Does Cold Calling Work?

As a sales strategist, one of the most common questions I get asked is, “Does Cold Calling Work?”.

Well, the short answer is – Yes, cold calling works, and at the very core of it gives you limited results.

The long answer however is, 100% no, cold calling doesn’t work, but telephone prospecting does work.

Have I confused you yet? Ok let’s clear this up.

Not only does cold calling work, but more and more companies have popped up across the globe offering cold calling services. And during COVID, my business blew up on the cold calling side of things, and, even as we move out of it COVID, more and more businesses are coming to me asking me to help them with their cold calling strategy.

So why would I say cold calling doesn’t work if more and more companies are popping up offering this service? Well, cold calling, when done wrong, is very sloppy, ineffective and expensive. 

So let’s change our terminology and introduce a new phrase that I am more comfortable with when referring to cold calling, and that is telephone prospecting.

Consider how you would feel if I approached you at a networking event or even at a pub and automatically started selling to you. You didn’t know who I was, where I came from, or what I want. You would quickly get annoyed or upset with me, and you would potentially walk away. The same hold trues with cold calling, although it is easier to slam the phone down on me then to walk away.

Cold calling when done incorrectly, is exactly that and gives you exactly those results.

Now imagine the same scenario where I meet you for the first time and introduce myself and we have a brief chat about what I do. A couple of weeks later we meet again, and we chat again. The relationship starts warming up, from completely cold to someone you know and recognise. Over time you get to know more about what I do and what problems I solve until one day, when I ask for a more formal meeting, you are more comfortable taking the appointment because you have a need, or even a curiosity.

Telephone prospecting should be approached in exactly the same way. You need to be more strategic in the relationship you build with your ideal prospect. 

What should a multi-pronged telephone prospecting strategy look like?

       Have you taken the time to identify the right company and contact to speak to

Many organisations think that opening the phone book and starting with A and ending with Z will get them the results they want.  This process works but it is frustrating and slow.  You get a lot of rejection and for the most part the rejection is because the organisation was never your client and will never be your client. 

Take some time to look at your past customer history and create the perfect customer you want to work with.  When you know what that looks like start your research. 

For example a workplace rehabilitation specialist initially wanted all business in a certain area contacted.  After 3 months they realised that this was actually not what they wanted.  They wanted manufacturing companies with over 100 employees who had an HR manager.  Based on those requirements, we were then able to build a more strategic list of over 300 companies and get contact details, names and email addresses.  The value in that list alone paid for the service immediately

           Pick up the phone and phone

The fastest way to build a relationship and speeding up the sales process is via the phone.  Not all calls are created equal. Some calls will be a discovery call that is designed to find out information, while other calls are designed to set an appointment.  Either way, you need to be picking up the phone in the first instance.   

 Social Selling and Cold Calling

A multipronged approach when telephone prospecting does need to include an element of social selling.  You do want to connect with people on various platforms however my only caution is not to get too complacent with social selling and keeping the relationship via a keyboard.  At some point you want to take the conversation offline and ask for the appointment.

  Build a sustainable prospecting pipeline

It takes about three months to build a pipeline, any salesperson will tell you that. A pipeline gives you a snapshot as to where prospects are in the sales process, so when we refer to a prospecting pipeline, we talk about where our prospects are sitting in the telephone prospecting strategy.  We need to ensure that we are always feeding this prospecting pipeline because this will result in sales as the pipeline starts to convert.

So to answer the question Does Cold Calling Work?

Yes when viewed as a strategic, multipronged prospecting approach, cold calling works 

If you need help with your telephone prospecting framework, reach out and let’s see if we can help you today.