Cold calling has long been the backbone of outbound sales. But with more and more countries introducing legal restrictions against telemarketing, it’s increasingly difficult to connect with your prospects on the phone.
Most outbound sales advice takes for granted that your company is legally allowed to perform social media or email outreach, but what about places where all mass sales prospecting is illegal?
Even without cold calling, there are plenty of ways to connect with your prospects. Keep reading for our best tips to help you navigate outbound sales without relying on mass outreach.
Build relationships on social media
Even if mass sales prospecting is legal in your location, it’s rarely effective on social media. Prospects don’t appreciate being sent the same, copy-and-pasted sales pitch. Instead, your focus should be on building relationships.
Engage with industry thought leaders and potential customers by commenting on their posts, sharing their content, and tagging them in other content you think they’d enjoy. Take the time to answer questions others post about your industry. Over time, people will begin to recognize your name as a trusted expert.
Those who engage with your content regularly can be added to your list of potential prospects. After you’ve built a relationship, you can reach out to have a one-on-one conversation–just remember to focus on helping the prospect, rather than diving straight into a pitch.
Other tips for sales prospecting on social media
Use a CRM to keep track of your leads, so you can continue to nurture those relationships and follow up with those who didn’t buy.
Lastly, don’t forget to optimize your profile. If someone sees your comment on a post and clicks through to your name, will they be impressed by what they find? Set aside an hour to refresh your cover image, profile photo, and description on each site.
For tips on sales prospecting on LinkedIn specifically, check out this article with digital marketing expert Shiv Gupta.
Cold calling alternatives
While cold calling may not be an option, that doesn’t necessarily mean all outreach is off-limits. Consider “warm calling” as an alternative to the traditional outbound sales approach.
Warm calling (or warm email) refers to outreach that’s performed after you’ve built a relationship with the prospect, either through social media, networking events, or a referred introduction. The main difference is that you’ve confirmed the prospect’s openness to speaking with you before picking up the phone.
This is similar to taking an account-based approach, where instead of cold calling as many prospects as possible, you target a small number of highly strategic accounts. Not only does this method eliminate unnecessary calls, but it has a much higher success rate and shorter sales cycle.
If you need help building a more targeted outbound sales strategy, reach out here to learn how we can help!
Work with marketing to generate inbound leads
If you operate in a place where all mass sales prospecting is illegal, your outbound sales technique will require some creativity. In this case, the best way to generate leads is to work together with marketing.
Using content in your sales prospecting
Posting relevant content on your company’s blog and social media will help generate inbound leads, build authority, and kickstart conversations.
Once a prospect has engaged with your content, you can then reach out to them to continue the conversation without going for a hard sales pitch. Continue to use content in your sales prospecting; for example, by sending the prospect an article they might find interesting.
If the prospect is further along in their buyer’s journey, you can send information to help during their research and consideration phase (for example, a pricing or services guide). For more on using content in your sales prospecting, check out this blog post.
Other ways to generate inbound leads include hosting an online or in-person event, producing long-form content like an ebook, or offering free consultations on your area of expertise.
Know the rules for cold calling
Be aware of any legal restrictions your sales prospecting may be subject to, whether for cold calling, email outreach, or social media prospecting.
In the United States, the Telemarketing Sales Rule defines how businesses can legally use cold calling to reach potential customers. For example, the caller must always begin by introducing themselves and respect the call-time window of 8 am-9 pm.
Some states have other rules in addition to those set by the Federal Trade Commission. Always do your research to ensure your company is complying with any legal requirements, especially if your sales prospecting crosses state lines or international borders.
Outbound sales don’t need to rely on cold calling
If you’re dealing with legal restrictions, remember that it’s always better to be safe than sorry–know the rules and stay within them.
There are plenty of ways to reach your prospects that don’t involve mass outreach. In fact, many of these methods are more effective than the traditional outbound sales call. A cold calling restriction may just turn into a blessing in disguise, with higher conversion rates, a shorter sales cycle, and more deals closed.
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