What is Cold Calling and How to Do it Better

April 24, 2019

Ah, the cold call. One of the oldest sales tactics in the game that still brings a literal shiver to many of us.

But consider this: 69% of buyers accept a call from a new salesperson. Not only that, but 82% of buyers will accept a meeting with a salesperson after speaking with them on a cold call.

No matter how you feel about cold calling or how little you know about it, these statistics should make you sit up a little straighter and pick up your phone, ready to dial. While cold calling can be successful, it also takes knowledge and skill to pull off properly.

So, what is cold calling, you ask? How can you use this tactic to your advantage? How can you cold call prospects without inducing an immediate hang up or stuttering over your words?

You’ve come to the right place. We’re going to answer everything you’ve been wondering about cold calls in this post; keep reading to learn more.

What Is Cold Calling?

There are a few misconceptions you need to overcome before you can be successful with cold calling.

Many people don’t have a good understanding of what cold calling is. Not only that, but most people don’t feel comfortable cold calling. They feel it’s intrusive or wrong to cold call people. And when cold calling is utilized by sales, marketing, and other business departments, it’s usually not done with a system or plan in mind.

It’s time to overcome those obstacles and understand exactly what cold calling is: it’s a useful service that you’re providing to the consumers you’re calling that benefits you as a business as well.

Let’s start with the basics: what is cold calling?

We can break it down into three parts. A cold call is a call you make to someone that you’ve had no prior contact with who has shown no prior intent with the goal of creating new intent from this prospect you’re calling.

No prior intent means that the consumer hasn’t filled out anything on your website, they didn’t express interest in the product, they weren’t a purchased lead from a lead provider, they didn’t visit your store, call you, etc.

The cold call itself is the call you make to this contact, whether that’s a B2C or a B2B interaction. The reason it’s called a “cold” call is because they don’t know you’re calling. They aren’t expecting you to call and they’re not “warmed up” to the idea of you calling (or even your company!).

The goal of this call is to generate intent. If you’re an extraordinary cold caller, perhaps you’ll be able to seal the deal, secure a meeting, or even get a sale. However, this is unlikely, and that’s not necessarily what you’re aiming for.

With this first call, similar to the first drip email or a mailed letter, is to put you on the consumer’s radar. You’re putting your name in their mind for your product or service, you’re planting the seed in their mind that you’re generating intent and interest with them, and you’re essentially introducing yourself.

Cold Calling Rules to Follow

We know what you’re thinking. “Isn’t this… illegal?”

To put it simply: no, cold calls are not illegal. But, you do have to follow certain rules and regulations.

These rules are almost common sense type regulations, and they’re easy to follow if you’re a reputable and trustworthy businessperson (which we hope you are!).

Here are the regulations you must follow when cold calling:

1. Call between 8AM and 9PM

Cold callers may only call a home number between the hours of 8AM and 9PM. This doesn’t just mean in the time zone you’re calling from either. For example, it might be 8AM in Boston, but that doesn’t mean you can call a prospect who’s based in California because it would be 5AM their time.

It can get a bit confusing to keep track of all your prospects time zones, which is why using a CRM that keeps track of that for you can save a lot of time and energy.

This rule doesn’t apply if the person has given previous permission for that person to call them outside those hours. It also doesn’t apply to work telephones: cold caller can call a work number at any time of the day.

2. Introduce Yourself

Next is another common sense rule that you would probably do without knowing it was a rule: you must promptly and clearly introduce yourself. This means you must say your name, your company, and your affiliation.

Build this introduction into every cold call script. Not introducing yourself not only breaks this violation, but it also can come off as shady or deceptive to the prospect, which you don’t want. Be clear and up front with who you are and why you’re calling.

You want them to remember you: remember the main goal of the call!

3. Respect and Enforce DNC

A “DNC” is a “Do Not Call” list. If someone requests that you put them on your “Do Not Call” list or that they want to be taken off your call list, you must oblige.

This might feel like a shot at your ego or make you upset, but you want to maintain a professional and courteous persona. Simply say, “I will take you off our list,” and move on to your next call.

4. Sales Must Be Confirmed in Writing

Maybe you strike gold can get a verbal “yes” on a sale over the phone. Great! But you can’t stop there.

You must confirm the sale in writing. You can’t truly close the deal on the phone. There needs to be a process of signing a contract or some sort of signature to confirm and settle the transaction.

5. Don’t Lie!

Again, this might seem obvious, but it’s easy to want to lie or be slightly dishonest in order to get people on the phone and talking. All this does it paint you and your business to be shady and untrustworthy, and it also violates cold calling regulations.

Sales depends on building credibility and trust with your clients, and you can’t do that if you start your very first interaction with deceptive sales techniques and/or straight up lies.

Don’t lie about who you are or why you’re calling. Don’t say you’ll take them off your call list and then continue to call them. Don’t like about your goal or objective with the call. Just be honest and open; honesty is what people and businesses respect.

How to Have Success

Now that we’re clear on what cold calling is and how you can properly and honestly do it, it’s time to get into how you can do it better. Cold calling is an art form that takes practice, dedication, and hard work.

It might not seem like dialing a number and talking on the phone would be that hard. But on average it takes 8 phone calls to actually reach a prospective customer. Once you reach them, you need to get past their almost instantaneous desire to not talk on the phone with someone they think is trying to sell them something they don’t need.

If we haven’t scared you off, here is a general framework on what a successful cold call looks like. This can help you craft a script, practice acting out calls, and set up a known structure for each call you make.

1. Know Your Numbers

Here’s where you’re going to need to do a little bit of math. Cold calling is a numbers game, and you’ll never hit your cold calling or sales quota by just randomly calling numbers haphazardly.

You need to “reverse engineer” your strategy. Look at your quota or decide how many sales/deals you want to make that month and ask yourself these questions: how many calls/contacts do I need to make in order to reach that goal?

Out of all the people you talk to, figure out your average conversion rate. Use that to calculate a general number of how many calls you need to make in order to hit your goal/quota.

This gives structure to your strategy and gives you a better idea of exactly how many people you need to talk to that week, month, quarter, etc.

And remember: the number of calls you should be making can change over time. You could change your sales goals or quota that would mean you would need to increase the amount of calls you make.

Or, best case, your cold calling skills could improve and you could improve your average conversion rate, which would mean that you don’t need to make as many calls in order to reach your goal.

