What’s the best way to reach prospective customers for sales and marketing purposes? Assuming that you’re investing in it at all?
LinkedIn outreach, whether automated or not, has gotten a bad rap lately. At least in the communities that I frequent. It’s a great tool, if used properly and judiciously, but I suspect that automated outreach doesn’t meet those criteria.
Here’s the problem with LinkedIn outreach – unless you have legitimately met someone either in-person or virtually, almost any message you send will sound salesy. It doesn’t matter how much research you’ve done to make it personalized, if you’re reaching out to sell, it sounds salesy.
Like most people, I can be flattered by all these people who think my last blog post was interesting, or that they’re impressed by what The Ventas Group is doing. But since I know they are reaching out to sell something, it falls a little flat. Unless I need the service they’re selling, any outreach, flattering or not, isn’t going to make me want to connect with them. My favorites are the ones asking me how the Baltimore Ravens are doing this year. I don’t live in Baltimore and I have less than zero interest in football!
How about email? If you’ve been in business any length of time you’ll have heard that email is absolutely necessary and you’ll also have heard that email no longer works because of inbox overwhelm. Both true, AND you need to consider whether your emails are even reaching your prospects’ inboxes.
I find emails in my spam box on a daily basis. Often they have desperate titles like “Did you receive my last email?”. Um, no. As email spam filters have become more sophisticated more and more sales and marketing emails are ending up in spam folders. While you may have believed that you’ve sent out 5,000 emails to people in your target market, there is really no way to know how many reach an actual inbox.
How can you avoid this?
Is the telephone even used in the 21st Century? I’ve heard both that cold calls are dead and that they’re a refreshing change since no one calls anymore.
It’s true that very few calls are answered due to caller ID and the insidious telemarketing industry. This has also led to younger people being even less likely to use the telephone, let alone answer it.
However, businesses typically still provide their employees with voicemail and it’s my firm belief that a warm, friendly voicemail can help accelerate the relationship building process.
So what’s the best approach? The one you can do regularly and consistently.
Remember, you’re trying to build a relationship. If you only texted a romantic interest and never invited him/her to meet you for coffee, how can you take that relationship to the next level?
And, there’s a reason why I ask all of my clients how they prefer to be contacted. I like receiving phone calls that are valuable to me and my business and will happily speak to someone. Others will never listen to a voicemail, but will read and re-read your informational email. Some relationships start on LinkedIn and continue offline.
If you can afford both the time and/or the resources to outsource your sales and marketing, a combination of all three will be your strongest bet.
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