It Actually Works
I am a terrible dancer, I make Elaine from Seinfeld look like Ginger Rogers, and so as a courtesy to myself, and others at weddings, Bar Mitzvahs, or funerals, I don’t dance. But at the same time, I don’t so anything to spoil other people’s fun with dancing, especially those who do it well. Just because I don’t like it or do it well, does not mean that it cannot be done and enjoyed by others. It also doesn’t mean that those who do it well need to get off the dance floor. You don’t see me running around saying that dancing is an outdated tribal custom, outdated and beneath dignity in today’s socially advanced society.
But it seems that that’s exactly what some of the “never cold call again” crowds are suggesting, no insisting. They don’t cold call, they don’t like to cold call, they don’t get results, meaning they can’t cold call, and therefore cold calling does not work; and that’s that, no one should do it, it is outdated and anti-social; as though everyone who practiced the craft was somehow déclassé.
The problem for me and the no-callers is that dancing is fun for those who enjoy and know how to do it, and I don’t; and cold calling works for those willing to and can do it, which clearly the no-callers can’t. If they could do it right they would find that it help fill and round out the opportunities in their pipeline, and help them make more sales and money. And I have to assume that they want to sell and make money, otherwise they wouldn’t want to sell you their “don’t cold call” stuff, and they would just give it to you.
The fact is that cold calling works, especially in the hands of those who know how to use it. The reason it works is that there as many type of buyers as there are sellers. Each have their own characteristics, which in turn dictate their preferred mode of communication. Some prefer calls, others e-mail, magazine ads, etc. Study after study show that cold calling is only second to referrals in effectiveness for engaging with potential buyers. Factors such as timing, buyer’s current market view, and other inputs will determine what may work when, even with the same buyer. A survey presented in Businessweek showed “referrals from clients or partners (22%), general referrals (16%), and cold-calling or telephone prospecting (13%).” Sure I would prefer to have all warm referrals, but even then, why not add to those with a few well-placed intelligent cold calls.
DiscoverOrg, recently surveyed 1,000 IT decision makers at Fortune ranked, small and medium-sized companies. It showed how outbound sales calls and e-mails affect and “more importantly disrupt vendor selection.” “Seventy-five per cent of IT executives have set an appointment or attended an event as a direct result of outbound email and call techniques.” Further, “nearly 600 said an outbound call or e-mail led to an IT vendor being evaluated.”
I know cold calls can be irritating, but no more so than the endless stream of completely irrelevant, often cheesy e-mail I receive from the hub and Mecca of inbound marketing. At times I am even interested in what they have to say, but they never follow up.
Which leads us back to the central theme of the series this week, the need for a balanced and well thought out pursuit of the right prospects for the right reasons. A combination of strategies, tactics and delivery mechanisms to achieve maximum results and return on effort. Just as I would not give up content marketing, blogging, my social efforts, it is equally silly to ask me or any successful seller to abandon one of the most proven means of engaging with real buyer, specifically cold calling. Maybe it is because I am in Canada, and winter is coming, but combined with other efforts, cold calling works, if you do it right.