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. Read over these missives and let me know which side of the fence you reside on in the cold calling debate.

Waste of time
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 you’ll 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?
- Joanne Black

It’s valuable
Cold calling has a very valid place in the sales process. Sure it’s 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.
- Marvin Bell

Why not try both?
Why not just look at the numbers? The debate about cold calling or its alternative (referral-based prospecting) 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? The key for success in both cases is to provide value from the outset whether its the prospect that you call or the person you request to give you a referral.

Don’t let them guess what might be in it for them, be specific. Offer business acumen, new ideas, clear ROI and testimonials. Cold calling seems hard, referrals appear less of a nuisance, but neither happens 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.
- Guus Pijnenburg