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5 Reasons Why Cold Calling Doesn’t Work Anymore

It absolutely baffles me that salespeople still use cold calling as their primary tool for generating leads. Why do so many salespeople still use this ancient weapon to get the leads they need to do business? The main reasons are that they don’t know any better and there are still plenty of active dinosaur sales managers who stopped developing in the 90’s who still force their salespeople to make a number of cold calls per day.

Stop doing that! Cold calling doesn’t work (anymore) and here are 5 reasons why.

1. Everyone hates cold calling.

There are two categories of people who say they like to cold call; Liars and sales managers. There may be an exception here and there. Some weird species (I call them masochists) love to bang their heads against the wall over and over and love to hear ‘no’ fifty times a day. But the saner salespeople among us just hate it.

Having to do something you hate every day does not contribute to your success. We expect ‘no’ in every cold call we make and it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. More rejections follow and the circle is complete.

Prospects hate it too. A group is very susceptible to cold calling. They are the ones that have doormen installed; the secretary and receptionist who are under strict orders to keep all cold calls away from the decision maker. Or they have a sign on the door: ‘No applications allowed’.

Another set of prospects will talk to the cold caller; those who know how to deal with them and aren’t afraid to say ‘no’ to them, either right away or after a meeting (Send us a proposal, send us some feedback, maybe in 6 months……sound familiar? ).

In short, if you manage to get a date, it is most likely with the wrong prospect.

2. It is disproportionately slow.

It’s like looking for a needle in a haystack. Let’s say a sales rep spends on average 2 hours a day cold calling and let’s say he’s pretty good at it and hosts 2 meetings. Setting up those 2 meetings takes about 10 minutes. That means he has been busy for 1 hour and 50 minutes with no result other than upsetting people who could have been a quality advantage had they been approached differently.

I won’t bore you with the math, but it all comes down to fifty days a year to be busy without none result.

3. People buy from successful sellers.

It is a well-known fact that people buy easier, more and faster from successful sellers. In a prospect’s perception, a successful salesperson has something valuable to offer. Apparently he is trustworthy. Why else would so many other people buy from him? So let’s unite, we can’t go wrong there.

How does that relate to a cold caller? Successful salespeople don’t make cold calls. They don’t have time for that, they’re busy… selling. Prospects know it. In other words, in the mind of a potential customer, a cold caller is a failed salesperson. Not a good start to a relationship, huh?

4. We sell more when we don’t need it.

Remember the ‘Facebook Brand’? The louder you yelled ‘no’, the more eager companies became to buy your company. Most sellers will recognize this. We have been lucky this year and we already reached our goal in October. There is no pressure anymore, freewheel and relaxed until Christmas and New Year’s Eve. And what happens? We sell like crazy, almost effortlessly. Why? Because we no longer ‘need’ it. We get brave and even start playing ‘hard to get’. Prospects are intrigued and want to buy from you.

What about the cold caller? He yells ‘I need your business so bad!’ all over. And if he manages to get any business, he always wonders why he has to give such a discount….

5. We need to be honest with our prospect.

Decision makers have respect for their peers. For most companies it is important to build a long-term relationship with customers. Strong relationships require that both parties see each other as equals.

You can’t seriously expect a decision maker to see a sales rep who almost begged for a meeting to see you as a peer, can you? And the fact that the customer doesn’t have much respect for the sales rep will reflect on the quality of the relationship, as well as the quality of the order and repeat sales.

So what else if cold calling doesn’t work?

Look around. Or better yet, don’t look around and stay focused on your screen. Many of the answers are right in front of you, just a few clicks away. Email, social networks, technical references. The list is almost endless. One thing is for sure. If you really want to participate in today’s economy, stop using outdated tools.

Perhaps the best comment I heard about cold calling was: Cold calling is like filling a swimming pool with a water gun. It works…eventually.

Happy hunting.


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