Being Hounded by Digital Sales People Made Me a Better Sales Person

What is a cold call?
When a salesperson e-mails you or calls you without having an existing relationship.

If you work in any aspect of digital marketing and have it listed in your profile on LinkedIN you have more than likely been e-mailed or cold called by companies selling their platforms or services. In the digital marketing world their products are usually related to campaign activation (running ads), social media management or services like graphic design, videography, or other creative types of work. I would estimate that in my 20+ year marketing career I have been cold called at least 240 times. The number is in actuality much higher as I am only basing this off of one cold call a month. Sometimes (typically around year end) you will find yourself being contacted almost daily by different companies. My conversion rate on actually buying from one of these is probably lower than 2%. I can recall off the top of my head converting on about 5 of these cold call initiated relationships. Most of the time if you need a service, you reach out to them or are referred by another company or someone you have a good relationship with. Trust is a major key when you are spending your dollars on marketing related platforms.

As I started to think about all of the business relationships that initiated from cold calls I realized that there were a few key similarities.

  1. The salesperson was friendly on first contact.
  2. The first contact included something both personal about my life and the business I was working for.
  3. The follow up e-mail (there always is one) was incredibly short and to the point.
  4. When the conversation finally starts to happen, the salesperson is always upfront and transparent about things like costs, timelines, and why (if) there is urgency.

The most critical thing I have learned about business relationships initiated by cold calls is that after the purchase has been made the company continues to provide the same level of customer service throughout the relationship. If after a purchase is made and the salesperson has hit their target of conversion, they drop off and no longer support you, the relationship will not last.

In the end what I was able to do is audit all of the conversations and pitches I’ve heard throughout the years. Not only does this help me quickly determine if a business is a company I want to engage with and partner with, but also it has assisted me with my thinking when it comes to designing pitches (internal or external).