You might be surprised to know that commission-only door-to-door sales is still a thing. In fact, there are entire companies that use this as their primary marketing channel.
It’s an industry that burns out its salespeople quickly, which may be no surprise. What is surprising is that many B2B companies rely on cold outreach prospecting, just as if they were a door-to-door sales company!
If you’re relying on cold outreach to find leads, then know that there is a better way. And it’s a way that can make your sales process easier, more effective, and even fun.
Pitch Warm Prospects
Door-to-door sales is largely seen as an outdated marketing strategy. Yet I see B2B sales teams using the same type of outdated cold outreach tactics.
Ask any salesperson what they hate most about their job. Following up with customers? Office politics? Pitching prospects?
Nope – it’s always prospecting.
Reaching out cold, to people who have never of you or your company, is painful for both the salesperson and the prospect. In fact, it’s the exact opposite of the way that most sales naturally happen in business.
People love to buy, but they hate being sold to. So what’s the solution?
Let people feel like it’s their idea to reach out to you.
Basically, you need to inception them, right from the start. Just like they did in the 2010 movie by Leonardo DiCaprio. Plant an idea in their head, that they think they came up with.
I asked Johnathan Dane, a really strong closer and founder of the 8-figure advertising company KlientBoost, his advice on how to get more clients. This is what he shared.
“Most companies buy lists to do outbound email. This is almost the reverse of what we found works better. First, start with the prospect’s familiarity of your brand, and then work down.
We call this The Heat Ladder Approach (the higher you go, the hotter the prospects).
- Old customers/clients
- Lost opportunities (qualified lead)
- Lost leads (lead not yet qualified)
- Email newsletter engagement
- Reverse IP reveal (like Clearbit Reveal)
- Competitor reviews (customers who already have a propensity to work with your competitor will be more open to listening to you)
- Net new list buying”
When people already know and like you, selling is easy. It’s just having a conversation.
People do business with those that they like and trust. So it makes sense to only pitch to people that already know and trust you, if possible.
But how do you do that?
One winning strategy for building trust is through content creation.
You don’t have to be a world-class content creator to write content, but you have to have some expertise. And most B2B salespeople that I meet are experts in their products.
LinkedIn is a great place to start. To get clients through LinkedIn, you first need to fill your network with the type of people that would be likely to buy from you. In other words, potential clients.
I know people who even create a separate LinkedIn profile, just for pitching new clients.
Personalize your invites. Then, once they accept, resist the temptation to immediately sell. People hate this.
Instead, put out useful, non-salesy content that shows your expertise and personality.
His business offers SEO marketing services to tech companies – particularly in the finance niche. Like many B2B companies, it’s a somewhat narrow audience. Finding qualified leads can be difficult.
He shared his experience with content and sales to me. “I published this article on a Friday night. And literally on Saturday morning, a tech CEO in my LinkedIn network reached out to inquire about my services.
“I also had published a series of videos in LinkedIn posts over the past few months. I only did 5 videos, with some non-video content sprinkled in. And right after the last video was posted, sure enough, someone who didn’t like or comment on any one of my videos even once reached out to inquire about my services.
“Both of them became, and still are, clients of mine.”
Marcus Sheridan, a sales and marketing expert, has a few great tips about using video to sell. One great tip that he shares is to create a 1-2 minute video about yourself. Post it on YouTube, and then link to it from the footer of your email.
Right away, people who don’t know you have an opportunity to get familiar with you, even before getting on the phone. (Or on Zoom, which is probably more common these days.)
He found that doing this consistently increases the number of leads and sales for his sales team.
Business customers want to buy from people with clout. Oren Klaff calls this “building your frame”. Content can do this for you. Ways to do this include:
- Writing an article in an industry publication
- Writing a book
- Creating professional-looking video of yourself
- Getting endorsements, testimonials, or referrals from famous people
- Listing credentials, certifications, and awards
- Showing large numbers of positive customer reviews or ratings
For example, if I wanted to sell you expensive consulting services through a cold email, and you didn’t already know me, you would probably ignore it.
A huge number of people would ignore or mark that email as spam, just because of the fact that it comes from someone that they’ve never heard of before.
To be heard, you have to flip the script.
Now imagine how a cold email would go if you had already:
- Watched my video on LinkedIn
- Seen my article on Forbes
- Checked out positive testimonials of people just like you
- Commented on one of my LinkedIn posts
Now that’s a different conversation. That’s how you get 50%+ close rates.
I don’t want to bag on cold outreach altogether. Don’t get me wrong – it’s necessary, and even desirable sometimes.
But the point is that you want to reduce the friction of your initial outreach as much as possible.
Even companies like uSERP, that specialize in cold email outreach, use this type of “organic growth” to build up their passive lead generation sources.
If you hate writing, companies like WordAgents offer high-quality B2B article-writing services on the cheap. You can outsource a few articles to them and post them under your own name.
Earlier in this article, Johnathan mentioned Reverse-IP reveal companies as a decent way to find new prospects.
The service that he mentioned, Clearbit Reveal, has several competitor services as well. Basically, the way that it works is that it looks up the IP address of anyone who visits your website. If it finds a match, it uses other data matching techniques to try to find out who the visitor of the website was.
Then it provides you with contact information, like an email address and phone number, for that person or company.
This is a fun marketing tactic because it lets you know who is already interested in your services.
Is somebody visiting your website pricing page? They might be a good person to talk to.
If that feels a little too creepy for you, then two other great tools are Hubspot and Woopra. There is a high level of sophistication required to set these up, so it would be a task for the marketing department.
However, the main beneficiaries of these tools are the salespeople, who will close more deals!
Each one has CRM capabilities that enable you to see how people are interacting with your website, app, or digital product.
Say, for example, someone found you on Google, read a blog post on your website, opened one of your emails, visited the pricing page, and created a free account.
After all of these marketing touchpoints, they may be an ideal person to reach out to. And these tools help you to know who those people are.
If you want more qualified leads, less cold outreach, and more closed deals as part of your sales career, following these tips will take you a long way in that direction.
I never said that it is easy, but it is possible. Your future clients await you.