Please Don’t Kill Me Again — I have Calls To Make

Every so often you get someone writing an article about cold calling being dead, and only days later it seems to spring right back to life. To be Frank, it must be frustrating to say over and over again that something is dead, just to see it thrive and grow. These declarations of death usually come from people who fear cold calling, suck at doing it, or both. The other group declaring it dead usually have “an alternate system” to sell, usually to those who fear who cold calling and suck at it; honestly, they just usually suck at sales in general. Let’s be clear, selling does not include order taking.

As I have continuously maintained, cold calling is part of a toolkit all sales professionals must use to prospect effectively. A toolkit that should include a variety of tools and skills such as social tools, referrals, marketing initiated campaigns and more, and cold calling, a core tool. As market factors evolve, so should this toolkit, the goal is expanding the toolkit to be ready for more opportunities, not displacement that leads to limiting opportunities. I find it funny that people who advocate for other means of engaging with potential buyers seem to have a need to kill cold calling as a means of highlighting their system. All this death stuff doesn’t seem very social to me, what do you think?

So it was with great amusement that I read a piece of SPAM that hit my inbox this week. It featured an infographic once again declaring the death of cold calling, these guys were serious, to make sure the beast is slayed and stays down this time, they brought more stakes to slay it with, they had 16 stats. If they can’t kill it this time they will need to seriously think about enlisting the help of Rick Grimes.

First, I call the piece SPAM, not because how I felt about the content, but because it came from a Canadian outfit, and since the introduction of the Canadian Anti Spam Legislation, CASL, it is verboten to electronically communicate with without prior permission. I have never subscribed to this social selling newsletter, making in not just SPAM, but cold SPAM, as in cold call, which they seem to feel is dead. Wonder what Freud would make of that?

As you would suspect, many of the stats did not relate to actual cold calling, and some of the ones that did, were old, used, and for the most part disproven. But it does get you to think, or it should, I find people who completely avoid cold calling, don’t always think it through, easier to kill evidence than think about it. I mean really if something is a clear and indisputable fact, do you really need 16 things to prove it; like who are you trying to convince here, us or yourself? Do you check 16 different sources to know if it is raining outside? No, you check the weather network, lookout the window, and the odd time stick you hand out the window for confirmation. I asked a doctor friend of mine how they do it, he laughed when I said 16 validation points for death; “Dude, if they ain’t breathing, heart not beating, they’re dead. Any more than that you are likely trying to kill them and they’re fighting back”.

But stats are convenient, like jewellery or accessories, when they accentuate your view you wear them, when they don’t you put them back in the drawer. For every stat that points one way, there are others that point to the opposite. Success comes down to having a plan and executing it, using your stats to adjust and refine, and get back to executing. While there are usually easy ways out, they are often short lived, and need to be replaced with the next easy thing. The effort and time it takes to do that, are no less than the effort it takes to integrate cold calling into a successful opportunity generating process.

The reality is, (I’ll leave it to you to find the stat), is there are huge segments of the market where cold calling on its own will not work. Just as there are whole segments of the market where you’ll starve trying to sell to referrals only; add other segments where social selling has zero success, because the buyers are not on any form of social media. We use a database of some 190,000 Canadian businesses, and regularly find that up to a third of the key people required for a purchase have no social media presence. No LinkedIn, no Twitter, no Facebook, no Pinterest, no nuthin’. But they have a business, they have objectives, and they have time for those willing to pick up the phone and call to start the conversation. Just as it is on a social platform, the goal is to start a conversation, but if they are not in social land, and you have no one to refer you, your best choice is cold call them, or pass them over. I am glad the stats show that you’re passing them over, means there is more for us zombies, still alive and willing to pick up the phone, and develop prospects. Remember, prospects are created, not found.

So here some stats to consider, there are 1458 words in the Declaration of Independence. There are 70 letters per serving of Alpha-bits cereal, 11.5 servings per box. The average word in English is 4.79 letters and 80% are between 2 and 7 letters long. The SPAMMY conclusion would be that you can’t have a nutritious breakfast from the Declaration of Independence, you need to look to the Constitution. Or you can just pick up the phone and talk to prospects.