The Cold (Call) War

coldcallThe battle over cold calling rages on.

Is cold calling a necessary part of being a salesperson? Or should a good salesperson never be cold calling?

The battle continues because the answer is contextual. Both of the above statements are true, depending on context. Whether cold calling is useful depends on your situation, your industry and your product.

Cold calling is a viable option if the following criteria are met.

  1. There are many potential buyers of your product. Many means many, like nearly everyone — examples are insurance and shoes.
  2. The opportunity cost to a ‘no’ to your request, whether that request is for a meeting or to actually buy your product, is low. In other words you don’t really care if they say no, presumably because there are many more folks out there whom you can find. As an example, you have a hundred more names on a list of people who clicked a web link identifying their interest in Florida real estate, and that happens to be what you’re selling.
  3. There are many routes into a client organization. If you are selling facilitation services to run meetings more effectively, any departmental manager could use your services. If one manager at Aquacorp says no, you are not closed out from calling on another.
  4. Your pitch can outline a need quickly. People have to get it. And to get it, the problem your product solves must be universally understood. “Tired of sewing patches on the ripped knees of your children’s pants? Toughskins will outlast any other pair of pants.” Parents who have that problem get it right away. (Still, my brothers and I wore a lot of holes in the knees of Toughskin jeans.)

Another way to think about it is the reverse. Would you be disappointed if the person on the other end of the phone said no to your request? If the answer is ‘yes,’ then don’t cold call.

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