Constantly re-evaluate your skill set, you goals, and your actual conversion rate in order to make the right number of calls to reach those goals.

2. Create Call Blocks

Let’s say you figure out that you need to be making 150 calls per week. That seems like a lot, so maybe you spend a solid 6 straight hours on one day calling number after number.

This is a huge mistake that many cold callers make. It’s inefficient and will mostly be unsuccessful, which results in you needing to make more and more calls to reach your goal.

Why is this so ineffective? For a number of reasons.

For one, making calls over and over for hours on end is mentally draining. You won’t be on your game after a couple hours. You’ll be tired, low energy, make mistakes, etc.

Also, not all times during the day are going to be the best for reaching prospects. Imagine calling someone in the middle of a busy workday. They’re probably not going to have the time to chat with a virtual stranger about a product or service when they’re heading to a meeting or in the middle of working.

So why waste your time calling them when they’re busy if you could concentrate your calls around times that are more effective for cold calling, like during commuting hours or around lunch time?

Our suggestion to maximize your time and success is to set up “call blocks” or “power hours” of 30 minutes to an hour of calling.

Arrange these blocks around times of the day that are most effective for calling your prospects and stay super focused and intense during that block of time. Maximize the number of calls that you can make in that time: use quality CRM, click-to-dial headsets etc. Have all the tools in place so you can whip through your calls in those specific blocks of time you’ve set aside.

When time’s up, take a break. Work on something else. Analyze your success with your calls, and how you can improve for the next call block. This will get your refreshed and ready to be intense and focused with your cold calling instead of idly dialing throughout the day.

3. Use a Script (Outline)

No matter how good you think you are, you must have a script or an outline prepared for your cold calls. A script forces you to think about your approach and process before you even dial the phone. It prepares you for different prospects, scenarios, and dialogues, that you might have. Think about what you’re going to say, how you’re going to say it.

However, you want to avoid sounding like a monotonous robot reading a script word for word. Create your script in the form of an outline. This gives you details and prompts of what to say in different situations, but it still allows you to speak and converse naturally.

Each call and prospect will be different, so an outline/script gives you a framework to work off of.

4. Practice Your Openings

Now that you have a script, it’s time to practice, practice, practice. Think about it: an actor doesn’t just get a script and walk on set the next day ready to go. They need to go over their lines, practice their delivery, and inject their character and personality into the written words.

And that’s exactly what you need to be doing with your cold call script, especially with your opening. The cold call opening is arguably the most important part of the call since it will determine whether you hook the prospect into continuing the conversations, or if you make them want to hang up on you right away.

So practice your outline, particularly your opening, over and over again. Make sure you practice out loud to yourself and role play with other people in order to really get it right.

5. Overcome Call Anxiety

We get it: making cold calls is hard and uncomfortable.

You sit there, staring at your first number that you’re supposed to dial, rehearsing everything that could go wrong. Worrying about the person being mean or rude to you. Getting nervous that you’ll forget what you’re supposed to say, or talk to fast, or that they’ll reject you, etc, etc.

This is where your call blocks you set up are going to motivate you. Those set and specific times are going to push you to get started and work intensely no matter what.

You should also use an auto-dialer in order to eliminate your anxious hesitation before making the call. Simple press a button and you’re off. No stopping now!

More on the idea of “no stopping”: during your call blocks, don’t stop for a break. This will allow call anxiety to return. Also, don’t stop and celebrate when you have a sale or a success. Use that success to push yourself forward to keep making calls.

Practicing your script and really knowing your opening will also help to cut down on call anxiety since you’ll know exactly what to say and when. The only thing that’s going to get you truly comfortable is doing it, so you just have to go for it!

6. Embrace the “No”

It’s inevitable that you’re going to get a lot of “nos” when you’re cold calling. In fact, you’ll get mostly “nos” or hang ups or dial tones.

Embrace that. Think about it: the worst thing that can possibly happen is they say no. The “no” has nothing to do with you personally or even with you as a company. It has to do with the customer/prospect, their needs, their wants, their state of mind, etc.

So don’t take it personally! Accept it and move onto the next call.

7. Use Open-Ended Questions

A lot of times, us salespeople just talk right through our script. We don’t pause to listen to the person we’re speaking with and let them talk.

If you ask open-ended questions instead of breezing through your own speech, it will allow them speak freely. This will expose to you opportunities and angles to actually understand what it will take for them to buy or what they really need in order to be comfortable with your product/service.

You’re going to learn so much more about what will make that consumer buy from you if you open the floor so that they can talk freely. It also makes you seem less aggressive, and makes them feel like they’re the one that’s supposed to be talking.

8. Use Trigger Events or Lead Your Conversation with Some Context

Even though this is a “cold call”, you should have some reason why you’re calling them, right? You want to lead with that reason to give context as to why you’re calling them.

The worst kind of cold call is when you call someone and you just lay into your script and the person on the other end of the line goes, “what in the world made you want to call me today?” In less polite terms, they mean, “why the heck are you bothering me?”

Leading with context will answer that question and help them understand why you’re reaching out. Certain “trigger events” can explain this context. For example, let’s say your service has an specific seasonal enrollment period. You could lead off by saying, “Hi, I’m Bill from [X company] and I’m calling you because it’s the open enrollment period and you have a limited period of time in order to consider your health insurance needs,” etc.

With aged leads, it can be a bit more difficult to identify the triggering event to the lead. Be sure to look into the aged lead file and use that to set up your context. For example, let’s say an aged lead submitted an inquiry a few months ago about their mortgage refinancing options and you’re a mortgage company.

You could open with, “Hey, this is Bill from XYZ mortgage company, and I just wanted to reach out to you because a couple of months ago you had asked about refinancing your mortgage. I wanted to see if you were able to do that or if you found any quotes/information on that?” That’s when you can lead into your open-ended questions and the rest of your script.

Giving context means they’ll be more likely to engage with you because they understand why they’re calling.

On the Call

OK. Now you’re set up with your script and you know what to do. Now it’s time to get on the call. Let’s look at specifics on how to be successful now that you’re on the phone.

1. Goals

Make specific goals. This is similar to understanding your numbers and your sales goals. But make it a bit broader.

What’s your intent with this batch of calls? What kinds of intent or interest do you want to push on the call?

Is it to make a sale? Is it to give them more information? Is it to sign them up for a newsletter? Or is it to remind them of your product/service? Answering these questions will give the call more direction and purpose for you to be successful.

