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Cold Calling is Dead. Cold Calling is Alive and Well
Cold Calling is Dead. Cold Calling is Alive and Well. I am studying both of these conclusions on an ongoing basis using our telesales team as a “lab” to see empirically which is true. Well so far my conclusions are: both are true and both are false. In other words the truth right now lies somewhere in the middle of these two statements. We find that the telephone is the most essential tool in prospecting for new business. And to conduct a campaign without using the telephone is not an effective option in 2008 (this could of course change). However we also find that using the telephone on its own is becoming less-and-less effective.
The most effective way to prospect today is to take a “multimedia prospecting” approach. This means using the telephone AND using other (dare I say it “marketing”) approaches to reach people. We find you need to combine telephone calls with email, ground mail, fax and even gifts to get the attention of busy executives.
In our telesales work for technology and B2B services companies we now find it takes 7-12 cold calls before we can get through to an executive on the telephone. (Interestingly this number is an average over a many different campaigns where we are targeting many different prospect titles and selling many different products but the number stays in a pretty steady range).
Relying on just getting an executive on the phone with these kind of success metrics is very time-consuming and expensive. But alternating attempts to reach people by phone with efforts to reach them via email, ground mail, fax etc. can really improve this number. By combining the telephone with letters, email and multi-dimensional mailers (books, gifts etc.) we find you can increase your chances of finding the “medium” that appeals to that particular executive.
We have found that some prospects regularly answer their telephone, some never seem to answer their phone, some people respond instantly to email (and carry their Blackberry or Treo everywhere), and some people need to receive a good old-fashioned letter before they respond. We have experienced several situations where sending executives something creative like a gift basket with customized contents and then following up consistently by phone finally landed a meeting with a very hard to reach CEO, CFO or CIO.
So when prospecting don’t put all your eggs in one basket…go multimedia!