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3 reasons why cold calling is a waste of time

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Do you cold call? Does your boss make you cold call?

If so, I believe you could be wasting valuable time.

Let me ask you some straightforward questions about cold calling.

Do you get excited to cold call? Are cold calls adding value to your prospects? Does cold calling leave you frustrated and dejected? Do you have days you would rather not show up to the office because you have to cold call? Do you have many current customers who have thanked you for cold calling them?

Long time sales professionals and managers will state that cold calling is part of the deal. You put your time in, work through the rejection, and if you make enough calls, you will get some appointments. The last statement is true. If you make enough calls, you will get some appointments and eventually some sales. YAY!!!

Here is my response.

How many calls does it take to get one appointment?

How many people did you piss off in the process?

How much time have you wasted?

How much do you hate your job?

I recently received an email from a young insurance producer. He is a hard-working guy who has had a brief sales background. He loves the insurance industry and wants to help clients but is completely dejected after making cold calls day after day.

His boss requires that he makes 150 cold calls per week. According to my bad math, that is 30 calls per day. How much time does that take? Well, it depends on how quickly he can recover from continual rejections, voice mails and call screeners. My short answer is way too much.

I know what some of you are thinking. “If salespeople can’t handle rejection, they shouldn’t be in sales.” Although that may be true, I think the inefficiency of cold calling goes much deeper than that.

Why do I hate cold calling so much? Let me give you three reasons.

Cold calling annoys prospects

Cold calling may yield some appointments, but it also might annoy prospects. (Photo: iStock)

1. It annoys prospects

How do you like getting cold calls from sales people? Does it make you happy? Do you gain respect for them? Do you call right back if they leave you a voice mail?

Of course not. Insurance sales professionals are in the service industry. How is cold calling serving our prospects and potential customers?

Let’s pretend I cold call one morning. Of those two prospects that I actually reach, one hangs up on me. Later that week, I attend a local civic club meeting and run into the prospect who hung up on me. What do you say? “Hi, I’m that guy that interrupted you this week and you hung up on. How are you?” What a great way to start off a relationship.

2. It’s inefficient

The stats on cold calling are awful. It makes Shaq’s free throw percentage look outstanding.

Even if you are one of the few people who can make call after call with no hesitation, you are still wasting most of the day on voice mails, screeners and listening to the phone ring. If you do get an appointment, it usually isn’t with a decision maker. Even if it is, how do you know for sure?

For most people, 5 percent is a good number in the cold calling game. That’s in just setting an appointment. Five out of 100. Really? I make 100 calls and get five cold appointment who may be a completely wrong fit to our organization and my personality.

3. It makes good sales people hate their jobs and eventually quit

Let’s pretend for minute, that cold calling was slightly more effective than I have described. That more appointments are made and that money is being made.

No amount of money is worth doing something you loathe. Some may say I’m soft. That I don’t understand the real world. Maybe.

You know what I do understand? People who hate their jobs aren’t usually very good at them.

I believe that sales should not only be productive, but it should also be fun. I often get asked why so many young agents quit or why young people aren’t interested in the business. Hmmm. Let me think about that for a minute.

Cold calling saps all creativity and energy from salespeople. Instead of focusing on how to solve problems and advise clients, salespeople think about quotas and how they will get through each day.

I understand that money has to be made and goals have to be achieved, but is cold calling the best way?

As you may assume by now, my answer is a resounding no.

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