2. Stories

The easiest and most effective way to engage someone is to tell a story. Monotonously reading through a script is boring, and people can tell that all you’re doing is trying to sell them.

A story feels more like a conversation and feels more like a true interaction rather than a sales pitch. To go back to the mortgage company example, start by saying, “I know your kids are graduating soon. It’s definitely a time of change and transition, especially with the home they grew up in, right?”

You can also tell stories of how your product/service has helped people, how your business came to be, etc. These are the types of engaging dialogues that you should have built into your script.

3. Questions

Questions, like stories, are also great for engaging the person. People like to talk about themselves. And as we said earlier, askign questions is a great way to not only keep the person on the phone, but also to get valuable information from them that you can use to sell your product/generate interest with that particular person.

Don’t just sit there with your script and tell them or lecture them. Many cold calls turns into a lecture instead of you asking them about what they need, what concerns them, what they’re looking for, etc.

And all those questions can then be pivoted into stories about how you can help them, which will inform them of all the information you want to get out to them.

4. Silence

Silence is good. You don’t need to fill every second with you or them talking. It’s OK to have moments of silence. In fact, it’s good.

Talking every second and not giving them a chance to breathe or think is annoying. They’ll get frustrated and it will feel like an annoying salesperson won’t stop talking.

But silence on your part is what allows the person to answer you and ask you things, which is exactly what you want. Remember, this is a call, a dialogue, not a straight sales pitch.

5. Tone

With in-person sales, you can use your body language, visual aids, you facial expression, etc, to convey emotion and meaning. On the phone, all you have is your voice, which makes your tone 1000 times more important than usual.

Think positively and makes sure you’re in a good mood and smiling during the call. You know how you can just hear when someone is smiling? This will come out during your delivery, so practice your phone voice/tone and make sure it gives off positive and good vibes.

6. Avoid Easy Outs

You might have the best opening, a great story, and the person on the other end says, “Well, now’s not the best time.” The easy out would to instantly say, “Let me send you [X]” or even just saying, “OK, sorry to bother you, goodbye!”

Just because you want to avoid being pushy doesn’t mean you should take the easy out. In that situation, you could easily say, “Is there a better time I could give you a call back?” Or, you could say, “I’d love to send you more information or give you my contact info so we could speak another time.”

7. Lead with Them

When you’re asking questions (hopefully open-ended ones), telling stories, giving them specific context, etc, you’re leading with them. Calling someone and instantly lecturing them or giving them too much information right from you will feel like you’re leading them, dragging them along on a call they didn’t sign up for.

Instead, you want to structure the call so you follow their lead. What do they want to tell you? What are they telling you they need to know more about? What products/services do they need? What’s their life/business like?

8. Listen

A lot of these tips lead up to this one: really listen to them. As long as you’re asking questions, allowing for silence, and following their lead, you should be listening to their answers. Not only does this make them feel heard, but it gives you information on how to proceed, how to handle the call, write down information they tell you, etc.

9. Don’t Waste Their Time

You don’t want to waste your time or their time. If you hit a brick wall or you run into an issue where it’s just not a fit, you don’t have to try and force it to work.

Early on in that conversation, you should be doing some qualifying to make sure that the call is worth both of your time and energy. The worst thing that you can do is if there’s no fit, you can find a way to end the conversation. This frees you up to move onto the next call that could be a perfect fit.

10. Stay on Track

These are a lot of things to keep in mind: questions, your script, your goals, your time, what they’re saying, stories, etc, etc. But be sure to stay on track. Make sure that your sales call is sort of a wandering path that is actually headed in the right direction instead of a wandering path that leads nowhere.

11. Be Positive

We touched on this with the “tone” section, but you want to be positive. Your positivity will radiate into your tone and your attitude on the call, which the person on the other end will pick up on.

Listen, we get it. It’s easy in cold calling to get frustrated and to even get irritated, offended, or upset after dealing with someone who was rude or irate or after not getting a sale that you really wanted.

But you have got to flush that out, move on, and stay positive. Each call is a clean slate.

This is where call blocks will help you as well. 30 minutes to an hour of positivity is doable for everyone. It’s really easy to pump yourself up and make sure you’re positive for that short period of time instead of trying to maintain it for 6 straight hours.

Success Rate

The last thing we’re going to go over is the success rate of cold calling. As you can probably guess, certain types of leads and prospects are going to be easier to convert to sales or convert to intent/action than others.

Think about it: calling a referral gives a better chance of success than calling a random number out of the phone book, right?

Let’s look a bit closer at success rate for different types of leads in order of conversion probability.

1. Referrals

Of course, your success rate is going to be highest with referrals. It makes sense, right? This lead comes from somebody that’s worked with you or knows you very well, has endorsed you, and has likely talked you up to the person they’re referring. This generally gives a very high conversion rate of around 70 to 80% that you should be able to convert into an actual deal/sale.

Obviously it isn’t a sure thing, but generally if they’re qualified lead and you get a referral, that should be a slam dunk.

2. Inbound Leads

Another one that should be relatively high is an inbound lead (someone coming to your website, your Facebook, your Facebook messenger, etc). Somehow, they’ve reached out to you, know who you are, etc.

With these leads, there’s probably a very good chance that that will turn into a closed deal because they’ve already indicated interest or intent, and they’ve likely heard of you before. You’ve already been run through a “filter”, so to speak, so you have some trust and credibility already. This makes it much easier to have success with a cold call.

3. Real-time Leads

The difference between real-time leads and inbound leads is that real-time leads still indicate the interest and intent that inbound leads have, but you haven’t built up that trust or credibility yet.

That makes the cold call a bit more difficult since you’ll have to “prove yourself” in a way to this type of lead. These take more cold calling skill in order to convert since you have a lot more work cut out for you.

4. Aged Leads

The same goes for aged leads. Not only is the trust/credibility aspect not there, but the intent that they showed could be from weeks or months ago, so much so that they don’t remember, or perhaps they’ve moved on from the intent they had.

This is where supplying context is going to be key, since it’s going to remind them of their intent and build trust in you that you’re not calling for no reason. That being said, aged leads are tough to convert, so be ready for a challenge!

5. Consumer Data

Consumer data can give you an excellent amount of leads, but they’re, to put it bluntly, cold. Ice cold.

But, these are the types of leads and prospects that many business make most of their calls to, since they’re often the most abundant and easily accessible. You’re talking sub 1% conversion rate because you’re just picking people out of the phone book and trying to do your best to segment them down to somebody that should be interested in your product.

