1. Even the most ardent fan of cold calling would admit it’s less effective than it used to be.
Everyone’s tolerance of being interrupted whether by phone or by email is falling – there’s too much of it because it’s so easy with all the new technologies. So there is too much interruption, but increasingly we have the ability to filter it out. And busy, successful people do just that. Filter it.
2. Cold calling positions you as a supplicant in B2B sales
Anyone who sells anything knows one truth in their guts:
You must come across as not needing their business – and that you are ready to walk away at any time; that you have options. You will never win unless you are prepaired to loose.
But when a prospect receives a cold call from you, you are demonstrating the complete opposite – that you need their business. At the same time you convey that you are not busy; that you don’t have anything more important to do than ‘smile and dial’.
So are you calling random prospects? You come across as needy and desperate. And every time you make a call, you do a little damage to your brand, to your positioning as a successful expert.
Here’s something no-one can argue with: People with power cannot be reached by phone. Have you tried calling Gates or Obama or Winfrey recently? Gurus don’t have their mobile numbers on their business cards. And if they mistakenly do, they certainly don’t say “call me anytime, day or night. I’m there, just awaiting your call”.
3. Cold calling won’t find what we all want: Qualified leads
How could it? It is not what cold calling is designed to do. It’s a numbers game; a random numbers game.
And a large and growing proportion of buyers are like me: we don’t take unsolicited sales calls – ever.
Because it’s now so easy to do research, most of us know we can find what we need via Google when we need it, so we don’t need to be interrupted. And, most importantly, we can dig out the sellers who are well regarded from our networks; who come well recommended with lots of (meaningful) testimonials.
4. It limits your results and wastes valuable time
In the Social Networking Age we all have the ability to leverage our time (our scarce and valuable B2B sales time) using all the amazing new connection and engagement tools.
The problem is cold calling allows you to be in only one place at one time. Making one phone call or opening one door. So your results are strictly finite. There is no leverage in this one-by-one approach.
On the other hand, leveraging Social Networks and other New Media allows you to be in many ‘places’ at one time. Create the system and it can almost run itself if you have clear goals and a clear strategy. And the results are open ended, not finite. A good B2B sales system builds over time. Money spent is money invested, unlike cold calling where every day is a new day (and a day from hell!).
A sales system stops you from spending time with people who:
- Have no need for your product
- Might buy your product at some future but undetermined date
- Have just bought from a competitor
- And, god forbid, are already a customer! It happens if your CRM is out of date, and whose isn’t?? One of the benefits of Social Networking is that it’s your ‘self updating CRM’.
5. Cold calling puts you in a negative light as a time waster
If there’s one thing that always annoys a busy, successful person, it’s wasting their time. And it is precisely the busy and successful who are your best prospects. But given it is unashamedly a numbers game, it has to be a waste of time for over 90% of those you call, because the calls are unqualified and unfocused.
Why risk starting on the bad side of 90% of your business prospects? People who otherwise might have bought from you?
6. Reason number 6, the big one: Sales people hate it!
The biggest reason for why it’s time to think again. Now, I worked in HR and career guidance for many years. The following is well known, backed up by serious of research:
Love what you do and success is likely
Hate it, and failure or ‘merely average’ performance is inevitable
So why choose failure by executing activities that you hate? Activity that in some companies has come to dominate BDMs’ valuable time as they plan the calls, make them, record them and finally prepare to justify to their Manager what they’ve done. And, at best, sales people regard cold calling as a necessary evil. Unfortunately they and their bosses don’t know there is another way. In B2B sales it is a system that embeds LinkedIn amongst other online tools.
Overall, these are 6 compelling reasons to find a different approach to B2B sales. But let’s leave the last word to Albert Einstein – one of his most famous quotes, and incredibly apt when it comes to the dinosaurs of cold calling:
Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.
There are 6 reasons why cold calling doesn’t work in today’s world: