Is Cold Calling Dead?

As president of a company who provides inside sales services, of course I am expected to say that cold calling will never die. It is the backbone of the sales process…well…only if done correctly.

Let’s face it, salespeople hate to cold call for business. As soon as they get busy, the first thing that gets tossed aside is making those 100 calls to prospects and suspects. “I just didn’t have time, I was dealing with issues with my current customers” is a statement very often heard by sales managers around the globe. But what happens when things slow down? The rep is either back on the phone or trying to milk his current clients for new business that may or may not be there. Many reps get frustrated, blame the company for not putting out a good enough product or service and decide to move on (only to find the need for more cold calling at the new sales position they took.) Others hire a college kid or a son or daughter of an employee to “telemarket” for them. This often results in a prospect receiving a call like this: “Hello, my name is (fill in the blank here), and I represent this great company that wants to sell you something. They are really great. Can they sell it to you or can I have my dad’s poker buddy come in and tell you how great we are? How is Tuesday at 10 AM? Please say yes, they pay me by how many of you people I can find to meet with him.”

If all cold calling was done one of these two ways, yes, the process would be long dead, however successful companies will keep lead generation as an integral part of the sales process generally by doing one of two things: They will continue to have the lead generation process as part of their account executive’s everyday process and continue to emphasize the value of continuing to fill the sales pipeline. They will keep a close look at the new opportunities being found (either by the account executive finding new business on his own or by leads that may come in through other media) just as they do the deals that have been closed. Other companies will outsource this process, either to an outside firm or to a qualified professional internally. I’m not talking about a $10/hr or $50 per appointment college kid, I’m talking about an experienced inside sales professional who will take the time to understand what a company’s ideal client looks like and develop a relationship with them. That person will be empowered to not only ask questions to qualify these prospects but also be able to determine that this prospect may not be ideal for the company to work with and not waste the valuable time of the account executive.

(Now that I’ve told you what I think, it’s your turn to give me your thoughts. Is cold calling dead? Does it work for you? What’s been your experience withit? Leave a comment or take our poll.)

Is Cold Calling Dead?(answers)

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4 Responses to “Is Cold Calling Dead?”

  1. David Greenfield Says:

    Hello Mr. Sterling,

    Welcome to the Triangle area and for your thoughtful comments in your e-news article. You add a touch of the personal in your written communication, that I appreciate. Your insightful commentary made the point and I agree “Cold Calling” will never die! Not if you are are going to increase your business and want to keep your job.
    More than ever the market (whatever the product or service) has become more intense in every respect. Not to mention the quick response time required just to be considered in every opportunity. However, to obtain the opportunity for consideration or the needs analysis, one must get face to face or be standing in the doorway (figuratively) to be the next in line.
    Thoughtful prepared dialouge, with researsch on whom (The Company) one is calling is vital. Should one get past the gate keeper to the decision
    maker one should better be prepared. And we understand from your example the import of the cold call being made in a professional and proven results orientated manner is so important, that may require good note taking for the add’l attempts that will be required over a certain period of time. And that Mr. Sterling is what I believe you referred to as the pipe line. And if we don’t have anything going in, we don’t have anything coming out and we can start packing our bags. There is no such thing as job security in the work force today, other than being a relationship builder, results producing and increasing business Team Player! Esp. in Sales!
    Sir, I speak from personal and humble experience managing a Nat’l Acct – (1) million dollar account – with add’l responsibilty for service members in our military, and private individual services requests daily for domestic and International services. Still I make it a NO. 1 Priority to
    read, write letters, make calls, send pictures, make cd’s to tell the story, e-mail notes, share like business success helpful hints, I think you get the picture that whatever we can do to get the opportunity, to get in front of the decision maker or on the phone is paramont to a beginning process of a sales relationship leading to that trust and confidence that we want to provide for our new prospect. In my humble experience, I find staying grounded in the basics and on the street (so to speak) is what makes me appreciate even more and still to this day I continue to get excited about closing the deal and that my friend, that high of closing the deal, is what keeps me doing what I do.
    In closing, I confirm and re-affirm that cold calling may change in a number of different ways we do it, but it shall never die, if one wants to celebrate success that is not satisfied but ever increasing.

    Thank You for the opportuinty to add my humble thoughts and contribution on this early Saturday morning. You see, even now after sharing this response to your article as a way of saying “Thank You” – I am preparing seven slide presentations with seven cover letters to show my current account what, where and who I have visited accross the country-to keep in front of my customer. And I have prepared documents, broshures and cover letters (10) to be mailed to new prospects that I have talked to on the phone this week. And spent one full day in the field this week servicing a family with a service member in Iraq – no charge! just to say “Thank You” for his service to our country. We must give back to the community and recognize opportunity to just simply say “thank You”

    Kind Regards,
    David Greenfield
    Account Executive
    Military Commercial & Relocation Consulant
    International Relocation Consultant
    Residential & National Account Relocation Consultant

  2. Rich Burghgraef Says:

    David,

    Thanks you for your kind comments. It is nice to see that we are having an impact and that our thoughts are valuable. I wish you all the best and keep those great ideas coming!

  3. Marketing and Sales…Perfect Together « Hot Sales Strategies Says:

    […] follow up on those leads to turn them into business, but a little harder to track the client you cold called who then Googled the company to find your website, Facebook page, Twitter account, LinkedIn […]

  4. Integrating Your Sales and Marketing Efforts for the Best Results « Hot Sales Strategies Says:

    […] prospects and hopes that they decide to call to use their services. The sales-focused company cold calls those same targeted prospects. Both get decent results, but the company who integrates the two by […]

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