As the daughter of a salesman, I grew up listening to old sales stories about how my father used to go door-to-door selling encyclopedias in the middle of the summer in the Arizona heat and the anthems he would sing each morning to get himself in the right mindset. My father also had a library of books all related to the sales profession in some degree that he would make my brother and I read and give detailed summaries on what we’d learned. While I still remember lessons in those books today, it would probably be painful for my father to hear me say these words “Cold Calling is Going Cold.”
It seems like 20, even 10 years ago, cold calling was seen as a successful sales formula, still generating decent conversion rates and returns. However, as technology and communicating almost entirely electronically has taken over the old days of phone calls and in-person meetings, it’s more difficult than ever to “break in.”
In every position in my marketing career, which can still be considered short (almost nine years), I’ve been on the receiving end of thousands of B-to-B cold calls. I’ve heard and seen it all; some with impressive strategies and techniques, and some who were probably not in the best suited profession.
From my experience in the field thus far, here are just a few reasons why unfortunately I believe cold calling is becoming a negatively-viewed approach.
What’s Giving Cold Calling a Bad Rap?
- Can be viewed as disrespectful of one’s work schedule and time — On any given day, I stay pretty busy being reactive to things going on in my company, and once I get through those items, I finally get to my to-do list. Therefore, it is very hard for me to stop everything and get on an unplanned sales call or meet someone who has dropped by for 20-30 minutes. In addition, it’s hard for me to schedule a conference call or demo on something where I have no idea upfront on how it can bring value to what we do.
- Do you even understand what we do? — I’ve received so many emails before where the product/software that was being pitched to me is literally something that is not even relevant to our industry. Therefore one has to wonder, if they even researched our company and studied what we do? Google is a powerful thing folks.
- Thanks for your canned email — These are the worst and probably immediately get sent to the trash folder. You’re not fooling anyone if my name or company name is in a different font or color than the rest of the email …
- Attitudes can come into play — There have been several occasions where a sales rep has called me more than once, and when I did not return their call immediately, they become almost offended. If you’re in a position like mine, you can get up to 20 sales calls a day, making it difficult to answer every unknown number or check every voicemail, all while doing your day job. It’s almost like dating, if someone isn’t calling you back … It’s best to not email prices back and forth or schedule a meeting if it’s going to lead the other person on.
Now for some positive thoughts — from my interactions, here are some simple ways to “break in.”