Selling Skills

Why cold calling is dead and what you can do to prospect anyway

By February 16, 2010 No Comments

In an association LinkedIn discussion, Christa Haberstock asked if cold calling was dead. At last count, there were over 90 responses to her question. I’ll save you the time of scrolling the comments to find an answer you may like.

It is.

And then again, it isn’t. The concept of prospecting for new business is (as I don’t need to tell you) has and will never go away. How can it? An empty funnel doesn’t magically refill itself. It’s the concept of cold calling – emphasis cold …. brrrr, frosty – that was never much fun to do and even less appreciated when received, that has died.

Here is my premise: If you’ve been thinking of it as cold calling instead of prospecting (for gold), you may have been sabatoging yourself anyway. Cold calling is just too difficult. You email or phone someone who you have no idea if they have any interest in what you offer and then you grovel for their time and attention. It’s demeaning, difficult and draining.

Prospecting is better and some sales folks don’t prospect (they prefer cold calling) because it requires preliminary research, discipline and good time management skills (boy is it easy to spend an entire day researching and get not one call done!). With prospecting, you know the other person has a need for what you offer and the focus changes from thinking of your call or email as an interruption to thinking of it as introduction so that you can  authentically help that person create greater success through your offering.

If you’ve ever heard me speak, you know I’m Ms Practical. So here is the application of the above:

Begin your “call” (by now, you know call means email, phone, conversation, whatever) with an authentic touchpoint. Tell the prospect why you’re interrupting their day. In an email it may sound something like this:
Hi Bill,  Sophie Spaniel suggested I contact you regarding your upcoming meeting.

Hi Bill, As colleagues in the ABC Association, I’m wondering if I can ask you a few questions…

Hi Bill, Your name was given to me because you’re an experienced (whatever they are, truthfully, authentically and without bull!)…

You’ll discover that with a little pre-work before calling and an authentic opening, your prospecting efforts may very well yield gold!

Please try this on your next call and post your successes here.

Long live