, and can lead to frustrations about why a tried-and-true method can have such inconsistent results.
Today, the most effective way to do business is to have customers and clients call YOU. Think of cold- calling as an old-timey hand cart – it’s outmoded, outdated and requires you to do all the grunt work. A good marketing plan should work without you! When you’re out with clients, when you’re out of the office, a great marketing plan should still be attracting new clients and customers – a little initial effort, but then you get to focus on your current clients.
This isn’t to say cold calling can’t work – but it can be mind-numbing, tedious and unwelcome. Once you’ve set up an effective website, email campaigns, mailers, social media – you will be amazed at the freedom that comes from letting all of those media do their jobs. The hours spent cold-calling could be better used coming up with content that will attract customers on its own, and attract more people that individual calls ever could. Take that time and write a news article, plan a great open house, shoot a video, launch a hashtag campaign or survey for social media – something that will bring people to you and instantly boost your credibility and demonstrate expertise, rather than trying to spread yourself around to large groups.
While cold calls may still be effective for certain people in certain markets, generally speaking you shouldn’t engage in any marketing practice that doesn’t multiply itself. Creative advertising multiplies itself exponentially, with regard to time and money spent. Cold calls generally don’t even pay for themselves, much less multiply themselves.
When businesses focus on casting these wider nets – thought leadership, social media, effective websites – these low-cost lead generators can offer returns of 30 or 50 to one on each marketing dollar spent. Also, it allows you to place greater focus on the actual clients. Automation is liberating – whether it’s setting up recorded messages, websites or mailers – delegation and outsourcing can be the life blood for a successful enterprise. Rely on someone else’s expertise, while you seek to bolster and publicize yours.
Once you’ve figured out how to juggle all the clients who are eventually clamoring for your established expertise, the focus should then be on using your current clients to generate new clients. Referrals and testimonials are a tremendous resource for new business. Make it a goal to gain referrals or testimonials from at least half of your customers – either in writing or on video – and share those testimonials publicly. Many professionals wait until the end of the transactions to ask for referrals, but by that time it could be too late. Mindsets can change greatly during the transaction phase. While in the buying or selling period, customers are in a much better mental space about that process, and are likely to be more articulate about it at that point.
Existing clients are also a way to build equity, through not only referrals , but repeat business. Relationships are more important than ever, so focusing on long-term business could pay exponential dividends. Those types of ongoing relationships are assets that are competition-proof and very valuable, and that kind of rapport is really hard to build over a short phone call.
[Sources: Wikimedia, Investopedia and Marketing Monday]