Is cold calling dead? And if laws are being passed to put it to rest once and for all, how do we generate business from now on?
Opinions on the subject vary greatly depending on the background of the individual. For example, most of the old-timers are vigilant in preaching their belief that the only possible way to succeed in the world of selling is to make no less than fifty calls each and every day. On the other hand, younger salespeople tend to become frustrated with this rather quickly and begin looking for more innovative ways to generate business.
I was just reminded of how ingrained this cold calling belief is. I spoke with a friend who left a sales position with a major merchant processing bank only a few weeks after starting. The reason? He was required to make a minimum of 400 cold calls each and every week and to document his activity with business cards. He is highly experienced and knows how to generate business without knocking on 400 doors per week and decided to discuss the strategies that have worked for him in the past with his managers. Their response? This is how we’ve done it for forty years, and we’re not about to change.
That response, in my opinion, is the reason we’re seeing record business bankruptcies today. The world and our economy have changed and are breaking into bold, unchartered territory. But the management of most business organizations insists on doing things the old way, even though the old way produces less and less results as time goes on.
The concept of “Permission Marketing” is slowly but surely gaining popularity as the old idea of “Interruption Marketing” becomes less efficient and more wasteful. There are several reasons why cold calling in particular has become less effective as we move further into the Information Age. It destroys your status as a business equal. It forces you to spend time with unqualified prospects while the qualified ones are buying from your competition. It annoys people and is increasingly considered to be rude and disrespectful. Moreover, it may now be illegal (and in several states, it’s been illegal for quite some time). But, most importantly, it destroys sales peoples attitudes.
Where is the good news in all of this? Well, the great news is that if you begin using new, innovative, “Information Age” methods for prospecting, you’ll be miles ahead of your competitors who are wasting their time annoying people with cold calls. In this age of the Internet and vast communication networks, why on earth would anyone knock on doors or make cold phone calls to look for business?
Think of the power at your fingertips: there are literally dozens of ways to use the Web and e-mail to let the idea of Permission Marketing do its magic. Allow customers to raise their hands and let you know they’re interested. Begin finding, implementing, and reaping the benefits of this bold, new Information Age we are in. Your competitors will be the ones standing in bankruptcy court and explaining their “do-not-call” violations to the government while you are happily taking orders.