It’s an interesting thought and I certainly think he had a point when he listed out all of the other things we can now do which can be more effective (and more fun) than cold calling. But his statement is not as true as it may first seem.
What I have noticed over the years as a salesman and consultant is that very few sales people like to do cold calling. And perhaps that’s more the problem.
What I have noticed is that because very few salesmen like to do cold calling they will very quickly tell you that cold calling is dead and something new has replaced it. A lot of salespeople will even tell you that the reason they couldn’t sell was because someone else didn’t promote enough or get enough leads.
I had a client a couple of years ago that summed it up best when he said that the salesman who won’t cold call or do something to find prospects when he has no one to see is not a salesman but an order taker. Perhaps a harsh thought but simple enough in the eyes of the sales manager. Let’s face it—the salesman is there to sell, not wait for something to happen.
This quote from L. Ron Hubbard sheds a little light on this area:
“PROMOTION: To make something well known and well thought of. …
“Promotion is the art of offering what will be responded to. It consists only of what to offer and how to offer it that will be responded to.
“By promotion we mean reach the public and create want.”1
At the end of the day the successful salesman should know that he needs to do whatever it takes to reach his public in order to get their interest and create want. And that usually means he needs to talk to people to make sales for the week and the month. If he can see enough people and get the sales that he needs and doesn’t have to cold call, good for him, but if he doesn’t get the sales and won’t cold call then you have a problem.
A few years ago I was working in a consulting business as a salesman. When I started there were three staff and no leads for me to see. Each week I would come to work and work through a list of businesses that I was given and cold call them one after another. I would make 150 calls per week and from that I would average 5 appointments and from that 4 sales. I would make my sales that way. Eighteen months later I was the Business Development Executive and the company was in four countries including four offices in Australia that I had set up and was running, all with very little money for advertising and marketing. By that stage I didn’t make cold calls any more, but rather I would ask my clients for referrals or see people at seminars that I delivered and get leads from other friends, etc.
My opinion regarding whether cold calling is dead or not is this: if you can get enough leads from other methods, well done and I hope you do well with your sales; if you can’t, get on the phone and cold call and get going.
1. Article of 1 September 1979, MARKETING, PROMOTION AND DISSEMINATION, DEFINED