Is Cold Calling Dead?

In a world where potential customers are constantly bombarded with opportunities to buy from millions of different businesses, salesmen (and women) are forced to continuously review and revise their methods in order to create the best sales pitch.

With the rise of inbound marketing, the stats are all pointing to the fact that, while not quite dead yet, cold calling is slowly dying out.

Who can make the perfect pitch? Who can capture the customer’s attention the quickest (and hold it the longest)? Who can make the most sales (for the greatest amount of money)?

That person (or company) is the one who comes out on top.

For many years, one of the most popular sales techniques to land that “perfect pitch” has been a method known as cold calling. To put it simply, cold calling is the act of targeting a random potential customer (either by telephone or by going door-to-door) in order to make a sales pitch.

The people targeted by cold calling are typically chosen at random and have not expressed a prior interest in the company or product doing the targeting.

This method, opposed to warm calling (in which a customer who has expressed interest in the product is targeted), is meant to create customers out of the blue rather than focusing on current potentials.

The question being asked by the business community right now is this: is cold calling dead? Well, I don’t know about you, but if, in my home, I see a salesperson approaching my door or an “0800” number pop up my phone, my first instinct is to either turn them down politely (and quickly) or to RUN.

And, in my experience, the same is true for the majority of people.

We interviewed some business owners to find out what they thought:

To be honest, we’re not completely against it. Cold calling isn’t necessarily something we do as a business, but we don’t see a problem with others doing it as long as they’re respectful and have a good attitude. There’s nothing worse than a salesperson calling up who’s pushy and doesn’t take no for an answer. It’s all about the approach

Alan White, Basford Plant (providers of concrete batching systems)

We get hounded by suppliers trying to sell us things, but I think it’s unfair to tar everybody with the same brush. Some suppliers have opened dialogue through cold calling and become a key part of our business. It was their initial approach that made the difference. If you’re polite to our staff and not too pushy, you’ll get through to a decision maker.

Paul Harper, Dubai Property For Sale 

Cold calling businessman are seen as more of a nuisance than anything, and this is something that statistics have proven as well. Cold calling businessman is seen as more of a nuisance than anything, and this is something that statistics have proven as well.

In a 2012 research study done by the Keller Research Center at Baylor University, scientific analysts discovered that only with the potential customer – and that’s only an appointment, not an actual sale! Researchers also discovered that less than twenty-eight percent of cold calls result in conversations. This means that salespeople using cold calling techniques are spending most of their work day simply hoping that someone will pick up the phone or answer the door! Wouldn’t it make more sense for salespeople to spend their days actually making sales with those who want their product rather than knocking down the doors of those who, quite frankly, are not at all interested?

So the question remains: “is cold calling dead?”. My answer to that question is this: if cold calling isn’t dead already, then it is on it’s way to the graveyard very quickly – and that’s the way it should be. Quite frankly, cold calling benefits no one as it is an annoyance to the potential customers and a waste of time (and money) for the sales-staff. Employers would be much better off researching and implementing twenty-first-century sales methods rather than hanging on to dying traditions that are producing no results. It’s time to end the madness and put cold calling to rest.

Instead of cold calling, look at ways that you can position your products/services in front of customers so that they come to you. Modern companies rely heavily on digital marketing (take a look at this post about building an effective digital marketing strategy). It’s also worth paying attention to the packaging you put your products in if you’re a products based company — particularly if you’re selling luxury products.

Luxury packaging should do the job of selling your products for you and justifying your price point.