I didn’t know cold calling was such a hot button issue, but apparently it is. We published a piece by contributor Kelley Robertson about “The new rules of cold calling for advisors.” It kicked off a firestorm of debate. As you read over these contributions let me know which side of the fence you reside on in the cold calling debate.
Why do people still promote cold calling? It is the least effective, most intrusive form of sales prospecting, and is a total waste of time. And why would anyone trust someone who cold calls them with their money? Work through referrals and convert your prospects to clients more than 50 percent of the time, shorten your sales process, eliminate the competition, and incur no hard costs. When you receive introductions through referrals, your sales prospect wants to talk to you. How great is that? Start with a referral plan for your current clients. They know you and trust you. Current clients are our most under-leveraged source of new business. They’re delighted to refer us, but we must ask. Try this phrase: Who do you know that I should be meeting?
With all due respect Joanne, cold calling has a very valid place in the sales process. Sure it is not a silver bullet answer to increase sales but it is valuable. Just to be clear you should use cold calling to obtain recognition or an appointment with your prospect. I find it easy to develop mutual respect and convey value on the phone and then you can proceed with other levels of the closing process. You may not get cash on the phone but you can make a friend, which will lead to money.
Why not just look at the numbers? The debate about cold calling or its alternative (referral based) has been raging for years. Both camps promise a silver bullet and demonize one another while promoting their own approach. Why not be pragmatic about it and give both a shot? What value can you expect if the best-known protagonist of “No more cold calling.com” (Joanne Black in the previous comment) is arm wrestling “The queen of cold calling?” The key for success in both cases is to provide value from the outset to either the prospect that you call or the person that you request for a referral. Don’t let them guess what might be in it for them, be specific. Offer business acumen, new ideas, clear ROI, testimonials from peers for prospects. Cold calling seems hard, referrals appear less of a nuisance, but alas just don’t seem to happen automatically. Fact is they both need work, preparation and testing. Clinging to a particular belief system is the easy way out. Start getting your hands dirty.
For more on marketing, see:
Bringing cold calling back from the dead