But for a whole variety of reasons, um, they’re probably not. And of course there’s no intent or trust already built in. This is by far the toughest to convert with a very low success rate.

So… Is Cold Calling Effective?

Yes, but you must have a system! This article gives you a good starting off point and a great foundation in order to set up your cold calling system.

If you need some specific help besides “what is cold calling”, check out our other posts on the topic on our blog. Feel free to ask any questions as well in the comments below!

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Hey, Aged Lead Store fans. This is bill rice. Again, bringing you some more sales training from Aged Lead Store. Today we’re actually going to step back and literally define and talk in depth about what cold calling is. I am getting hammered with so many great questions about just the overall concept. Uh, even though you guys, a lot of you are buying h leads or in some way you’re doing a high volume of colleagues. Uh, there definitely seems to be some lack of clarity as to what cold calling actually is and how to be successful at it. So we’re going to cover all of that in today’s video.

All right, so let’s jump right in. I’m going to start all the way back at the basics. When I played basketball, our coach always whenever we screwed up a game, always took us back to the fundamentals, back to the basics. And that’s what we’re going to do today with cold calling. I know so many of you are already using age leads or maybe using consumer data or maybe you have been given or acquired a book of business. We get a lot of this from our insurance agents, but even some of our mortgage loan officers are experiencing this. Um, and so the expectation is that they will be calling through these large volume list. But I’m getting the sense that really, um, a lot of us don’t have a good understanding of what cold calling is. We don’t have a comfort level that it’s okay to cold call and then we’re providing a useful service to the consumers that we’re calling.

And then ultimately we haven’t sort of developed a system or a mindset to be successful in cold calling. So I’m going to step through that step by step. Um, one thing you can see right off the bat, I’m going to need a larger whiteboard. There’s a lot to be covered here, but I want to give you all the tools to give you a foundation. Uh, and then week over week we’ll continue to build as we have been in these little individual niche areas and to improve your skills in the nuanced areas of overcoming objections, doing good openings and all those sorts of things. But I want to give you a great foundation to start with. And so we’re going to get a little more thorough with that and it’ll be a little bit longer. So let’s start writing at the beginning. Uh, what we’re talking about today is what is cold calling.

We want to make sure that we all have a clear understanding of what it is and why it’s okay to do cold calling now where they’re doing B2b or most of you are calling directly to consumers. That’s okay too. We’re going to talk about that. And then ultimately how to take this concept, this sales tool, the sales skill that we all should have. I’ve got really strong arguments that everyone should learn to be good at cold calling for a variety of other reasons, regardless of the type of sales you’re in, you need to be good at. And I’m going to tell you how to kind of build success, uh, around this skill and how to improve it. Okay, so first thing, what is cold calling? Um, I define this with three very specific things. That to me would define what a cold call is. And what it isn’t, which is really an important as we’re kind of thinking about this concept.

So a cold call is ultimately a call that you’re making to someone that you’ve had no prior contact with. Um, and that has shown no level of intent. So when I’m talking about this is, you know, they haven’t filled out a form on your website, you haven’t purchased them, uh, from a real time lead provider because there’s a show of intent there. Um, and even in the genre of aged leads oftentimes where we think we’re actually making a cold call. But really by this definition you’re not because it’s some point that consumer has shown some intent. Um, asking for, um, someone from your industry, you know, the uh, insurance or mortgage, they’ve asked for you to give them a call, um, to give him some information. So although I would categorize the skillset you need to work realtime leads, even realtime leads and age leads, but real time leads to, I think sometimes we forget this, I would say the skillset as much like a cold call because they probably aren’t expecting a specific call from you.

But they do have this intent element even when you’re talking about age leads. So that’s kind of it. A little bit of an advantage, um, to actual traditional cold calling. So no prior contact, the consumer themselves haven’t shown any level of intent. Um, and as we get into the legal part, this becomes really important too because generally most of the calls that you’re going to be making are not actually truly cold calls. Um, and then the third one, um, the goal of cold calling, which I think is important to define it, the ultimate goal of a cold call is to begin to create intent. So even on that first call, although some of you will be good enough and you’ll be lucky enough to actually make one call closes, oftentimes when we’re cold calling that first initial call, just like when we’re sending drip emails, that first initial drip email is to search, to sort of tease out some intent or get them to a place where they realize they actually have a demand or a need or a want for your particular product or service.

So, so when I’m defining cold calling, uh, this is how I define it. They have the consumer, uh, you’ve had no prior contact with the consumer. You’ve the consumer themselves have shown no level of intent. And then ultimately the goal is to begin to create that intent with your call. So this is one of the biggest questions that I get. And even if this isn’t a question, even if you understand the answer to our cold calls illegal, I think a lot of times we have anxiety because sometimes when we make cold calls the consumer because they’re not expecting it, right? We haven’t had prior content, they haven’t actually asked for the call in some cases, um, sometimes they can get nasty and they can start to throw out things that that sound or the language they use sound scary from a legal standpoint. So although I’m not a lawyer and of course you all should consult your attorneys or your general counsel for your organization to support you in the answer to this question, I’m going to tell you generally what the information is around cold calls.

So, first and foremost, cold calls are not illegal. Um, so it’s, it’s tried and true. Um, it’s very American to be entrepreneurial and to reach out to potential consumers and share what you have to sell and once you have to offer to them. Um, so that’s something that’s just kind of embedded, uh, in, in the nature of, uh, you know, the American way. So I don’t think at any point in time cold calls will become illegal. Um, but it is important to understand, although it is not legal and there is a subtle difference between regulation and something that is criminally prohibitive. Right. So, um, so there is regulation, uh, that manages how we should be making these types of cold calls, these type of sales calls. Um, but it is in no way prohibited. And that’s generally the case in other markets as well in the UK and Canada and that sort of thing.

So, so there, there are regulatory restrictions around cold calling, but it is not prohibited. So in order for you to feel confident in doing this kind of sales calling, uh, it’s important for you to kind of understand the rules, uh, which are very reasonable and very, um, almost intuitive. They’re just kind of basic politeness, I would call them now, but there are some rules that we need to follow. So let me go through those real quick. Um, and I will put some links in here. Um, actually this is control. This regulatory environment is controlled by the FTC Federal Trade Commission and the same people that control generally sales and marketing practices. Um, but there’s actually a really nice, um, kind of line by line, a breakdown of this on the sec a site which actually regulates investment activities, which I think it’s there because a lot of financial advisors and investors now have a tendency to cold call.

