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Sales Prospecting: Cold Calls to LinkedIn

During our second Facebook Live collaboration with the National Association of Sales Professionals, we continued our conversation about sales prospecting.

NASP Facebook Live Sales Series

PipelineDeals sponsored a second Facebook Live show hosted by The National Association of Sales Professionals (NASP). I was happy to take part again as a member of the NASP.  

During our second Facebook Live collaboration with the National Association of Sales Professionals, we continued our conversation about sales prospecting.
Part two with our friends from the National Association of Sales Professionals.

We touched on these great topics in this second round.

  • Cold calling
  • Prospecting on LinkedIn
  • Re-engaging Unresponsive Prospects

I had the pleasure of joining in on the conversation with these professionals from the NASP:

Rick Middlemass, VP of Sales and Marketing, NASP

Meshell Baker, Certified Sales Advisor, NASP  

Read on to find out more and how to up your sales prospecting game.

Rick Middlemass, VP of Sales and Marketing, NASP: What’s up, NASP community? We’re going live this afternoon for our community questions, Facebook Live, sponsored by PipelineDeals. I’m gonna hand it off to Amelia here to tell us a little bit about who PipelineDeals is.

Amelia Burleson, PipelineDeals CRM: Thanks, Rick, I appreciate it. We’re glad to be back again; this is so much fun. PipelineDeals was founded in 2006. We’re the most adopted CRM for small- and mid-sized businesses. We support more than 18,000 users in 100 countries. We’re built around an easy-to-use and customizable user experience, so we want to be sales-focused with our features, and we lead in customer support and service. We have made the annual Inc. 5000 since 2014. If you guys want to sign up for a free trial — I know all you sales guys need a CRM — you can visit us at pipelinedeals.com.

Rick: Love it! Pipelinedeals.com free trial. Thank you, Amelia. Alright, let’s jump into some of the questions that have come in throughout the week. The first one is… Oh, this question gets asked a lot. “Is cold calling dead for prospecting?” Anyone wanna lead off for this one?

Amelia: The answer is no, I can tell you that.

All: [laughing]

Meshell Baker, Certified Sales Advisor, NASP: Absolutely no, right.

Amelia: Right. Do you wanna expand a little bit, what you guys think?

Cold Calling and Prospecting

Meshell: Well, I am a believer in “no one knows everything”, so we also don’t know everyone. “Cold calling” simply means that I am having a conversation with someone whom I’ve never met before. I don’t know their background, and I am actually starting from square one. So cold calling is absolutely not dead, and it becomes warm when we can get more introduction. The goal is, when you start in any industry or start a new sales job, it does require a lot more cold calling on the front end. And as you build those relationships, you can quickly turn those into your advantage as you offer value and create more warm and hots and a lot less cold.

 Cold calling means you're having conversation with someone you haven't met before.
Cold calling means you’re having conversation with someone you haven’t met before.

Is cold calling dead?

Rick: Totally agree. I think the “is cold calling dead” question is a great excuse not to pick up the phone, but you’ve still gotta pick up the phone. A slight caveat is warm up the leads as much as possible, reach out to them on LinkedIn, send them a few messages, ideally follow up with the people who have seen some of your media, liked some of your posts, so that you know they have some level of familiarity with you. They’re not totally cold, there’s some warmth to them. But absolutely not, you still gotta make those calls. Even though it’s far more uncomfortable to pick up the phone and call someone than it is to send them an email, a message, or even record a video and send that video in an email. But absolutely not. Gotta make those calls.

Amelia: Yeah, and I think the combination of all of that, too — cold calling and adding the LinkedIn touches — in the world we live in today, there’s so much out there that you can use to make these leads warmer that it doesn’t even have to be cold calling if you don’t want to make it. It’s all about your mentality going into it.

Meshell: Exactly. I love that. It doesn’t have to be cold calling.

Amelia: Right. I mean, in sales, you pave your path. Without cold calling, you can’t really get anything out of that.

Social Media and Sales Prospecting

Rick: Another thing to think about is, everyone is pretty much addicted to phones, constantly on social media, LinkedIn — if you look around, everyone is on their phone. So the more that you as an individual or your organization is publishing content on LinkedIn and Facebook and even Instagram, the more you’re going to get facetime and get familiarity. If someone is liking and commenting on your stuff on LinkedIn, or Instagram, or Facebook, or watching your stories on Instagram, whatever it is, that’s a warmer call than a cold call.

Warmer leads come from social media.
Warmer leads come from social media.

Meshell: Exactly.

Amelia: I agree. And even knowing your prospect — if you know who your buyer is, and you’ve identified where you do well, you can start to get in with just champion stories or case studies or stuff like that, and use that as your leverage point with a cold call as well.

No one hears “cold calling” and gets warm and fuzzy when it comes to sales prospecting.
No one hears “cold calling” and gets warm and fuzzy!

Meshell: Right. And I like what Rick said about the excuse — it can be an excuse not to actually pick up the phone. When you think cold calling, it’s really a space of being uncomfortable, right? No one hears “cold calling” and gets warm and fuzzy. That would the antithesis of cold! So having what we have access to now, as Amelia said, to go on these social networks, look at people, as Rick said, follow up with the people who are liking and commenting on your posts. There really actually is not a rationale or reason that you really need to go into that cold arena. If you’ve taken the opportunity and done your homework, you can pretty much turn anything that’s cold warm, at this point.

Amelia: Totally agree.

Rick: For those watching the Facebook Live, absolutely feel free to share any questions that come to mind on the chat. We’ll also be adding our complimentary coaching call link to this post so you can take advantage of that when you’re watching this recording. That’s a complimentary 30 minute sales coaching call that we’re offering right now. We don’t know how long we’ll be offering it for, but I definitely recommend taking advantage of that.

