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Cold Calling, Yes or No?

Discussion in 'General Marketing' started by scott2342, Apr 6, 2014.

  1. #1
    Hi Guys,

    One business i run is a online computer repair website. You can see it here at www.pclivehelp.co.uk. What i would like to ask is have any of you used cold calling / telemarketing to generate more business?

    I for one hate cold callers apart from occasions where it's something appealing to me.

    I'm recently starting a few extra services on the site like SEO optimization for customers and also website services ( merging my other site with this one)

    Now the question is, do you think this is a good way or do you believe it gives your business a bad image? Does anyone know the conversion rate?

    SLS
    SEMrush
     
    scott2342, Apr 6, 2014 IP
    SEMrush
  2. Chad Eztraffic

    Chad Eztraffic Member

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    #2
    Cold calling does heavily depend on the niche. In my experience, cold calling to sell online services is not very effective as it is very hard to sell. This might be because when the prospects sense that they are being sold something and their guard is up.

    It is just my experience, maybe it works for someone else.

    PS. The service I was trying to sell was social media management.
     
    Chad Eztraffic, Apr 6, 2014 IP
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  3. soldoni

    soldoni Well-Known Member

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    #3
    Yep, the perfect way is also meet them after the calling
     
    soldoni, Apr 6, 2014 IP
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  4. Chad Eztraffic

    Chad Eztraffic Member

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    #4
    Yeah, I agree. Let's see if others have had better experience with it.
     
    Chad Eztraffic, Apr 6, 2014 IP
  5. wisdomtool

    wisdomtool Moderator Staff

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    #5
    The DND laws are different for each country, it is better to check the laws of your country with relation to cold calling. I would say that cold calling can be quite a nuisance if done improperly by non-professionals and may damage the image of the company instead.
     
    wisdomtool, Apr 6, 2014 IP
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  6. Rado_ch

    Rado_ch Well-Known Member

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    #6
    To be honest I haven't really tried and my opinion might be biased, but I always make such business decisions based on personal experiences, if I have any... and I am quite irritated by cold-calling. I mean, there is a high possibility that I never got a normal cold-call but it all seems like a big waste of time - I am always called either early in the morning, while I sleep, or during my most intensive work hours, callers are too pushy, a little rude at times and they behave like robots with their predefined scripts and all. Another problem is that people are getting more and more concerned with security and getting a call from a company you never worked with and which is not supposed to have your details also tends to put people off. Still, logically speaking, if this still exists as a method then it must be useful for some, just not in the niches I worked in. IMHO there are far better ways to establish a reputable brand and gain customers but good luck if you choose otherwize ;)
     
    Rado_ch, Apr 6, 2014 IP
  7. Lynn C

    Lynn C Active Member

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    #7
    Not sure on the conversion rate, but cold calling can work if it is targeted. I also think it depends specifically on when and how the call is made. If you are targeting a specific type of business or location, the more personalized the call, the better. When the call is specific to the business and it is also polite, and it is a real offer to help the business, then you might see some great results. I'd also recommend that you track results and get scientific about trying things that work and dropping things that don't work.

    Lynn
     
    Lynn C, Apr 6, 2014 IP
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  8. jrbiz

    jrbiz Acclaimed Member

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    #8
    Note that I have set up and managed inside sales teams of up to 30 people selling software and services for over 20 years, so I know how to design and implement a cold call campaign. However, I tried it for my own business selling network cables, tools and accessories to IT departments in companies throughout the U.S. and it failed miserably. What I came to learn through this and a variety of other direct marketing projects is that IT people do not care about cables unless they need them at that specific moment. A day earlier, they have no interest. A day later, it is too late. And there is no opportunity to upsell: if they need a 15-foot Cat 5e cable, you will not be able to sell them a 100-foot Cat 6 cable.

    Now, understand, I was committed to the cold calling campaign and continued it for a while in the hopes that these prospects would buy from us when they needed cables if we reminded them about us occasionally (kept top of mind, so to speak.) That also failed miserably as we would follow up a few times until the last at which time we would be told that they had just bought cables and forgot about us when they made the purchase. Cables are an afterthought in the overall data center project.

