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Putting a Lid on Cold Calling


Guest articles > Putting a Lid on Cold Calling


by: Drew Stevens


I was out with a recent customer Ken the other day having lunch when my cell phone rung indicating a voice mail from my office. Once I completed my meeting I checked voice mail only to discover a message from the most lethargic obnoxious cold caller received.

When I have time I view many of the Linkedin groups and blogs to listen what the world is saying on sales and sales management issues. After 29 years in this business, a top blogger and thought leader as well as watching continual consumer buying patterns; it still shocks me to see how many view cold calling as a valid sales instrument.

I grew up in Brooklyn New York and as a child we had a pediatrician visit our home when I was ill and a milkman that delivered a gallon of milk once or twice per week. That was then this is now. I also remember a time when sales professionals that wanted to pitch their products/services were able to do so before “No Call” lists and the Internet. That was then this is now.

Sales Managers must stop representatives from cold calling. Cold calling like black and white television is dead. Cold calling does not work, it is annoying and does not engage economic buyers.

There reason for placing a moratorium on cold calling is because:

  • It wastes significant time and money
  • It does not lead to any significant increase in lead generation or sales
  • It does very little for creating value based relationships

With consumers having more power than ever with the use of the Internet, they have discretionary choices of products and services before any seller calls. The fact is decision makers today have something cold callers used to have – power. This comes from the ability to instantly discover trends and research information.

Secondly, decision makers today are highly influenced by other customers. Their decisions are based on case analysis and testimony of others. Don’t believe me then look at examples of both Facebook and Zappos whose consumer grew through word of mouth versus traditional advertising and promotions.

At this point you might be saying well if cold calling is dead then what are alternatives since sales people still need to generate leads and close business. Here are just a few:

  1. Networking Works – To help increase the flow of leads selling professionals need to be visible. The only manner to be known is to network aggressively in groups that house your economic buyer. Stop hanging around groups where your friends are or where you are comfortable. Focus your efforts on true buyers.
  2. Warm Campaigns - Meeting buyers can be effective sales agents focus their efforts on sending a warm handwritten letter of introduction to decision makers. This must have reasons for writing, validation or proof of previous experience with similar companies and an action step for follow up on a specific date. Targeted campaigns if done correctly will open doors.
  3. Referrals – Nothing beats a cold call then a simple referral from those that know and trust sellers. Those that appreciate your value are more willing to give the names of others that will appreciate the products or services sold.
  4. Third Party Endorsements – Sales agents can meet new individuals that might appreciate their value through alliances of suppliers, vendors or even your prospective customers customer. Conduct some initial research to determine how large your network is.
  5. Visibility – Aside from simple networking sometimes speaking at industry conferences, holding webinars or attending conferences are great ways to show off talents and meet decision makers. However similar to networking you must be more attractive then the paper on the wall.

We are in an ever changing and fast paced environment. With so many changes many fundamentals are no longer applicable. Buyers are either too busy, too tired and simply too distracted. Sales representatives and their sales managers must find better and more efficient techniques so that they can easily meet and exceed sales goals.


2011. Drew J Stevens PhD. All rights reserved.

Drew Stevens Ph.D. President of Stevens Consulting Group is one of those very rare sales management and business development experts with not only 28 years of true sales experience but advanced degrees in sales productivity. Not many can make such as claim. Drew works with sales managers and their direct reports to create more customer centric relationships that dramatically drive new revenues and new clients. He is the author of Split Second Selling and the founder and coordinator of the Sales Leadership Program at Saint Louis University. Contact him today at 877-391-6821.

Contributor: Drew Stevens

Published here on: 19-Jun-11

Classification: Sales



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