Prospecting on LinkedIn

Rick: So the next question is… “What are some great tips for prospecting on LinkedIn?”

Amelia: Talking about LinkedIn, I mean, there’s tons, right? LinkedIn Navigator — LinkedIn is an oyster, if you will. You can go find anything on there. And even beyond that, you can use tools that connect with LinkedIn to search further.

How do you prospect on LinkedIn?
How do you prospect on LinkedIn?

Rick: A hundred percent. Some tips that come to mind for me in terms of LinkedIn prospecting is, ideally, I want to separate my prospects by vertical or what I think that their needs are. What I think is a great thing to do is, obviously, reach out and connect with them through a connection request, and then have a series of one or two or three messages that you’re gonna send to them, somewhat personalized and customized to what your product or service does, what challenges it solves for their vertical. And then also have some type of a free offer or some type of an offer that they can hit a link and go to a landing page. Then you can start to track how many people are clicking through and going to a landing page, and then have a name and email capture for whatever value-add or free value-add it is. That way, you’re starting to build a list of people who are expressing some level of interest in what it is that you’re talking about, and there you have a warm prospecting list.

Understanding Prospects on LinkedIn

Amelia: Yeah, and I think you can even search keywords on posts, too. So if you wanted to search some type of keyword that’s pertaining to your product or service, that would also be a good way to see who’s out there looking for that type of product or service.

Rick: Oooh, keywords. Who’s posting about what you’re selling?

Amelia: Yes. For example, for me, I’ll look up “CRM” a lot. Even outside of LinkedIn, with Quora or something like that, I will even use that. If people are saying “what’s the best CRM”, I wanna log in there and get notified of it and comment and say, “Hey! I’m with PipelineDeals. How’s it goin’?”

Rick: Yeah. Who’s blogging about a product comparison in your market?

Amelia: Right. And who’s commenting on those blogs? Who’s putting feedback on those blogs as well? Those are also people you wanna target.

Rick: Yeah, great stuff. Meshell, any thoughts?

Meshell: No, I’m not gonna jump in on this one, you guys have done amazingly well, and I was watching the Facebook Live feed.

Re-engaging Unresponsive Prospects

Rick: Fantastic, thank you. We’re about 12 minutes in here, so let’s do one more question and then we’ll wrap it for today. “How do I re-engage prospects who are no longer responding?” I’ve got a couple thoughts on this. We have a somewhat extended, kind of long-term drip feed workflow. As soon as we get to the point where we’re not really hearing back, the prospect has expressed some interest, but likely, purchasing this product or service got put behind another product or something else that’s going on. Maybe it’s going to be three, six months, maybe it’s gonna be a year. So we kind of have that extended drip feed sequence where, if we’re not getting a response at that point, we’ll put prospects into. Also, if we’re just not hearing anything back and it’s been however long that drip feed is, we’ll send an email saying, “Listen, this is the last email from us. If you would like to hear us, reply to this email and let us know, but otherwise, we’re gonna stop reaching out to you.”

Nurture Campaigns and Re-engagement

Amelia: Totally agree. I was gonna say nurture campaigns all the way. And measuring the warmth of those nurture campaigns, too, like adding a lead score to opens or clicks, things like that. Utilizing your tools that you have in place to see that and then going after those people who are engaging even further is a good way to raise them from the dead.

Measure the warmth of nurture campaigns to successfully sell.
Measure the warmth of nurture campaigns to successfully sell.

Rick: Gotta leverage lead score.

Meshell: Yeah. And aside from the drip campaign, there’s always that old fashioned phone call. That one always works, and I always think in terms of value. Why am I reengaging? What am I extending them, aside from “this is something you said you wanted”? “Just checking in to see where you are in your cycle of growth, if this is something you require or need, and these are some other opportunities that we have developed that would be of advantage to you.” So the reach out is not just because I wanna make the sale, but more importantly, I want to add value to that conversation that I had with someone, however long ago it was, and see where they are.

Rick: Love it. Meshell brings it home with the call.

Amelia: She does, every time!

Make the Prospecting Call

Rick: Get on the phone and make the call. Awesome! So, if you’re watching this replay, click the link in the post and get signed up for your complimentary coaching call, where you’ll also find out about the complimentary seller style assessment. We’ve got lots of good stuff for you here at the National Association of Sales Professionals. Thanks for tuning in, thanks for watching the replay. Any final comments, Meshell and Amelia?

Meshell: No. Again, just — I love that we started and we really hit home that topic of cold calling. And just know that it’s only cold if you allow it to be cold. There’s so many methods for you to warm up any opportunity, and just take them! That makes you more comfortable, it makes you more value-oriented, because you’ve taken time to get to know the prospect, and that’s what creates more win-wins.

Amelia: Yep. We’ll close with that. I mean, calling is everything, right? You’re in sales! Pick up the phone. Don’t let your mindset stop you, because if you do it and you’re happy, they can hear you smile through the phone! So deliver that smile to them, make them feel what you feel, get them excited, and don’t be scared to pick up the phone.

Rick: Love it. Pick up the phone this afternoon! We’re gonna go do the same thing, and look forward to talking with you here next week. Thanks for tuning in, everyone!

To watch this Facebook Live recording just click here! Be sure to follow the NASP and PipelineDeals pages while you are at it.

CRM for Sales Prospecting

If your business is in need of a CRM solution to help bring up your prospecting game — or if you’re simply curious about what CRM software might do for you — give us a shout. We can provide a custom system demo to take your sales process to the next level.

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