Can These 5 Keys Determine the Fate of Cold Calling?


When marketers and writers tell us that cold calling is dead, they never remember to qualify what they are trying to sell us.  The amount of death in cold calling is dependent on a number of variables that never seem to be discussed.  If we take a good hard look at these variables, we can see that taking a broad brush stroke to cold calling is a mistake:

  • New Salespeople – Even this needs clarification.  New to selling?  New to the industry?  New to the vertical?  New to the company?  New to the role?  Unless brand new salespeople are fed an endless number of leads, there may be no other way to establish themselves other than making cold calls.  On the other end of the argument, veteran salespeople who come from the industry, territory, or vertical, and are simply new to the company, may not ever need to make a single cold call to reestablish themselves.
  • Size of the customer pool – If the company has 12 potential customers in the entire world, cold calling is not in the salesperson’s future.  On the other hand, if everyone is a prospect, there may be no other way of reaching them all without using cold calling to target the most elusive of them.
  • Size of your online network – If a salesperson has a large and influential online network, that individual might be able to generate enough introductions to keep a full pipeline.  But the key word is “might”, and when it isn’t happening, cold calls will be required to supplement.
  • Expectations – If a salesperson’s role requires 20 new meetings to be scheduled each week and there aren’t 60 leads flowing in to support that outcome, the salesperson will need to cold call.  On the other hand, if the salesperson is only expected to schedule 5 new meetings each week, it’s possible that a combination of leads, customer referrals and online networking can support that goal.
  • Skills – This is clearly the biggest variable of them all.  IF cold calling will be necessary, then the amount of cold calling is in direct disproportion to the salesperson’s skills at performing this.  I know this was true for me as I started 3 businesses in the 70’s and 80’s.  I hated it, but was willing to do it.  I vowed to get so good at it that I wouldn’t have to spend a minute more doing it than was absolutely necessary.  While others spent their entire days making cold calls, I scheduled the meetings I needed to schedule in less than an hour.

As long as we are discussing the variables that must be considered before we say cold calling is dead, you might be interested in these additional 15 articles on the death of various aspects of selling.  These have all been written over the past 8 years or so.  Has my thinking changed?

The Latest Fiction for the Sales Force – No More Hunters and Farmers

Double Article Friday and the Death of All Selling Forever

Sales Candidate Shortage – More Proof That Sales Isn’t Dead Yet

Could it Really be The Death of SPIN Selling?

Sales 2.0 – The Answer to our Prayers or a Costly Distraction?

Sales Management Best Practices – Are Top Salespeople Challengers?

Is There a Lack of Clarity on the Current State of Selling?

Insider Opinion – Why Sales Experts Can’t Agree on Anything

Has the Death of Selling Finally Arrived?

The Death of Selling Revisited

Seth Godin – Sales Expert or Marketing Genius?

The Death of the Sales Force is Greatly Exaggerated

Sales, Sales Force, Sales Call – More Death

The Death of Selling Part 4

The Death of the Sales Force Part 5 – Will Selling Live On?

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