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Cold Calling: Does it Still Work?

By Townes Haas   |    July 23, 2015   |    10:41 AM

Is Cold Calling Really Dead? The Answer May Surprise You

Finding new customers is key to growing your business and there are endless techniques that you can use to find your ideal customer base. In the past cold calling has been seen as one of the most effective ways to acquire new leads to grow a business, but does cold calling still work?

You’ll find that experts are somewhat divided—many admit that cold calling is still effective, albeit uncomfortable and time consuming. Others caution that cold calling is dead and has been taken over by email and social media. Still, it’s impossible to dismiss the fact that cold calling can be incredibly useful when done properly. Keep reading to find out more about how you can combine cold calling with other forms of outreach, like email, to strike the perfect balance and start reeling in more clients.

Cold call correctly to see results

We’ve all been on the receiving end of an unwelcome telemarketing phone call during the middle of dinner. Tactics like this have given cold calling a terrible name, and rightfully so. However, you have the power to use cold calling respectfully and effectively. Try the following methods on your next cold call:

  • Research your prospects. Always do some quick research before dialing, because every single contact is different from the next and will have varying needs. This also helps you establish a “warmer” connection.
  • Never try to ‘sell’ on your first call. Your first call should be about continued information gathering and relationship building. You’ll have already done some initial research, which will make establishing a relationship easier. After all, how can you expect to make a sale without understanding the customer’s needs?
  • Refine your opening pitch. Talk about the benefits of your product or service, and have a well-rehearsed script that you can refer to during your calls.
  • Don’t dismiss ‘gatekeepers’. Sure, you want to get to the secretary’s boss, but do you realize that they can also be a helpful ally? Gatekeepers can be frustrating, but try thinking of them in a different light—be polite and cheerful, and you just might start a dialogue with a very important person who has access to insider information.

Try out these methods first, and then keep learning more about cold calling to improve your skills. For example, did you know that smiling affects how you speak?

Combine cold calling with other techniques

If the idea of cold calling a prospect makes your skin crawl, you can still combine phone calls with other methods that help “warm” a prospect up. Let your sales team take on a tiered approach, like this one:

  • Send an email introduction. Send a prospect an email with a piece of useful industry information, an offer of a free report that could help their business, or ask them a question. The key here is to not be focused on making a sale, so it’s very similar to how an initial cold call would be conducted.
  • Use your email newsletter. If your company has an email newsletter, then you already have a list of pre-qualified leads who you know are interested in your company.

Yes, it can really be that simple. You can also use LinkedIn, Twitter, and other social media tools to make initial contact with a prospect, and make that first phone call when the timing is right.

Cold calling may look different than it did 20 years ago, but cold calling is absolutely still effective. So, go ahead, do some initial research, then pick up the phone and start making some personal connections. You may find that the process isn’t all that bad.

Does your company utilize cold calling in their sales funnel, and do you find that it’s effective? Share your experiences with other readers!

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