The world of business can be a daunting place, and for many of us, Sales is possibly the most daunting aspect, regardless of how much of a necessity.
So, for those of us who need a little help in this area, we are going to take a look at some cold networking methods, to help get you started, no matter how shy you are.
That’s the great thing about the internet right? You can network with decision makers without ever leaving the comfort of your chair. Yes, it may be a little more difficult, and take a bit longer, but at least you never have to actually meet anyone right?
I don’t recommend that you should use these methods to avoid sales in the real world totally, as to grow a successful business, the likelihood is that you will need to approach sales outside of the digital world at some point.
What Digital networking can be useful for:
- Making those cold leads, a little warmer
- Getting over your fear of rejection
- Weeding out “no chance” leads
So let’s get into it:
#1 – Complete your profile
Your digital profile is like your introduction to potential connections online. When someone discovers your profile, if there is nothing there or a half-assed effort, then they are not likely to be enticed enough to want to follow up with you.
If however, your profile screams professionalism and gets your message across in the right way, then you can expect a high level of connection requests, without you having to actually go out and get them. Additionally, this will increase your follow through rate when you are actually actively going out and networking.
It’s like having a good landing page to follow up on your Sales pitch.
For example, according to Corporate Social Network, Linkedin: “Users with complete Profiles are 40 times more likely to receive opportunities through LinkedIn”.
Don’t forget about video either! Here’s a complete guide to Video Marketing.
#2 – Linkedin Trick (Larger Companies)
One of the most effective methods I have come across on targeting companies, who I have no direct contact with, and without paying for Linkedin’s Pro services, is a method I like to call “The invisible referral”.
This is based on the simple fact, that recruiters rarely say no to an invite, as it is their bread and butter to network. So first I pick my target company, I look for their internal recruiters or HR people. I add them, they add me back and I’m in.
Once I am within the network of a company, it becomes very easy to engage the Directors as we both now have someone in common within our network.
For further reading check out Hubspot’s The Definitive Guide to Awkward LinkedIn Networking
#3 – Use Whois with a Purpose (SMBs)
For this method, I go to the website of the company I am looking to connect with. I quickly run a broken backlink check on their site, and should I find one, I use this fact to break the ice. (Other technical issues work just as well)
Sending a cold Email with nothing but sales/networking as an agenda, is generally negative. But helping someone with a technical issue on their site, and then adding in my agenda tends to work much better.
I then use Whois lookup to check the owner of the Domain as this is generally someone senior.
Sample Whois tool: https://who.is/
#4 – Email Scrape (All size companies)
Similar to above, I go to a website, find a technical issue with it and use that to construct a cold Email with added value instead of a sales pitch.
The difference here, is when someone uses Whois privacy to block the detailed information of the domain owner, we need an Email scraper instead.
There are free tools out there such as Hunter.io to do this for you, and even extensions so you never have to leave the page. The scraper will scan the entire website looking for references to Email address, which you can then lookup on Linkedin to gauge how senior the person is.
For additional light reading on Email Hunter check out: 5 tips to get the most from Email Hunter
Making the Connection
So this part of digital marketing is the numbers game. There is a low percentage of click through when it comes to cold Digital Marketing, much the same as cold calling.
The one thing you have to your advantage here, is that you can repeat the same methods again and again until you get your sale/connect with the person you are looking to. Once you do get your first sale/connection, you will get a sense of what works, and from there and all the failed leads, you can begin to buid your formula.
- What works?
- Which Industry to Focus on?
- Who are most likely to take you up on your offer?
Narrowing down these items, you can tweak your formula to maximize your click through rate and thus the effort it takes per sale/connection.
My best findings have led me to determine that short Emails work best, but always ask for a call. I generally ask if they have 15 mins free the next day to discuss things in more detail.
Most important of all is the follow up. If you have established a connection with a contact, then it is important that you nurture that connection and ensure that not only is your Business Network wide, but it is also strong.
Check in with people regularly, just don’t over do it. For those who are local to you, suggest you meet for a cup of coffee etc. You might be happy that you did.
For maximum effects, mix these outbound strategies with an effective inbound strategy.
That’s it for now. Best of luck out there.
Disclaimer – I do not recommend using these methods for spam or any other form of malicious intent, but instead use it to actively engage in effective business networking by adding value or offering a useful service.