Although I’ve spent the majority of my career on the sales side of the business I have never been a fan of cold calling. Experts estimate that only 2-5% of people are ready and willing to buy any product during the actual time of a cold call. And to make matters worse, it takes an average of 12-18 points of contact before a new prospect will return a sales call.
And yet, despite these statistics, cold calling remains a staple in FBO sales. When I talk with FBO managers regarding their process, cold calls are one of the most frequently sited tactics used to attract new business. And even though some admit to having only a marginal amount of success in their efforts, they have yet to find an alternative method that truly works. Which I think begs the question:
Should FBOs spend time doing cold calls to increase business, or is there a better way?
Candidly, my answer would be yes, there is a better way. I think that cold calls do have a role in the sales process, but only after one has exhausted all other means. Instead, I encourage FBO managers to do the following before they consider any type of sales call or visit.
Target the right customers: Choosing the right customers to target is essential to the sales process. Although it may seem like “everyone” is a potential customer, the reality is that certain operators will be more lucrative for your business than others. Use your company CRM system, POS and flight tracking tools to do research and identify top prospects.
Analyze your network and request an introduction: As the old saying goes, “everyone knows someone.” Linkedin, Facebook, Airmail and other message boards are filled with people looking to connect to others in the industry. Before you pick up the phone for a cold call, analyze your network to see which colleagues have a connection to your target customer. Don’t be afraid to request an email introduction.
Reach out and continue following up: Our society is hectic, and it is not uncommon for your potential customers to be juggling multiple job duties at once. After you reach out through your introduction, make sure to schedule a time to follow up with them to provide pricing or additional information. And always follow up with the person who introduced you to thank them for their help.
Do you use cold calling in your sales process? Leave a comment and post your thoughts.