When you see a call from a number you don’t know, you hesitate to pick it up. However, you are more likely to answer when the call is coming from your local area code. But then you answer…”Hello, Prospect…Do you have a few seconds to chat?” It ends up being a cold call, from a business trying to pitch you on their latest and greatest solution to your problems. When that business isn't in your area, but is using an area code that makes them look local, you just got "local presenced."
Local presence does work to get prospects to pick up the phone. Most companies that sell the technology say as much it increases connection rates by 400 to 700 percent. That’s an impressive stat, but most practitioners I have talked to say the increase only adds up to about 30 to 40 percent. Higher connections rates can drive revenue, but local presence can damage relationships before they begin. Here's why sales teams should stop using it.
Lack of Trust
Sales is about building relationships: either a meaningful long-term relationship that proves to be fruitful for many years, or a short-term transactional relationship where you've built enough rapport a customer is willing to give you money in exchange for goods. Both cases require a certain level of trust. Without it, the exchange of money (which is what you want) for the goods (that they want) will never take place.
When you use local presence, the foundation of your relationship is built on quicksand. If a prospect asks why you used local presence and you don't have a satisfying answer, he's much less likely to trust you or your product. And the harder you have to fight for trust, the faster you'll sink.
Brand and Reputation Risk
Your brand is one of the most precious things you do control. Not only does tricking someone into picking up the phone equate to bad sales karma, it's also a potentially bad look for your company's brand as well as your personal brand. If you call the wrong person at the wrong time using local presence and they respond negatively, the call recipient may share that bad experience with others. Would you rather have your SDRs described as persistent or untrustworthy? Persistent SDRs may get the chance to help a prospect solve his problem; shady SDRs get ignored.
Obscuring Larger Issues
If the first two reasons aren’t enough, ask yourself what else is missing before putting local presence in place. If your SDRs aren’t able to fill the pipeline effectively, determine whether they have the skill set to convert leads when they get on a conversation. If they have the skill set, do they have good data? They should have the ability to find and source direct phone lines, emails, and company information quickly and accurately. Direct phone lines will have a more positive effect on connection rate than local presence. In fact, if you don't have direct lines, local presence is useless because you're using it on a switchboard instead of making connections with decision-makers.
Trends come and go in sales, working for a while until they become ubiquitous. But problem-solving never gets old; and salespeople who can consistently help prospects solve problems will convert more often than those that can’t.
Being honest about what you sell with a clear message that compels a prospect to act will always outperform tricks. Cold calling is an art, and a science that takes time to master. Instead of being distracted by shiny objects that seem to offer shortcuts, stay dedicated to the basics.
About the Author
Phill Keene brings commitment to learning and development to the inside sales space. He currently leads the sales development team at TinderBox, and through his experience he has learned how to be a strategic resource to companies trying to reach their revenue goals and attain quota. He brings best practices around sales productivity, lead generation, and technology.
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