In short order, I was drawing in more high quality leads than I’d ever generated purely through cold calling. What were those techniques?
When I started in sales with IBM in the late 1980s, cold calling wasn’t what most salespeople today know it to be.
We didn’t pick up a phone, dial a list of prospects, and hope to have a few, quality conversations. Instead, cold calling involved going door-to-door and actually meeting with people face-to-face. Rejection in that context was slightly more embarrassing and difficult to swallow than having someone simply hang up on you.
So, you can imagine how I felt as a freshly-minted sales rep when, in my third week on the job, my manager took me to the top floor of an eight story building in the heart of Washington, D.C., pointed to the door of the first suite, looked at me with a Grinch-like smile, and said, “Go!”
He opened the door and I followed him in like a trusting puppy…
Naturally, I was petrified. There I was, standing in front of the company’s receptionist, and not one word was coming out of my mouth. My manager and the receptionist exchanged awkward glances and then looked at me expectantly.
One second passed. Then two. Then three. Still nothing. I had no idea what to say.
Finally, my manager pulled my sinking body from the depths and took over to avoid further embarrassing us.
My Cold Calling Epiphany
Shortly after leaving that appointment, I decided I wanted to find a better way to prospect. One that made cold calling unnecessary in every form.
It didn’t happen overnight, but I eventually discovered that I could be successful by taking a more proactive approach to seeking and cultivating referrals (a process which I cover more in-depth in a different article). And when those referrals weren’t enough, I discovered that I could use a variety of lead generation techniques that, quite frankly, were more productive than traditional cold calling.
So, that’s what I did. And in short order, I was drawing in more high quality leads than I’d ever generated purely through cold calling.
What were those techniques?
In my book, The Sales Magnet, I share five personal, four digital, and five collaborative strategies that have proven to be very effective tools for grabbing prospects’ attention. I’ve used each of them throughout my career, but you only need to choose a few and use them consistently to start being noticed.
Why Should You Care About My Experience?
“Sure, Kendra,” you might be thinking, “You had the benefit of IBM’s reputation and marketing resources working for you. I have neither. So how does your experience translate to mine?”
You might be surprised.
When I was with IBM, we did have a huge marketing team. But they were focused on IBM’s core markets like manufacturing, insurance, and government. They didn’t do anything in my target markets of CPAs and law firms, which meant that I had to manage lead generation on my own.
In all likelihood, the same goes for you.
With these lead generation strategies, you can ensure that prospects are exposed to your ideas, thought leadership, and expertise in several different mediums. They might read your emails, follow your comments on LinkedIn, or attend an event you host. (Yes, I hosted my own seminars and even brought the donuts.)
As prospects begin to pay attention, they will progressively get to know you. And after a while, you’ll start to notice that when you do call prospects, it’s not a cold call anymore. They’ll know your name, and they’ll actually be interested in talking to you.
That attention can have an enormous impact on your ability to attract and close new business without the stress of assured rejection. Suddenly, instead of blindly shooting at a target a mile away, you’ll see the target directly in front of you and know exactly
About the author
Kendra Lee is a top IT seller, sales advisor and business owner who knows…