People hate cold calls. They hate to make them, and they hate to get them. So how do you find customers if cold calls are disliked by so many on both sides of the business relationship?
Sorting Your Leads
The first thing to do is to sort out potential leads from general leads. Not all leads are created equal. Some are warm leads, and some are — for lack of a better term — dead cold. Every lead can be sorted into five leads.
These leads are people you don’t know but with whom you have some connection. Perhaps you know them through a mutual business acquaintance or friend. Perhaps you know them through a professional organization such as a through a Chamber of Commerce event. Regardless of how you met, both of you know some of the same people, and you both have an interest in maintaining a healthy relationship with that mutual friend.
These leads are people you know somewhat better than affiliation leads, but you still don’t know them well. Perhaps you’ve volunteered together at special events benefitting the community. Perhaps you have sat on the same committees. Regardless, you have a better understanding of these people than if you just know them in passing thanks to a casual introduction.
These leads are people who are know who you are, and know what you offer as a service or a product. They may drop by your website or blog on a regular basis (they may even be subscribers to your blog) or they may be following you on social media. They see you the value in cultivating an easy working relationship with you and your business.
These people know and like you and your business. They are willing to introduce you to their circle of influence as well as to their personal and professional friends (leading to more affiliation leads). What’s more, they know they can trust you not to burn them in the process of growing your business via their introductions to new prospective clients and customers.
Dead Cold Leads
These people may be polite but they have no use for your services or your products. There’s nothing wrong with acknowledging that some very nice people are dead cold leads. In doing so, you respect the fact that not everyone will want what you’re selling. In accepting this graciously, you leave the door open for these people to introduce you to their outer circle of influence (leading to more affiliation leads).
How Leads Level Up
It’s called networking. The more a person interacts with you, the better that person knows you. The better a person knows you, the more at ease that person feels around you. The more at ease a person feels around you, the more likely that person is to introduce you to others he or she knows well. All this points to warm interactions and a sense of camaraderie.
It’s a fact that people generally prefer to do business with those they know as opposed to strangers. Being genuine and friendly counts for a lot in personal interactions as well as in business. Along with growing your business, you want to build a reputation for being respectful of the relationships colleagues have with others you would like to get to know. Don’t abuse the kindness of colleagues, and be as generous with your contacts (and introductions to them) as others are with you.