So, uh, but anyway, here’s the basic rules. Um, you should be doing all of your colleagues between 8:00 AM and 9:00 PM of the actual time zone that you’re calling into. This is generally very easy to do in most CRMs. Um, when you put in a contact, some of these are even done. It gets a little bit confusing sometimes by the portability of phone numbers, but either by the phone number of the address, generally your CRM. Uh, we’ll sort of correct for that and make sure that you’re calling within the appropriate time and can lock out those leads. Or do you can actually, um, program that in. And I know when I, uh, use close Io, which is now closed.com, uh, one of my favorite tools for sales, uh, CRM, uh, they actually, I had the ability to program that in so I wouldn’t even see a lead unless it hit this window.

And then of course, um, then, uh, 9:00 PM that’s even kind of late generally went on to do this. But we’ll talk about, I’ve got another video coming up where I’m going to actually talk about kind of the most productive times to call a, which is kind of interesting. But anyway, that’s generally your window. 8:00 AM in the morning till 9:00 PM. Uh, number two, uh, you should always clearly and correctly and accurately introduce yourself, your name, your company, your affiliation. That’s something that we put in every, each and every one of our scripts. Um, so this is just go without saying. Where I see salespeople get in trouble is when they lack confidence in what they’re selling and they tried to be somewhat deceptive. Um, and so you absolutely do not want to do that. Um, and we’ll talk about that in a second. You want to respect the do not call rules, right?

So, although we do our best and every organization has different requirements and processes by which, uh, they enforce the do not call registry system. Um, if someone tells you that, hey, I don’t want to be called, or I’m on the DNC list and for whatever reason your system hasn’t caught that, um, then just be polite, right? Just be polite and say, I will take you off our list. And usually that solves the problem. Uh, but in all cases, you want to do your level best to respect those people who have intentionally said, I do not want to be called. Um, sales, any sales, uh, have to be confirmed in writing. So what this means is that somebody says, Yep, I’ll buy it. You can’t actually, um, confirm the transaction verbally via a phone call. Write it. Generally, this is just good practice even for your own business.

Uh, generally there needs to be a process of signing a contract or some sort of signature could be docusign and that sort of thing. But you can’t confirm and settle the transaction and sort of truly close the deal on the phone. There needs to be some sort of contractual, a transaction that takes place to confirm that actual sales and the exchanging of money. Um, and they’ll, last but not least, this kind of goes back to all these things that we’re saying here. Don’t lie, right? Don’t be deceptive. We talked about this over and over again. Um, people respect and you’re trying to build trust. That’s a fundamental thing that you’re trying to do with sales, is trying to build trust and credibility with your clients. So ultimately it just makes tons of sense. Don’t lie, right? Don’t lie about who you are. Don’t lie about where you’re from and don’t lie about your goal or your, um, your objective of this particular call.

So that’s kind of what cold calling is to give you a good framework on which we’re going to build success. So now let’s flip over to the success side of the chart and talk about what creates a successful cold call. Um, so just kind of a list here and I’ll talk about each and every one of these. Um, but this is where you should start to sort of take some notes and this is going to help you build out your process and your system, uh, for actually doing cold calls. Uh, it will help you construct your sales scripts as well. Um, so encourage you to take some notes here and of course, as always, our white whiteboards will be in there as an image, so you’ll be able to look over it again. Um, no your numbers, cold calling unquestionably is a game of large numbers.

So I think it’s really important if you’re going to cold call a, that you really have an understanding of what it’s going to take in order to meet your number. So often I’ll get people that will tell me stories of Haiti, you know, or even watch them or observe how they do. When I had a sales team, uh, I would watch the floor and you would see some people that just kind of haphazardly made calls and they felt like I’m doing something and therefore I will eventually hit the quota. But you actually have to go backwards and do the math. I encourage you to do that. You want to go with, hey, this is how many deals that I need to close this month in order to hit my quota. And then you need to back out and start to do that math or some worksheets.

I could probably share one or two of those with you, but then you need to figure out, okay, in order to get that many closed deals, how many calls actual contacts do I need to make? How many contacts? So you certain to kind of back in the conversion rate. So you say, okay, how many, um, how many deals do I need to close? Um, and figure out, okay, on average of the people that I talked to, what is my conversion percentage? So I actually get them on the phone, what is the percentage chance? Um, or that my, hopefully you have some numbers. What is the percentage of those people that I actually am able to convert generally in any given month? So then that gives me the number of people I need to talk to. And then you look at, depending on the types of data that you’re using, and we’ll talk about that at the very end, but the type of data that you’re actually calling on, you need to understand of the data that I have in my call list, how many calls does it take in order to make that many connections to actually talk to that many people.

Um, and again, you just back out that conversion rate as well. So, and then ultimately you come up with this number that says, hey, in this month, I need to call 3000 people in order to get there. And then of course, you’ve got to break that down by business day and figure out like, do I need to make 50 calls a day? Do I need to make 80 calls a day? Do I need to make a hundred calls a day? Where I see people making mistakes is they just start calling it and they’re like, ah, 20 calls feels like a lot. And they do it and they get to the end of the month. They made 20 calls every single day for the 20 business days in the month. Uh, but then they find out that because of the conversion rates that they have, or the quality of their skills at any given point. Wow.

They weren’t even close to the number of calls they needed to make instead of 20 a day. Uh, because of their skillset or because of the data that they’re calling on, they need to make like a hundred or maybe even 200. Um, so you’ve got to do your numbers. You have to understand your numbers or you will always fall short. You will be amazed, especially if you’re cold calling. Um, quantity is everything. And then of course you’re going to get better and better. So all those numbers are going to improve. Uh, but you’ve got to start with quantity in all cases when you’re talking about cold calling, um, I would always tell you just for the practice and the quality and the improvement of your sales skills, you should be getting really close to a hundred calls a day. Um, if you’re going to use this technique. So, um, number two, create call blocks.