    So, the short answer to your question is that you can execute a professional cold calling campaign that will enhance your reputation in the computer repair industry. My campaign was designed to be very professional and consultative in nature and did not leave bad feelings with the people we contacted. However, whether such a campaign will produce sufficient revenues for you depends upon whether your target market is able to be "sold" to. In your case, if all you are selling are repair services, you may find the same problem that no on is interested in your pitch unless their computer is broken right then. On the other hand, if you are selling support contracts against future outages, that might resonate with some prospects.
     
    jrbiz, Apr 6, 2014 IP
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  9. dedideals

    dedideals Member

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    #9
    I don't think cold calling really works, it wouldn't with me thats for sure
     
    dedideals, Apr 6, 2014 IP
  10. sarahk

    sarahk iTamer Staff

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    #10
    Like most people I don't like receiving cold calls. The latest ploys seem to be to tell the person straight off that they're not selling anything, when they quite clearly are. The finance companies are the most persistent, often starting with a "survey". I ask who the owners are, what their backgrounds are etc and I think I've only received the info once. Why would I want an unknown company contacting me about investing my savings if you don't even know who they are?

    We get lots of calls from people doing adsense management but the person making the call isn't the one you'll be working with so when you try to discuss the particulars of working with the company they don't have a clue. It's not a good look!

    If you do try this be prepared to spend a lot of money on script development and hiring good call centre staff - and take heed of @jrbiz's first hand experience.
     
    sarahk, Apr 6, 2014 IP
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  11. Derek Land

    Derek Land Active Member

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    #11
    Cold calling is hard work, and the payoff is very small. The hardest part is getting past the secretaries, whose sole purpose in life is to keep the boss's worklife interruption-free.

    Some have better luck offering something entirely free, eg, free SEO on practical (but simple) local keywords. Don't even mention payment for several conversations, yet give them full service and play up the rank on those simple keywords. The fact is, 99% of business have no clue that some keywords are much easier than others to rank for so they think they're getting a steal.

    After they get a taste of the results, offer to help their business grow with even larger keywords and potentially higher returns.
     
    Derek Land, Apr 6, 2014 IP
  12. ryan_uk

    ryan_uk Illustrious Member

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    #12
    I can't stand cold calling. When I moved, I didn't port my landline number as I had enough to sort out and from what I read, getting a number moved from BT to Virgin Media could often be a nightmare. Well, what a big mistake. After having the same number for 11 years and maybe only a handful of spam calls during that time, I found myself bombarded with calls from the previous number owner (including from friends and their bank, so I can't believe that it had been disabled for long), plus plenty of cold calls as I guess they gave their number out too willingly and never ticked the box to say "no don't spam me with calls or pass on my number". To add on to that, there were a whole bunch of scam calls, too. It got to the point where I had to mute my line, which I did for a month or two and then got a call-blocker. My dad got a call-blocker a few months before me and I found various friends had one. Most of them got it due to cold calling. I am sure you will find a lot of people who feel that way, including small businesses, not just individuals.

    Better off attracting people to you other ways. Make a list of ways to reach out to your target audience online and offline. Then research alternative ways to market yourself and I am sure you will find ones you didn't think of. When you are on the bus/metro and walking around the city, observe how small businesses are marketing themselves.

    Offer your services with some local charities, for example, for free and this can be a great way for word-of-mouth, some free marketing in their newsletter (and/or potentially even links, if they have a website) and making contacts. Don't think that just because it's a charity news of you won't reach those who can pay (or that they couldn't afford to pay you for further services, at a discounted rate, of course :p). You could even approach churches, but in person rather than cold calling. (That would be the same for charities, give it a personal touch and go well-prepared in advance to let them know how you can help them.)

    All the best.
     
    ryan_uk, Apr 6, 2014 IP
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  13. Dionne Taylor

    Dionne Taylor Active Member

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    #13
    No. If someone cold called me I would hang up faster than the snap of a finger. It is obnoxious and annoying.
     
