Almost all experts expect the corona crisis to culminate in a long period of financially difficult times for many companies. Insofar as companies do not go bankrupt, many of them will still have to tighten their belts firmly in order not to go under in the coming years. On the one hand, that is a doom scenario; on the other hand, it is an opportunity to distinguish yourself from your competition by surviving, being smarter, being more entrepreneurial and daring to look ahead.
Although your number of customers and / or assignments may decrease and you therefore generate less turnover, you will have to invest in your marketing strategy. Tapping into new potential customers is no longer a luxury for many companies, but a precondition for staying healthy. An option that many companies do not use, but that can add a lot, is cold acquisition. There are many misunderstandings about cold acquisition and for many the term even has a negative connotation. This is largely unjustified. But what exactly is cold acquisition? And what can it bring your company?
Cold versus warm acquisition
Many entrepreneurs have this misconception cold acquisition This means as much as haphazardly calling customers or other companies to beat up a fixed script, in the hope that someone will say yes in between and you have a sale or a lead. We are certainly not talking about professional cold acquisition, but more about the 'shot hail' method. That is something radically different.
Cold acquisition - unlike warm acquisition - means that you approach customers with whom you have never done business and who therefore probably do not know you at that time. Of course it can always be the case that a customer already knows you or has heard of you, but that you have never had contact. Even then we still speak of cold acquisition. The point is that you come into contact with potential customers who in principle have not indicated that they are waiting for your offer.
This in contrast to warm acquisition. In doing so, you contact customers who have either indicated that they would like to receive information, or that they want to be called, or with whom you have previously done business. There is already a relationship of trust and in some cases there is even one lead (in short: concrete interest in a product or service).
Cold acquisition is generally experienced as a more difficult form of customer contact, precisely because that relationship of trust is not (yet) there.
Many companies do not dare
It is therefore no wonder that many companies do not dare to bet on cold acquisition. The risk of failure is high, they believe, and agents who, for example, call 'cold' often hear 'no', which is not good for motivation.
All such assumptions stem from an incorrect use of the art of cold acquisition. Nothing is more annoying than a company calling unsolicited and rushing to sell you their stuff. Cold acquisition does not start with selling, but starts with making genuine contact with the person or company on the other end of the line.
The role of cold acquisition in your marketing mix
You probably already have an existing marketing strategy that clearly describes the raison d'être of your company and what you have to offer your customers. From such a marketing strategy you can easily distil what the problems are that your company can solve with potential new customers. What value can you add? Do you sell or offer something that can help other companies through the economically difficult times, for example?
Cold acquisition can help you map out to an almost infinite pool of prospects which of those prospects might suit the products and / or services your company offers. Therefore, it is important to initially use your cold acquisition as a tool that generates leads, not as a tool to turn sales immediately and as quickly as possible.
A good cold acquisition conversation starts with asking questions and showing genuine interest in the other party. By asking open questions, you seriously hope to get and stay in touch. During the conversation you try to clarify whether the party on the other end would benefit from the value that your company can add. If that is the case, it is important to include this prospect as a lead in your customer base. For example by sending information or making a follow-up appointment. Wanting to close deals too quickly is always fatal.
Now that all sounds pretty simple and beautiful, but if it were that easy, every company would make heavy use of cold acquisition, right? The truth is that many entrepreneurs do not really know how to properly use cold acquisition and what it can yield to companies.
When should you use cold acquisition?
Cold Acquisition is a perfect tool for companies that are seeing their business decline, for whatever reason. Often that reason is not even for the account of the company itself. Many companies are seeing them in the current corona crisis decrease clientele for example because their customers go bankrupt themselves, or because measures limit their customers in their spending behavior. As an entrepreneur there is not much you can do about that, but you must have an answer. That answer could be cold acquisition.
Betting on cold acquisition is useful when you need more customers in both the short and long term to be able to stay healthy. It is also a very useful tool to use when relatively many companies in your industry are going to fail. You want to bring your company to potential customers as an alternative.
What cold acquisition can bring your company
No companies have ever grown or remained large by not working with other entrepreneurs. This also applies to the present time. If you want to survive during years of crisis, you will have to work optimally with other entrepreneurs to create win / win situations. Cold acquisition helps with that. You build an atlas of potential business customers with whom you can solve a problem or with whom you can establish a fruitful business relationship.
'Always Stay Sincere'
Mark van Gerven, CEO of training and sales agency Sense For Sales from Voorhout, explains:
“Despite all the modern communication options, such as e-mail, WhatsApp and LinkedIn messages, to get in touch with customers, one-to-one communication via the phone is still the way to acquire new customers. We actually notice this continuously at companies that join us cold acquisition training purchase or outsource acquisition to us. High-quality telephone contact with your customers - especially if they are business customers - is much more valued than e-mails or other forms of communication. You can sincerely come into contact by phone. We give this to our trainees as much as possible: make sure it is sincere and come into contact from person to person. That is generating leads. ”