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“The rumors of my death are greatly exaggerated.” –Mark Twain
You Have Been Lied To
For years you have been told that cold calling is dead. You have been told that you can be more successful in sales without cold calling. You have been told that new Web 2.0 technological enablers have replaced cold calling. You have been told that instead of cold calling, you should be “warm” calling.
You have been lied to.
A Reasonable White Lie
You have been lied to because you wouldn’t make the calls.
You were given other tasks to “warm” the prospect up to your message. You were told things like sending an introduction letter first would allow the prospect to know that you intended to call them, transforming a cold call to warm call.
You were told that sending an email requesting a time to speak would acquaint the prospect with you and provide them with a link that they could use to learn about your company. This would warm them for your call.
You were told that if the prospect knows who you are, even if they aren’t expecting your call, the call is no longer a cold call.
All of these made you feel better about calling.
All of these are reasonable white lies you have been told to overcome your call reluctance.
The truth is, you haven’t been warming up the prospect. You have been warming you up.
You Either Create Interest and Value, Or You Do Not Create Interest or Value
We have a name for unsolicited email. We call it spam and the word is intended to have a negative connotation. We also have a name for unsolicited snail mail. We call it junk mail, even when it is beautiful brochures printed in four colors on glossy paper and looks like a magazine.
This is always true. Except when it isn’t.
When the email contains something that creates interest based on a want, a need, or an interest you may have, it turns from spam into something interesting. When the letter or brochure addresses a want, a need, or an interest that you may have, it turns into something more than junk mail.
This is also true of the cold call. To be effective, you have to be able to create value for the prospect. If your letter did not create value for the prospect and pique their interest, and your email didn’t do any better, what are you going to do on the cold call that you couldn’t have done before you sent the letters and emails?
By warming up the call, the prospect will know who you are. But are you going to be known as the person that is spamming his email box and filling his inbox with junk mail? Or will you be known as something more?
Prospects still don’t want to take calls from people who don’t have the confidence and the business acumen to help them with their business challenges and their business opportunities. Whether you have sent letters or emails prior to calling, you are still cold calling. The only way to be effective calling prospects, warm or cold, is to be able to create interest and by demonstrating that you can (and will) create value for them.
This isn’t easy to do. Some salespeople and some sales organizations are better at it than others. But instead of buying the great lie that cold calling is dead, your time is better spent learning how to create real interest and real value for your prospects and clients.
NOTE: I have nothing against a good sales letter, an email, or a glossy brochure. But the same test needs to be applied: Does it create interest and prove my ability to create value?
1. Am I really sending letters and emails (etc.) because of an underlying call reluctance?
2. Is the root of this call reluctance my inability to create either interest or value (or both)?
3. Are the salespeople who are better than I am at cold calling also better at everything else?
4. Am I really only warming these calls up for me?
5. How effective are the letters I send? How effective are the emails? How could I improve them so that they both create interest and prove my ability to create value?
6. How do I improve my cold calling (and all other aspects of my prospecting)?
For more on increasing your sales effectiveness, subscribe to the RSS Feed for The Sales Blog and my Email Newsletter. Follow me on Twitter, connect to me on LinkedIn, or friend me on Facebook. If I can help you or your sales organization, check out my coaching and consulting firm, B2B Sales Coach & Consultancy, email me, or call me at (614) 212-4279.
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