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Friday, 19 June 2009

Cold Calling Is Alive And Well - Its Just Got a Bad Name

I was very interested to read Jeremy Millers article “Sales People Don’t Cold Call”. Now I agree with much of his views in particluar if you're late into the buyers purchasing process, you're pretty much wasting your time and you really should be engaging with your prospects much earlier in the sales process. It seems to me that the core of Jeremys argument with respect to cold calling is predicated on accepting his stats, which I don’t, and so with a few small changes we generate vastly different success rates, to wit:

Industry standard numbers are for a contact with a prospect (in the UK) is every 4 -5 dials not every 8.4. Lets call it 5 as a compromise

The metrics I used for my sales force was 1 meeting for every 10 prospect conversations, not 1-50; frankly that’s just a rubbish number and if you think that’s representative of sales staff generally, common sense should slap your face and tell you that it would be impossible to sell the number and variety of products or generate anything close to a developed countries GDP at 12.5 customers per year. So my recommendation is, Jeremy, fire them then fire yourself and get some decent sales staff and a half decent sales manager to show you how it’s done.

Enough of my rant; let’s move on to see what else might change. I’d expect a close rate of around 30% not 25%, plugging in these numbers you get a vastly different outcome of 1 sale for every 165 calls, at 50 calls a day that’s 1 sale every 3 and a bit days. So with those few small changes cold calling becomes, as it always was, a viable option. I know it’s increasingly fashionable to pooh-pooh cold calling but it is a fact of sales life and particularly in tough economic times it stands up well to the “lets never make a cold call again” brigade. There are also industries where cold calling is the expected method of selling and connection. In the UK this is true of the construction sector and much of the manufacturing and engineering sectors and where, frankly, using other marketing techniques as the primary source of lead generation would be about as useful as a chocolate teapot.

Now being over 50, I might be a bit of a dinosaur, but, what’s clear is that even with all this new technology led marketing, lead generation and networking, sales results are no better than they were 25 years ago, and in many cases worse. One of the reasons for this, I submit, is because sales people and their managers have let themselves be seduced away from cold calling, not because it doesn’t work, but because it’s the most unpleasant part of the job.

Your comments please.

Exigent Consulting specialises in providing Business Turnaround, Sales, Marketing and Mentoring to the Small and Medium Business. We help Business Owners improve the profit performance of their business.

1 comment:

  1. Hi,

    Effective cold calling techniques can only be learned through proper sales training and constant practice. You need to learn how to talk to people and there’s no other way to do it but to practice your conversation skills!