I have been thinking a lot lately about the power of social media. Last month, our content team updated our website to include our new social media services, and a few weeks ago, I wrote an article about the power of social media in B2B sales. But sometimes to close a deal, businesses need more than just social media. Sometimes a LinkedIn message does not get a response or an Instagram post does not get the high engagement you wished. While social media is important, phone calls are still necessary.
But this leads to the question, how can sales professionals combine their efforts on the phone with social media? Below are three ways to do this:
Never Make a “Cold” Call. Make a “Warm” Call.
Back in 2017, I wrote my first LinkedIn blog entry called, “The Secret to Successful ‘Cold Calling’ is a ‘Warm Prospect List’. In the entry, I wrote, “I disagree with all this negativity and believe that we are now in the ‘Golden Age of Cold Calling’ – Never before has there been so much information available to salespeople to help them identify excellent prospects for their products and services.” In less than two years, the amount of available information has increased even more. A salesperson in today’s world never needs to wonder where someone works, who they know, or their employment history. Social media, and specifically LinkedIn, permit sales consultants to know this information and even “connect” with prospects before they call them. According to ZoomInfo, “Phone outreach has a response rate of 8.1%, compared to .03% for email” This success rate would clearly increase dramatically if the phone call comes from someone the prospect is already connected with.
Call as Soon as You Connect
While calling someone you are already connected to drastically increases your chances of closing a deal, the actual time when you call the person can affect your chances even more. According to James Oldroyd’s research in Harvard Business Review, “There is a 10x drop in lead qualification when you wait longer than 5 minutes to respond, and a 400% decrease when you respond within 10 minutes versus 5 minutes.” If you are on your LinkedIn and notice a new connection, quickly go to their Sales Navigator page, and see if their number is listed because often it is. You know your new connection is on their phone or computer thinking of you at that moment, so call! According to InsideSales.com, 35% to 50% of sales go to the vendor that responds first. Be the first person they hear from!
Make Sure Your Sales Script Includes Your Connection
Look at the difference between these two introductions:
- “Hey John! My name is Jim Sullivan. We just connected on LinkedIn earlier today, and I noticed you graduated from Boston College. My son also went to BC.”
- “Hey John! My name is Jim Sullivan, and I am the CEO and founder of The Endurance Group in Portland, ME. How are you doing today?”
In my career, I have found the best calls often begin the most informally. While this might seem counter-intuitive to sales consultants whose main goal is to close a deal, 80% of deals occur only after at least five follow-ups. Most likely, you are going to need to call your new connection again, so why not make a memorable first impression? Personal connections go a long way towards shortening your odds of actually reaching a deal.