Disclaimer – I do not recommend using these digital networking methods for spam or any other form of malicious intent, but instead use it to actively engage in effective business networking buy adding value and offering a useful service.
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. (Yes I hear you muttering, those of you who are sales masters. Not everyone can be as awesome as you)
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 gaming 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 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:
Number 1 – 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 by adding value with someone in common.
For further reading check out Hubspot’s The Definitive Guide to Awkward LinkedIn Networking
Number 2 – Whois with agenda (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 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.
Number 3 – Email Scrape with Agenda (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 networking 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. Once you do get your first sale, you will get a sense of what works, and from there and all the failed leads, you can being to start 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 maximise your click through rate and thus the effort it takes per sale.
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.
For maximum effects, mix these outbound strategies with an effective inbound strategy.
That’s it for now. Best of luck out there.