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The Solopreneur's Guide to Effective Cold Calling #1: Importance of audience analysis.

So is cold calling dead? Well, the answer is a bit more complicated and a simple Yes or No wouldn't quite cover it.

The thing is - the data out there suggests that millions of slaes professionals like you and I still rely on direct sales calls to help grow our businesses. A study conducted by Rain Group found that 82 percent of buyers are open to booking meetings when sales reps reach out.

Naturally, the level of impact that cold calls (or cold calling) can have on your business will depend on two major factors:

Your Audience: Who is this for?

Let me start by saying that as a sales guy, this is the first thing/element I examine whenever I am faced with the challenge of selling something or having to create systems around the marketing of product X or Y.

Who is this for? That is, to me, the most consequential of all questions. Folks live different lives, have different concerns and experiences and what may seem absolutely ridiculous and unimportant to you may seem just normal and/or vital to another soul.

Younger folks may find it strange that there are still folks - older folks-out there to who, the idea of a sales professional, one they have never met or spoken to beforehand, coming into their home or office to sell them a product or service doesn't seem strange at all.

These are typically the "Salt of the earth" types: Folks who live in the rural or suburban parts of cities all around this country. Folks in the heartland who know who their neighbors are and stop to say hi to folks they see during the course of the day.

I tend to obsess over these types simply because these are my favorite types of folks. For you, your ideal customer may embody a slightly different set of geographic, psychographic, and sociographic characteristics.

Esri's consumer segmentation tool may come to be a great resource for you to start to zero in on your ideal customer profile. That is if you offer products and/or services to consumers and not other businesses.

Other factors: So, we have touched on age and geography- Two key elements to take into account in the audience development process.

First dates

Make no mistake about it, how old (or young) you are and where you live play a greater role in more of our life choices, preferences, and attitudes than most of us realize.

Move to a new city, and sooner or later you start to - without realizing it- behave like the stereotypical person indigenous to said city. I was born in Ghana, grew up in Philly, and moved to the south so here I am saying things like Folks and ma'am.

That being said, there are more strategic, sometimes more psychological aspects of audience analysis. So there are the ones out there that I am sure you have heard: Income, level of education, and so on.

But knowing the various reasons why folks who fit into your ideal customer group make the decisions they make helps you go far beyond what may seem obvious.

I look at this philosophy like I look at dating. When most folks say they are "getting to know" someone, what they are talking about is absorbing facts about the person. Where did one grow up? Preferred genre of music, and so forth.

Getting to really know someone - enough to even predict their behavior under various circumstances requires that you get to know what makes them tick. What are their motivations? Who do they love and hold dearest in life? The kind of childhood they had and how they think it has affected them, and so on.

Why this matters

When trying to get to know your prospects, I find it most useful, for that particular transaction as well as a stencil for your overall sales and marketing system, to take this approach: You must try to anticipate the behavior of your potential customers outside of what the data says and sometimes even outside of what they seem to say during your conversations.

A deep understanding of those you have determined to possess certain demographic markers that fit into your ideal audience profile will arm you with the tools you need to create effective cold-calling systems and processes to help you not only create killer sales pitches but to provide the best experiences money can buy.



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