This is another big mistake I see people making with cold calling. So they’ll go in and they’ll spend eight hours, eight hours calling, and that is horribly, horribly inefficient because you truly will not spend eight hours calling. And there’s a whole variety of reasons. Some of this, and we’ll talk about here in a second of reasons that you just cannot physically or mentally call, call after call after call after call after call for eight hours. Nor do you need to do that. So set up call blocks my suggestion, 30 minute to an hour call blocks, that’s it. Take a break. But those 30 minutes or an hour or whatever you call block is, they need to be super intense. You need to maximize the number of calls that you can make in that time, which means quality CRM, click to dial headsets. You got to kind of have all the tools in place so that you can just whip through, make those a hundred calls a day, um, but only spend perhaps three hours.

It’s three call blocks actually on the phone. And then in between you’re going to do some other stuff to make those cold calls more effective. But create call blocks. Don’t just sit there and idle, they call because what’s going to happen is you’re going to dial a few, these are some Facebook and you can check on the web. You’re going to check your email again to dial another one. Plus there’s some callings or hesitation in between there. So that’s going to delay you actually hitting the button to make the call. So there’s all kinds of reasons to create these intense, uh, what we used to call power hours of calling and use those exclusively. Don’t just kind of randomly haphazardly dial throughout the day. Use a script. Always, always use a script. Think about what you’re going to say, how you’re going to say it. Um, but I would encourage you to do it in the form of an outline because whenever I’m talking about the scripts, and you probably heard me talk about this before, when you’re using a script, you should be using it like an actor, right?

You’re supposed to, to get some detail around what you want to say and the different types of things that you will present in potentially the different types of responses that you will get. But all of that should be in the form of an outline because you want it to feel natural and its delivery. But in all cases, use a script. Don’t just wing it, no matter how good a salesperson you are. I’ve been selling for decades and I still use a script when I’m actually making calls, right? Practice your opening practice, practice, practice. In all cases. I talk about this all the time too. You can put it on paper, it can look beautiful, you can maybe even read it back to yourself. But when you actually open your mouth and say it out loud and practice it, a lot of times it becomes a train wreck, right?

So you want to take that outline and you want to practice it. And specifically because you only have a split split second to get it right, you want to practice that opening over and over and over again. And probably even a couple of natural opening objections are really good to train through that. So practice your openings, overcome call anxiety. This will actually do a lot. Creating your call blocks will help come over that. Callings. Any, so when I’m talking about is you’re looking at the phone or you’re looking at your screen now in this modern age, um, and like the hardest thing to do is to click that first phone number, right? Because you’re really not, you’re just thinking about all the things that are going to happen next, right? You’re like, they’re going to yell at me. They’re not, I’m not going to hear anything but dial tones, you know, you.

So all those negative, um, emotions and thoughts about cold calling or going to kind of be in your head. And that’s why it’s important to have these intense call blocks because when that time hits, it’s like a starting block, right? As soon as that time hits, you want to hit the call button and you want to go and ideally you have an auto dialer so you don’t even have the opportunity to stop until you make an intentional effort. Because once you get into that flow, you start making calls whether you’re having success or not. And we’re going to talk about the nose here in a minute. You’ll be in a flow, right? You won’t have that anxiety. So that’s what’s going to get your call volume up. But if you have powers or we make a call and then after that call you get up and take a break.

Boom, you got to overcome that call anxiety again. And that’s probably easily anywhere from five minutes to a half an hour. That anxiety is going to take up an hour of your call day. So that’s why I talk about like don’t just randomly call throughout the day have those intense called blocks where you’re like, I am not going to get out of this chair until I’m finished with my call block. The other thing that’s important in overcoming call anxiety of why not to sort of stop. Um, and so you have to get over this again is if you actually get a sale, this is a little trick that I got from I think Steli ft from close dot. Io said this, which is genius. Or maybe, maybe it was some. Anyway, I don’t know where I got this from. So, um, hopefully forgive me for attributing it incorrectly.

But, um, what they said, um, was that whenever they made a sale, they saw their sales team, um, generally when a was closed or they had a successful call, everybody who that person was relieved and they would get up and they would take a break and they would celebrate. And instead he said, no. When you get that success, use that as traction and keep pushing forward instead of interrupting and creating again that call anxiety. Because even though you had a success, five minutes later, you tried to get back on that phone, you’re going to be delayed because you’re going to be thinking about again, all the negative thoughts as well. Okay? Embrace the no. Um, this is super important. Um, you’re going to get lots and lots of no’s when you’re talking about cold calling and you just have to understand that one, the no’s have nothing to do with you.

Um, those nos had everything to do with that customer’s particular day. What’s going on in their life? Their needs is a business. There’s a whole variety of things that leads them to say no. And 99% of those nos have absolutely nothing to do with you personally. Um, and nothing to do with your sales skill. Those nos are because that consumer is not in the right state of mind to say yes or to use your product or service. So that’s okay. Uh, no is okay. The more nos you get through, the faster you’ll get to yes to. That’s super important to just change your mindset that a has absolutely nothing to do with you. Certainly personally and probably not your sales skills either. Asking open ended questions, you’re opening the floor, you’re going to learn so much more about what will make that consumer, that customer buy from you if you open the floor so that they can talk freely and they feel like they’re the one that’s supposed to be talking.

A lot of times the salespeople, we just talk over and talk through our script and don’t ever pause to listen to them and let them talk. But if you ask open ended questions, it will allow them to expose to you opportunities and angles to actually understand what it will take for them to buy or what they really need in order to be comfortable with your solution. A use trigger events or lead with context. This is another thing that I think oftentimes gets forgotten in the case of cold calling. Um, whenever you’re calling on a lead or you should always have some sort of context. Um, are some sort of reason that you’re calling. The worst kind of cold call is when you call someone and you just lay into your, the product that you’re selling or the service that you’re selling and the person on the other end of the line goes, what in the world made you want to call me today?

Right? So depending on the type of calling or the type of sales that you’re doing, trigger events could be, uh, you know, a particular season open enrollment. Um, so you’re saying, Hey, I’m calling you because it’s the open enrollment period and you have a limited period of time in order to consider your health insurance needs and those sorts of things. So that’s like a triggering event. But it can be something even less obvious than that. Oftentimes with our age leads clients, what we’ll see people, they’ll get age leads, but they don’t leverage the triggering event or the context that’s inherent in that age lead file. So in that file, you know, when they actually submitted their realtime inquiry or request. So I always make my call in context with that. So if it was a couple of months ago by a 60 day old leads, guess what my opening is going to be, hey, this is bill rice.

