Dec 12, 2013

I Hate Cold Calling, But I Still Do It

I have a confession to make. I cold call.

It feels like I’m revealing a dirty little secret, especially with my great detest for the activity. I’ve railed against cold calling as a viable lead generation tool for years.

Cold calling is slow, inefficient and laborious. And if cold calling is your primary source of business … Wow. I can’t even imagine.

Nevertheless, I still do it. In fact I made ten strategic calls last week to solicit companies to feature in my weekly column, Sticky Brand Stories.

Never stop hunting

Every sales rep worth his salt never stops hunting.

I’m not going to wait for the phone to ring. If there’s someone I want to reach I’m going to make the call. It’s that simple.

Be proactive. No one is going to hand you success. Pick up the phone. Send an email. Request an introduction. Do whatever it takes to move your business forward.

If you don’t blow your own horn, nobody will.

Choose autonomy

I was reminded recently that autonomy is golden.

Partnerships and customers can come with strings attached, and some are too great to accept. I’m willing to go back to basics and pick up the phone so I never have to compromise my values. I know there’s always another option to fall back on — me.

An inefficient sales tactic is still better than an efficient one with strings attached.

Work strategically

You’ll never hear me advocate that sales people should dial for dollars. That’s a waste of time. I don’t envy any sales person that is dependent on cold calling to drive their sales funnel. That’s a painful way to sell.

I’m fortunate. I’ve developed my platform to drive new business development. I don’t cold call to acquire new clients, because the phone rings regularly with inquiries.

Cold calling supports the top of my platform. Every week I feature a company in my column. The companies are selected from a broad cross section of industries and sizes, but they all have interesting stories to share.

A third of the companies I’ve profiled have been cold called. It’s a simple ask. I tell the business owner or CEO who I am and what I’m doing, and ask them if they’d like to be featured in my column. Most are delighted I asked, and are happy to share their story.

If I want to profile a company I’m going to pick up the phone. There’s no point hoping and dreaming they’ll accidentally stumble across me.

Make it a habit

Cold calls don’t have to be painful. If they’re strategic and deliver tangible results it’s easy to get on the phone and make a few well placed calls.

I try to make three to ten cold calls per week depending on my needs. It’s a habit. I do my research, and slot the calls in for times that are convenient for me. And I feel really good when I have completed my tasks. The process fits my needs.

Nothing relieves pressure like sales

My dad has a saying, “Nothing relieves pressure like sales.” I’ve grown up with this lesson, and it rings true time and time again.

Take control of your sales. If your phone isn’t ringing, start dialing.

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