    Dionne Taylor, Apr 6, 2014 IP
  14. scott2342

    scott2342 Active Member

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    #14
    Thanks for the input, but i believe a lot of you think i will be calling up anyone and reading from a script talking rubbish like most cold callers. I'm not talking about sending over a script and some numbers to a call centre in india. I'm more on about contacting a few businesses in my area or even nationwide and casually asking if they may need any of my services. Be really polite and talk to the customer about what you can offer (research about them before you call). It would literally be like " Hi, Is this mark from Stafford ****** *****)

    "Hi Mark, Sorry to bother you but my name is Scott from PCLiveHelp, (If they don't have a website "I see you don't have a website, would you be interested in getting one") I'm just wondering if you would be interested in a couple of services i have to offer in the way of websites and getting you ranked high on Google"

    If they say no then just say no problem mark, have a nice day. If they ask about it then you can start laying down the selling routine on what you can offer and what they will see because of this etc.

    A lot of cold callers are like robots reading from a script like you say. Literally like talking to siri on a script but are very blunt and usually not from the UK. If it's just a friendly business who are very polite and have contacted you because they think there product could help not because they've brought your number off a list and are trying to sell you double glazing along with PPI...

    I've been contacted in the past from uk business about watercooling products etc which I've been happy to take. The ones i'm not happy to take is assholes that ring up and ask for the homeowner because my computer has a virus and can be fixed for £80 or that there a exciting development in the field of penis pumps. From your replies it's clear that cold calling can work depending on what strategy you take and what you're selling and who you're selling to. If your a kitchen and bathroom wholesaler calling a bathroom fitter or a bathroom retail store then i'm sure the cold call is a lot more justified then calling a random person telling them the benefits of solar panels...

    Maybe cold calling is the wrong word to use. Business proposition call... i don't know but you see what i'm getting at.
     
    scott2342, Apr 7, 2014 IP
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  15. sarahk

    sarahk iTamer Staff

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    #15
    Let us know how you get on.
     
    sarahk, Apr 7, 2014 IP
  16. ryan_uk

    ryan_uk Illustrious Member

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    #16
    Take into consideration how many of these companies are probably already getting cold calls and emails each day from so-called SEO/marketing companies (and have been burnt by them in the past). As it's an avenue you eagerly want to pursue, I would recommend researching it further to get an idea of how small business owners feel about it and what might work on them compared to what usually ends up happening. I am quite sure Search Engine Land hand two interviews with small business owners (albeit American ones) and this topic came up. I am sure you can find more information out there.

    Yes - the articles are:
    http://searchengineland.com/confessions-of-a-100month-seo-client-162264
    http://searchengineland.com/confessions-of-a-100month-seo-client-part-ii-165678

    By the way, make sure to look up the laws surrounding cold calling in the UK and look into TPS and CTPS. I know people say the ICO is toothless, but the companies who have ended up fined by them don't, I'm sure. It's easy enough to comply with the law regarding this, though, so is it really worth the risk of being fined?
     
    ryan_uk, Apr 7, 2014 IP
  17. aniblow

    aniblow Active Member

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    #17
    Cold calling is a great way to get some business. And the fact that most people don't like to cold call means you can capture a good market share of your niche via cold calling.

    Adding SEO to your business is not the issue. The question is: Do your customers need SEO services.

    If they do and you can offer it to them, wouldn't you rather continue keeping them happy?

    After all whether you offer the service or not, they'll find some one to do it for them.
     
    aniblow, Apr 7, 2014 IP
  18. scott2342

    scott2342 Active Member

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    #18
    Good input thanks. And yes i will take a look into the laws but i'm sure there will not be a problem.

    Whats with the penguin DPs...
     
    scott2342, Apr 7, 2014 IP
  19. Derek Land

    Derek Land Active Member

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    #19
    Ah, but that begs the question: Can I not find a customer who needs SEO services?
     
    Derek Land, Apr 7, 2014 IP
  20. scott2342

    scott2342 Active Member

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    #20
    Exactly. It's great to offer existing customers more services they may need but by increasing the services you provide you can reach a larger customer base. I'm trying to reach new customers by this cold calling method.

    It's all about growing ;)
     
    scott2342, Apr 7, 2014 IP