I’m calling from Xyz mortgage company and I just wanted to reach out to you because a couple of months ago, um, you had asked about refinancing your mortgage and I wanted to see if you were able to do that or a couple months ago you reached out and made an inquiry online, uh, or reached out and asked online for some rate quotes around purchasing a new home. Have you purchased a new home? Are you still thinking about purchasing a home? So even within that cold lead file, there is some context and when you give that context to the customer, then there’ll be more likely to engage with you because they understand, oh, this is why they’re calling. That makes sense. Yes. I did apply online a couple months ago, so it makes total sense that you would call me or oh yeah, I didn’t realize open enrollments now, but if that’s something that I need to consider, like I understand why you’re calling me at this point in time.

So try to place that call in context and give them a good reason to know why you’re calling. Once you’re on the call, here are some key things that you should always be thinking about that we’ll make each call more successful, um, for each and every call or, or the actual lists that you’re calling and even given time. So it may be a defined list that you’ve kind of shaped, um, understand the goal that you’re trying to achieve. So if they’re brand new age leads, um, that you’ve just bought and they’re 60 days old, um, your goal is probably to start to create intent or to reengage with them and lead them into your book of business versus whoever called them before. And so you’re kind of trying to, your goal for the, each of those calls is to pivot them into your book of business.

To, to get them in the mindset that your, their provider, your, their expert, their mortgage expert, you’re their insurance expert. And so that’s kind of the goal of that call. Um, maybe it’s people you’re calling through her list where you’ve actually made some contact before or maybe their past clients and you’ve actually sold them a product before. So the goal of that particular list that you’ve formulated for that day is, hey, I want to introduce them to a second product and it’s this particular product cause I pulled everybody that bought this product. Um, maybe they bought term life insurance for them and maybe now I want to talk to them about some other sort of complimentary products. So in all cases, when you build out your, uh, your call list, make sure you have a goal, use stories. Um, there’s the fastest way to get somebody engaged with you is to tell them a story.

It’s also the easiest way to sort of remember your script. Um, so put together a few different stories. Um, and generally these are going to be stories about how you’ve helped other clients or how you’ve, um, done things. Uh, so if somebody’s actually in an open ended question leads you, hey, yeah, I, you know, kids are just graduating from high school and now they’re going to college or whatever. And so you pull out your story that says, oh, for all those people that are just became empty nesters, like this is the story I need to tell, or this is how I’ve helped other empty nesters improve their insurance situation. So, um, stories are everything. Questions, same thing with questions. Uh, don’t sit there with your script and tell them, tell them, tell them, tell them lecture than lecture them. I hear this all the time, especially in the financial services industry now because we generally know more than the customer does about financial services and products and the complexity of these products.

Um, oftentimes I’ll heal here. Uh, salespeople, they’re just hammering on the information. They’re like, ah, I’m just lecturing them. Like some sort of, um, you know, college professor and trying to impart on them and you’re trying to do a service. It’s not like you’re trying to do something bad. You’re like, oh, they need to know this and this and this and this and this. And so it turns into a lecture instead of you asking them questions about what they need, what concerns them, uh, what they’re looking for. And all those questions can then be pivoted into stories about how you can help them, which those stories will inform them of all the educational stuff that you want to get out to them. So lead with questions. Uh, embrace silence. This is another thing. We’re not really good at. Moments of silence.

Okay.

Drive US crazy, right? Even for me, that moment to hold that silence there for a second. I felt like I should be saying something cause I don’t want to make this video too long. I wanted to get all this information to you, but just holding that silence there, we’ll open the floor for the customer to start to talk back to you and to get engaged and involved. Uh, your tone. Um, I like to make calls standing up. Um, there is something to be said with the tone that comes into your voice. So you want to be thinking positively. You want to be smiling, you want to be standing up. All of that comes through in your delivery, even on the phone. And people can hear it. Avoid easy outs. Um, I hear people doing this all the time. Uh, even when I get sales calls, I’m amazed at how easy some folks let me off the hook.

Um, in fact, some cases they’ll say, hey, you know, this is so and so I’m selling this. I was like, hey, it’s free. Really kind of not the best time. And they’re like, Hey, can I send you something and boom, that’s it. They’re off the call. I’m like, oh, sure, sure. You could send me something. Um, but that was the easy out. Instead of saying, Hey, um, you know, kind of they say, hey, it’s not a good time. Well, I’ve got some information that I would love to send you. Um, will you be when you get a chance to look at it this week? And if so, what’s the best time to kind of call you back? Um, and try to schedule an appointment, right? So try to avoid those easy outs. So we’ll lead with them. No one likes to be sort of pulled along by the nose, so you want them an open ended questions, help you do this.

Um, and uh, the stories will help you do this. It’ll allow them to tell you things, um, that indicate where they want to go and then you just kind of walk alongside of them. Um, and so leading with them I think is a great way in order to move the conversation forward and move towards your goal without them feeling like they’re being drug along. Listen, of course, this makes a ton of sense. You need to be listening. This is silence and listening actually kind of go together. Um, I used to tell some of my folks on the sales team is the person who talks first loses, right? So use that silence so that you are actually building in time for your customer, your prospect to talk back to you and for you to listen. Sometimes I’ll even do little things like, Hey, I’m, uh, you know, we’ll be talking along or whatever.

They’re telling me some things about their knees and I’m like, I’ll pause, I’ll use a little silence. I’ll say, hey, just give me a second. I’m taking some notes. Right? And they’ll hear my keyboard clicking. I’m, and that’s a really sort of trusting, credible reinforcing moment because they like, oh, they’re listening. They’re actually taking notes. And of course you should be actually taking notes in your CRM. Uh, but that’s a great way to, to make sure that they understand that you’re listening and you make sure that you’re capturing the information. Um, so the next time you call them or the next time you engage with them, um, they’ll actually understand that you weren’t listening. Don’t waste their time. Right? If you hit a black few, hit a brick wall or you run into an issue where it’s just not a fit, uh, you don’t always their time and you don’t want to waste your time.

So kind of early on in that conversation, you should be doing some qualifying. The worst thing that you can do is if there’s no fit, um, that they should not be wasting their time with you, nor do you want to keep them on the phone and realize you don’t have a product to sell them. Stay on track. Um, so stories are great and you definitely want to wander into the personal, um, all of the time, uh, but make sure that all though your sales call is sort of a wandering path, um, that, that, that path is actually headed in the right direction and you keep it on track in all cases. Be Positive. Uh, I can’t tell you how important this is. It’s easy in cold calling to get frustrated and to even get irritated, uh, to get offended or upset or to have some irate customer in your head.

