Written by Matthew Parker
Print Industry Consultant

iPad in front of stack of papers

Do you hate cold calling?

Cold calling is seen as an essential part of the print sales routine. But I have yet to meet anyone who actually enjoy cold calling. Nevertheless, most people believe that it’s the most effective way to drive sales.

I’m going to ask you something that may cause you to question this:

How many effective cold calls can you make in a day?
Most printing salespeople that I have spoken to believe that they are lucky to make 10 truly effective calls. That means a lot of costly sales resources are spent if you really want to drive sales forward.

Even when you make an effective call, you are still a long way off from booking any business. That’s why it’s time for printing companies to look at complementary and supporting sales channels.

Social media can be a very efficient way to increase your sales
In our last article, we saw a case study of a printing company that increased its sales by 46% year-over-year because it embraced social media strategies. However, many companies are struggling to get real results from their social media activity. This is often because they have no real social media strategy.

There are three main ways to use social media to increase sales. The first is to use it to get prospects to come to you.

Social media is a great way to attract prospects
If you want to attract new prospects, you need to make sure that you have an engaging social media presence. Firstly, that means you need to be active in social media! But there’s more to it than that.

You need to offer something of interest to your prospects. You need an engaging profile. You also need to be posting useful information for your audience.

Naturally, not all prospects will come to you. You are also going to have to make the effort.

Social media helps you find new prospects
The search functions on all the key social media platforms allow you to find people you should be engaging with. 20 minutes of browsing on LinkedIn should give you a large number of people that would be worth connecting with. There’s also plenty of free tools on the Internet that help you find social media users in various industries and locations.

Social media is not just about finding names. It’s a lot easier to make contact with people on social media. I hear many stories of prospects accepting connection requests on social media, even though they were blocking sales calls.

However, you need to realise that connecting is only the beginning of a social media journey.

You should use social media to engage your prospects
It is not enough to simply have social media connections. You now have an excellent opportunity to start a conversation with people on social media.

To achieve this successfully, you need to be posting content that will be of interest to them. We will be exploring this further in the next couple of articles.

However, if you want to make sales through social media, there’s one more step you need to take.

You need to move your conversations away from social media
At some point you are going to have to move your connections into your sales funnel. When you have the right level of engagement with connections, it’s time to take your relationship into the real world. You should be suggesting real conversations through calls, meetings, open houses and even events you may be attending or participating in.

When you have reached this point, you will have warm prospects. They will be happy to talk to you. They will be much more open to considering working with you. That’s because they will already feel as though they know you. Social media is about relationship-building. It’s about lead cultivating. If you have posted the right sort of information for them, they will understand the value that you can bring to them and their business.

Here are three essential social media action points

  1. Make sure you have an engaging and active social media profile
  2. Use a social media platform to find three new prospects
  3. Connect with these prospects and start the engagement process

Using social media is not a quick journey. However, if you work consistently at your social media presence, you will begin to build a powerful pipeline of warm prospects. And that means you can do less cold calling.

In my next article we will look at one of the key dangers in social media: using this platform to sell.

Editor’s Note: This post is part of a larger series on effectively using social media to deliver results for your business:


Matthew Parker has been buying print for over 20 years. He’s had over 1,400 sales pitches from printers. Now he’s using that experience to help printing companies engage with their customers and sell print more profitably.  Find out more about Matthew on his site. Download his e-book “Ten Common Print Selling Errors And What To Do About Them” for free here