Guest Blogger: Thad Greer is an Executive Sales Recruiter and the Managing Partner with Priority Recruiting Solutions, Inc., a nationwide retained, executive search firm headquartered in South Florida. He can be reached at 888-EZ2-SEARCH or at firstname.lastname@example.org. His blog, "Confessions from a Serial Recruiter", serves as a resource for employers and job seekers alike…
Cold-Calling (Selling Ice to Eskimos)
I’ve been reading several of Seth Godin’s books lately and his marketing insight has really opened my eyes (view his blog at www.sethgodin.com). Seth is the former VP/Marketing for Yahoo! and has written a number of books on internet marketing. The one that I have taken the most from is "Permission Marketing", a book he wrote way, way back in 1999. Having read this book around the same time I purchased an e-book called "Never Cold Call Again" by Frank Rumbauskas, www.nevercoldcall.com. I realized how little I actually knew about e-marketing and that the strategies our company was using were becoming more and more obsolete by the day. In my mind, marketing was expensive and cumbersome: it was billboards, television ads, radio ads, 4-color flyers, pop-up ads, t-shirt giveaways. It represented all those things I have been learning to tune out over the years (by the way, I just read they are going to start putting ads in the plastic bins used with the metal detectors at the airport–adding a little more enjoyment to that process).
Since purchasing TiVo a few years I rarely watch live television, thus no need to watch the commercials. One of the great things about satellite radio is that it’s commercial-free (although there’s no guarantee that’s going to last so enjoy it while you can). People are tired of being bombarded by these in-your-face advertisers and being the savvy consumers that we are, we’re figuring out ways to get them out of our line of sight. That being said, there ARE companies out there that I do want to hear from: Apple just unveiled the iPhone, Nike Golf is launching the Sumo driver, Southwest Airlines has a new $49 flight from Ft. Lauderdale to Dallas. How do I know such things? I subscribe to their newsletters and email blasts; I go to their websites (I even watch their commercials from their websites). I WANT to hear from these people because it’s stuff that interests ME! They are definitely getting a return on their investment for every dollar they spend on marketing that’s aimed in my direction. How do they know this? Because I have given them permission to market to me.
So let’s get back to our discussion on cold-calling and how permission marketing ties in. If you are of the belief that there are people out there right now that, not only do they know they need your product/service, but HAVE the money to spend and are ready to spend it as soon as they find a suitable supplier, then your cold-calling efforts are a total waste of time and energy. I’ve heard sales managers say, "But some people are not aware they need our products and it’s our job to educate them on how we can help them." That may very well be true. However, most people do not take unsolicited advice well, nor do they react favorably when a total stranger points out their weaknesses. I was working out the other morning at the gym with one of our partners when a trainer walked by and told Jon he was using the incorrect technique on a particular exercise. After the trainer walked off, Jon said "Can you believe that guy? I didn’t ask for his help or his opinion–he needs to stick to giving advice to the people that pay him." Truth be told, Jon WAS doing the exercise incorrectly. The trainer was trying to be helpful but his advice was not well received. Why? Because he wasn’t asked for his opinion. Had Jon been paying this guy $100 an hour I’m sure he would absorb every word he had to say, that’s because JON would have realized he had a need and reached out accordingly.
I’m going to continue writing about cold-calling, e-marketing and permission marketing and begin to tie it all back to what I know best: the recruiting industry. Stay tuned!