1: Selling Solo
Being an old-skool salesman I thought I knew it all. Results were powered solely by my own hands and my own way of thinking. My way had always worked, hitting the phone as hard as I could, sniffing out buying signals in order to get that next sale. I didn’t need anyone apart from my own desire, and I had bucket loads of that.
The Yellow pages was my source of leads when I first started in sales. We had the internet but it could never replace the steel hand of a meaty salesman.
2: Cold Calling; It’s a slog
My style was simply, you make enough calls you get results, EASY! There wasn’t enough hours in the day; I loved what I did and I loved to make money. The bigger my target, the more calls I needed to make - simply mathematics in my opinion. I wasn’t completely naive; I understood that there were problems with cold calling, you either loved it or hated it;
- 63% of salespeople say cold calling is what they dislike most about their jobs (source)
- Cold calling is ineffective 90.9% of the time (source)
- Less than 2% of cold calls actually result in a meeting (source)
- Less than 1% of cold calls lead to a sale (source)
- In 2007 it took an average of 3.68 cold call attempts to reach a prospect. Today it takes 8 attempts (source).
3. Warm Leads; Easier To Close
Warm leads were great, but a hot call is fantastic! You know when the phone rings and a customer is calling you. Deep down, I am sure all salespeople would like their phone to ring more and to have more easier to close conversations. I know I did.
Inbound calls in the olden days would have been from people finding my business in the Yellow pages, but now they were scrolling through pages and pages of virtual space to find me.
Interacting with my company’s website, finding us on Social media and most importantly google searches. It must have been like finding a needle in a haystack - finding me online back in the day.
I wasn`t using LinkedIn, my companies website was built in the 80`s and my friend told me we were on page 27 or something of google. I had no idea at the time what all of that meant but the bottom line was I wanted my phone to ring; I wanted more hot calls; I wanted more sales; I wanted more money!
I wanted to become an online magnet to customers.
4: Inbound Marketing; A risk worth taking
I remember speaking with my CEO and explaining that I wanted to advertise more in order to get the office phones ringing. He was hesitant to say the least, but agreed. He knew inbound calls were easier to close vs outbound.
His initial concerns were based around costs and how measurable his return would be. Would he even see a return on his investment? He was worried. At least with trade shows, he physically got something for his cash. We had no real advertising budget and certainly didn’t have a marketing budget. That entire budget went on stands at Trade Shows and travelling costs, but he was prepared to take a punt as he trusted my instinct.
We hired an external marketing company as it felt a lot safer at the time.
Our website was revamped, talk about bells and whistles, it actually talked to me. Told me every time someone visited it. We had our google rank increased to 8 - page 1! They were writing blogs every week for us, positioning my business online as one of integrity and a thought leader within our space.
I knew my products inside and out but this extended reach was helping to share that knowledge with more people than I could have called in a day, week or even a month. I even spent my own time getting my own Linkedin account something of half decent. Doubled my connections and kept up with regular content so to advertise our solution.
5: Embracing Marketers
The phones did indeed started ringing. I was having more and more conversations with people who had found us online.
I remember one lady, Mrs Jones. She said she had a problem at home and was typing away on google looking for someone like me who could solve her problem. It was enlightening that she was searching on google for me! Well my business, not actually me, I am not on dating sites but you get my drift.
There were hundreds of people every month with similar problems to Mrs. Jones and before all our marketing started, they were unable to find us. My CEO was happy, he was making more money and I was making more bonus. The way the marketing company had increased our online profile had changed the whole dynamics of our business and I wish my eyes had been opened sooner.
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