Why are you still cold calling? Even if you’re not actually using the phone, sending cold emails and automated requests to connect on LinkedIn means your prospecting efforts are still ice cold.

Wake up! Cold calling success rates are dismal. Annoying strangers who never expressed any interest in hearing your sales pitch is a waste of time. Yet far too many sales pros still do it (usually because their sales managers demand it). But, as you probably know by now, cold calling simply does not work.

So why are you still going through the motions with this nonsense? You and I both know deals get done when you build a relationship with your prospect—when you have conversations, exchange ideas and educate your buyer on the business impact of your solution. And if you have a referral introduction, you’re more than halfway there, because you’ve earned some degree of trust before you ever open your mouth.

Social-selling evangelist Barb Giamanco agrees with me. In her recent blog post “You Got My Attention,” she writes, “You got my attention. Or did you?

What you really did is interrupt me. I don’t know who you are, but you think you are special enough that I’ll stop everything just to meet with you, talk to you or respond to you.

“You don’t really care if the initiative that I am responsible for rolling out is a success. You certainly don’t care about what is at stake if I fail. All you care about is getting your sale.

“I don’t need salespeople. I need trusted advisors. People that I can count on to tell me the truth, present fresh ideas, look at the problem holistically, work seamlessly with other providers and challenge me to think differently.”

Hear, hear! Barb has put her finger on what distinguishes a mediocre sales rep from a rainmaker: trust, relationships, asking the right questions and delivering real value. Once you learn to do that, you won’t have to worry about keeping your sales pipeline full. Your army of satisfied customers will keep it full for you by sending buckets of referrals your way. And you’ll never have to make a cold call again.

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Joanne Black is a professional sales speaker, sales webinar leader, and author of ‘No More Cold Calling: The Breakthrough System That Will Leave Your Competition in the Dust” from Warner Business Books. Visit www.nomorecoldcalling.com. © Copyright 2011 Joanne S. Black. All rights reserved.