I never thought I would ever say this in my life but a phone call I got yesterday changed my mind about calling prospects you don’t have a basic relationship with (ie. they recognize your name when you tell them who you are). Here’s what you can learn from my strange experience.
A cold connection that I’d reached out to on Linkedin simply decided to call me on the phone yesterday. We hadn’t set an appointment or even traded calendar links yet. The call was a disaster for the person calling (and for me). The biggest reason was that I get so many spam calls from all manner of government agencies that I’ve started to look suspiciously at any number that I don’t recognize. So, to get an unplanned call out of the blue surprised and unsettled me. Not something you want to do to your prospects. The out of the blue nature of the call was the first clue of unprofessionalism. It made an impression, even before saying ‘hello’.
Since the invention of permission marketing, aka having to get someone’s permission before you can market to them, people have been feeling pretty ruthless about rejecting brands and vendors that are vying for their business without that elusive permission. Calling people you met on Linkedin is no exception, it’s one step above a cold call unless you warm it up. Unless you first get agreement to a meeting and permission to call, you’re no better than a cold call. Without my permission and the ensuing appointment reminder on my calendar, I still don’t recognize your name or know why we’re talking.
Make It Short and Valuable
When you’re calling anyone for any reason, make sure you have your one-liner down pat. This poor gentleman went on without a pause for 10 minutes to explain what he did and I STILL had no clue (and I’m an elevator pitch coach for God’s sake!). I kept trying to ask him questions about the reason for his call and all he kept saying was that I had reached out to connect with him. But he still neglected to tell me why he was calling me! After a confusing and frustrating long, unplanned call, I had to almost hang up on this call. It left me with a bad taste in my mouth for ever calling anyone unseen, unheard and without permission!
So if you and your teams are using cold or semi-cold calling from Linkedin or any other list, beware that the rules of marketing have changed. Instead, take the time to build a relationship through email or social media and then you can both agree to a time, place and most importantly, an agenda. Then you can convert that call like a champ and stop wasting everybody’s time.