Can You Sell to Millennial Engineers on the Phone?
Recently we’ve had some discussion here at the agency about the use of tele-sales, and whether that time has passed. Is it possible to reach people and sell on the phone anymore? Is – gasp – cold calling still something to task salespeople to do?
We still believe that cold calling and phone selling has its place. In fact, we know of several clients that use call centers as their primary selling channel.
However, we also believe that cold calling and telesales is the single most costly method of selling. It reminds me of an old McGraw Hill Publishing ad in which a grumpy prospect looked directly into the camera and asked, “I don’t know your company. I don’t know your products. I don’t know your reputation. Now, what was it you wanted to sell me?”
The point of the ad, of course, is to remind marketers that you can certainly sell to someone who knows nothing about you, but it’s always going to be quite a bit easier to push that boulder up the hill if you walk in the door with some brand awareness and even preference already established.
Still, some companies are making it even harder for marketers to use the phone. JPMorgan Chase and Coca-Cola recently eliminated voice mail for many employees as part of cost-cutting moves; others are considering similar initiatives. Vonage released a study showing annual declines in the number of voice mails left on their systems, and the number who even listened to their messages fell by 14%. In another story about voice mail, NPR interviewed a 26-year-old who said that “voice mail might evolve into something kind of special and exciting – like a telegram once was.” Oh my god!