Real World Results. Phone vs LinkedIn vs E-mail


John Dougan is someone I respect and he delivers real transformation for his clients. He recently conducted a test to see which channel is most effective for inviting business leaders to an event. We've been told that e-mail is blocked or ignored as spam, that telephone cold calling is getting harder with success rates below 3%, and that social selling is now all the rage. But what is the reality?

Here is a real world case study conducted by John Dougan that targeted 300 senior executive contacts. The database used for all outreach was comprised of known contacts and all three used similar language in the text or script. These are the results from 300 outreaches using an equal spread of LinkedIn's InMail, outbound phone calls and traditional e-mail:

  • 100 InMails sent generated 67 responses and 44 event registrations
  • 100 phone calls generated 32 connections and 20 registrations
  • 100 e-mails sent generated 12 responses and 6 registrations
LinkedIn responses outperformed e-mail by 558%
LinkedIn responses outperformed phone by 209%

Drop-out rates for the event on the day were similar across channels. The most successful channel was LinkedIn and the lowest cost per registration was also LinkedIn. The phone remains an essential and powerful tool in anyone's social selling arsenal.

The very best sellers today adopt a modern approach where they leverage technology yet execute in a personal human-to-human way. LinkedIn is massively powerful because it enables you to personally connect with context but avoid the biggest sin of social selling which is to connect and sell. Always be asking yourself whether you're providing value for your audience or falling into the trap of interrupting and pushing.

"The key to modern selling is to attract and engage rather than interrupt and push"

John Dougan and I have both experienced amazing sales results by intelligently using social channels and adopting a 'pay it forward' approach to providing value for everyone in our networks. I asked John for an example of how using LinkedIn created revenue for him and here was his response.

"I was awarded a $250,000 piece of business by simply monitoring trigger events in LinkedIn. A senior executive in my network joined new company and I sent her an InMail to congratulate her on the new role. I simply added that if she was ever going to market for something I could help with that I'd welcome a conversation."

John didn't push in any way and the communication was natural. Importantly he had already delivered for her at the previous company. John went on.  "Her response was to let me know that she actually was planning to procure services and that I could potentially help with. She invited me in for a chat and the result was no tender, just a request for an proposal and then and purchase order."

John concluded with, "LinkedIn is simply part of a communications strategy andI compare modern communication channels to the Fibbonacci sequence: Their respective connectivity value is increasing but you cannot negate what has gone before." But John and I want to make a plea here to everyone using LinkedIn.

Please do NOT use LinkedIn for spamming, pushing or blasting marketing messages or sales campaigns. The #1 sin of social selling is to connect and sell. You'll damage your reputation and undermine the real value of the platform.

John is constantly listening to the market and testing sales strategies and techniques to provide trusted advice for his clients. Click here to see his research infographics which are becoming legendary and connect with John here in LinkedIn.

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Main image photo from Flickr.