You got to flush that out. You’ve got to be positive and that’s where call blocks will help you as well. 30 minutes to an hour, man. It’s really easy to kind of pump yourself up and make sure you’re positive for that period of time. Um, but it’s super important. It’s going to come through and your tone and all of these other things. Okay. Last thing that I want to cover in order to really give you a firm foundation of cold calling and why it’s important is to talk about the success rate of cold calling and how to make or what makes it effective or why you should be doing it. So success rate people are always like, what percentage of these should convert. Okay. Um, lot of that is trial and error. You have to track your numbers and you have to know your numbers so that you can kind of do your numbers up here.

But what I will tell you is there’s a direct correlation to certain types of data or lists that you will call on and higher conversion or percentage rates for a whole variety of reasons. So it is useful to kind of walk through that hierarchy and talk about it just a little bit. Of course, your success rate and when I’m talking about conversion actually do we need deal is going to be highest with referrals, right? Somebody that’s worked with you or knows you very well, uh, has endorsed you and generally, um, and a very high conversion rate in your, you know, 70 to 80%, um, you should be able to convert that referral into an actual deal, especially if they have the need. Obviously you’re going to get some referrals where it’s just not a fit, right? Um, but generally if they’re qualified lead and you get a referral, that should be a slam dunk.

Another one that should be relatively high is it actually you get an inbound lead, so someone’s coming to your website or they come to Facebook and talk to you on Messenger, but somehow they’ve reached out to you. They may be called into you, uh, if they’ve actually reached out to you and picked you already. You’ve been through some series of filters. Um, and again, there’s probably a very good chance that that will turn into a closed deal as well because they’ve kind of already done some of that filtering. And of course they have that intent. So in both of these cases, generally intent is built in. You’ve already been run through a filter, so you have some trust and credibility built into that initial inquiry. Um, and then ultimately, hopefully it’s qualified, right? Um, then we start to sort of rapidly degrade as far as conversion rate is concerned and where you have to have this cold calling skill.

This is the, this is my big pitch for why you have to be a good cold caller is because after these two in my mind, uh, and, and, and my philosophy, you’re cold calling, right? And you might be surprised that I’ve got real time leads here. You’re like, Oh, I’ve realtime leads. I shouldn’t be cold calling. Right? Um, and this is where it’s really important because you’re actually in the point of sort of buying a, even up here in inbound leads, if you’re using something like PPC or Seo, in order to get that inbound lead to some degree, you’re kind of working on a cold call there as well because there’s kind of been something that push them in to your funnel, but they may not entirely know who you are. But definitely as you get to real time leads there, they’re off on some random site.

They definitely had intent. They want to have a call back from you, but they don’t know who you are. So for all intensive reasons, um, there’s intent here but they don’t know who you are and there is no trust and credibility built yet. Um, and so these all are cold calls in my, uh, as far as how you build them, how you have success with them, even with a realtime lead. Um, you need to be good at cold calling or these realtime leads are not going to convert. Right? H leads is really the same thing. There’s a little bit of time in between these. That’s by definition the aged part of the leads. Um, but essentially, um, and I’ve seen this happen sometimes depending on your system, um, age leads can almost convert as well as the realtime leads. I mean, I’ve seen people that convert realtime leads to 3%.

Right? You can do that with age leads for sure if you get the system right. Um, of course, sometimes people, even the best of people that realtime leads are probably only getting them up into that by maybe 10% because you got to layer on to that. There’s kind of some offsetting factors here, layer into here. There’s like, you know, four or five people competing, right? So you’ve got competition. Have you got sort of overload? These people are getting hammered, you know, with a bunch of calls real quick. There’s a lot of anxiety that gets built up. So there’s some offsetting factors here. So a lot of cases and you’re cold calling success rate on real at age leads can get really close together. And in fact, I tend to, I tend to open them and tried to, to open them up or do my initial welcome to them in a slightly different way.

Uh, but my processes for realtime and age leads and I don’t really look that much different. And then of course, ultimately consumer data, this is like real, real, real cold leads, right? Uh, this is actually consumer data that’s an assembled, if you’re ever been in the B two B market, this is what you kind of live off of. And ultimately it’s going to be very low. You’re talking like sub 1% conversion rate because you’re just picking people out of the phone book basically and trying to do your best to segment them down to somebody that should be interested in your product. But for a whole variety of reasons, um, they’re probably not. And of course there’s no intent to built in there. So this is the toughest and it really low. So by understanding that, um, so I’ve been here and you’re talking, you know, in the upper core tile, if we would break these into four chunks, you know, the upper core tile.

So if 75 plus, right when you get into real time and age leads, you’re moving down into that part of that bottom core tile. And then we, we’re talking about consumer data. You’re like kind of sub bottom core tile. You’re really trying to make some magic happen there and you have to have a system. And when I talk about systems, you’ve seen my funnels in my system, building videos hopefully if not take a at them. Uh, but you’re talking about email, you’re talking about social media, you’re talking about maybe some paid or some SEO and a website and then you’re talking about the cold call and it’s got to have all those things working together. So it’s cold calling affective. I would say unequivocally yes with the caveat with a system. So make sure you take a look at those systems videos cause it’s super important to have all these things working together.

So hopefully you’ve enjoyed that. We covered a ton of content about cold calling, but this is going to give you a, a lactate foundation. Give you a reference point. You can go back and look at this as we dive into some of the more individual aspects of actually succeeding here and start to break down some of these individual points. But I wanted to have, I wanted you to have this foundation in this longer video, so hopefully you’ve enjoyed it. As always, hit that like button. Um, love to get the likes. Um, if you have any questions, please ask them below. Um, and just to give you a question, I want to know how many people are cold calling. Uh, if you are cold calling Colleen. Um, right now in your sales system, put yes on cold calling. Uh, if the answer is no, then put no, I’m not cold calling. And tell me why. Like what’s holding you back? Cause I’d love to get in there and answer that and maybe push you over or get through that block that is holding you back from actually making those cold calls and be successful. It’s such an important part of this. And then ultimately make sure you subscribe to our channel and we’ll see you next week with another sales training video.

About Bill Rice

Bill Rice is the Founder & CEO of Kaleidico, a digital agency. Bill specializes in providing law firms, attorneys, banks, and emerging technology clients with lead generation strategies enabled with content marketing, SEO, PPC, and email marketing.