Well, that is a really big question. And the answer completely depends on your definition of a cold call.

If you mean, calling completely cold and hoping to sell your services there and then, well, yes it is.

If you think of cold calling as a business development tool to introduce yourself and your services to a researched target contact, then no, it is not.

Cold calling is not dead at all, but it is evolving.

In reality there are as many cold calls being made now as there ever have been. And amongst them there is a lot of good business being done. Meetings set up, follow up calls made and people kept in touch with. The difference is that style is changing and improving and so is focus.

Do NOT email – call!

I have given my thoughts many of times before about the misuse of email, but please indulge me again….

Email is a really useful tool, a great method of communicating, but not a way to build a business relationship. There is no feeling, there is no empathy, there is no understanding, persuasion, compassion….. I could go on and on.

For those who are anxious about picking up the phone, it is also the ultimate method of avoidance. Hiding behind a computer screen, tapping out and sending an introduction is of little impact, especially without follow up. Ultimately most don’t get opened or read.

Do NOT tweet – call!

The other modern enemy of business development is the growth of social media. Please don’t get me wrong. I love social media. I use it widely and I believe whole-heartedly in using it in developing a marketing strategy.

But, what is not great about it, is that it has allowed a level of laziness that we haven’t seen before. It has allowed the same consultant who shies away from the phone and emails instead, to believe that they are being proactive in developing a market.

“I’ve been on twitter” is not a valid excuse in my book. Sure this stuff has a place (as a part of a balanced strategy) but it cannot replace the old fashioned ‘introduction call’ done properly.

Quality before quantity

Quality before quantity. You need to research. You need to have a sensible target list. You need to know who you are calling and why.

Cold calling in a professional services environment is not telemarketing. It is introductory, it is well researched. It is beneficial.

And above all, done well, it works!

Contact me 

For more on developing yourself, your staff and improving the profitability of your business, please do get in touch. You can email me at james@jamesnathan.com, use the contact page on my website www.jamesnathan.com or call me on 07736 831151. Follow me on Twitter at @jamesnathanxp, connect to me on LinkedIn, or follow me on Facebook.

I look forward to being in touch.

Views: 1842

Comment by Theresa Hunter on September 25, 2012 at 10:25am

It is the personal touch and by that I mean hearing someone talk about what their needs and the passion they have for the company is what makes for a great recruiting search.  Do we always get the passion from either the hiring authority or candidate no but you will never know if you rely a lot on social media, facebook, LinkedIn or twitter.  As much as a lot of people don't want to hear it we are still in the people business.

Comment by Steve Ward on September 25, 2012 at 11:12am

Ahh - well, James - yes it IS a relevant subject matter, that's for sure - but I still feel there is a dramatic misunderstanding of social media communications and written communications in the journey to client contact. 

Let's get one thing straight - WE don't make the rules - our target audience of clients do. If you get a high ratio of pick ups from sales calls, then carry on calling away. It's the way people are talking to you - use other stuff too - but keep calling. 

The reality is, 10% of cold, and even warm calls get picked up. I've seen the databases. How can we build a business on a methodology that only reaches such a short proportion of your clientele? 

Email is NOT impersonal. Social Media communications is NOT impersonal. Unless of course, you are doing it wrong. Which most recruiter are. 

I ditched sales calls over 3 years ago - haven't made one in that time. I see more candidates and clients now, than I ever did, on a face to face basis, and through social media and email being the best medium of communication. The reason? - because they appreciate it. A response in 24 hours from one email, is way better than no response from 7 answer machine messages.Remember, not our rules, but theirs. 

We have to break the tiresome old methods of gaining KPI points through `calls, visits, etc` - and start humanising the way we do business with clients. The perception of our industry needs a makeover, and we could start by getting to `social` faster. 

Spend more time `hiding behind computers` with a methodology that gets connections and casual appointments, than `hiding behind answer-machine messages`, and the perpetuation of the `Not there - call back next month` database population. 

We need to find ways to connect, that the client actually wants to be connected on. Again I say, their rules, not ours! 

Comment by Suzanne Levison on September 25, 2012 at 5:04pm

Cold Calling is alive and well~The phone is still magic

Comment by Kahlia Gliddon on September 26, 2012 at 9:18pm

I'd have to agree with Steve plus a few others. I am gen Y and have been taught and mentored in traditional sales methods but I have come to find that in my target market, people do not like answering calls. Not that I am against technology, in fact I find the evolution of how our society interacts fascinating, am a lover of social media and a big user of email and text. Despite this, I still find it frustrating that people tend to believe that it is easier to email than to answer an incoming call. So often I will make an unanswered call, only to receive an email from that person 30 seconds later. Just the other day, I was on the phone to a prospect and was having a good conversation with him, before being told that email was the easiest way to contact him. This was not just his way to put me off - he emailed me asking for a meeting. I will not stop calling, but knowing that my response rate is significantly higher through email means that that method cannot be ignored either. 

Comment by Siong Hee Chua on September 26, 2012 at 9:19pm

Cold call is a soft skill for sales professionals.  Some people do not want to perform cold call because of their fear, probably rejection or other reasons.  Email, Social Media are just someuseful tools to help promote the companies services and/or products.  Email can be use as a follow-up after cold call as that the receiver will have the sales person contact such as email and telephone.  In business aspect, human interaction cannot be do away.  Cold calling targeted prospects in the market is a great way to start, however sales professional needs to do their research before it start.

Comment by Martin O'Shea on September 26, 2012 at 10:34pm

I also find that its happening more and more, after making a cold call and having a brief conversation the candidate asks if we can use email/LinkedIn etc to further communicate as it would be easier. I'am always going to ask for a mobile as you always then have the option of calling if something urgent comes up. As for being old fashioned and only using cold calls, think this will mean you will fall behind as majority of employees around the globe most likely have some sort of online profile. 

Comment by Steve Ward on September 27, 2012 at 4:17am

With the tools we have at our disposal now, and the ready access to business and personal information - no call should ever be cold. 

Comment by Theresa Hunter on September 27, 2012 at 11:06am

That is very true Steve but for me a cold call is not being able to say Mr So and So said I should give you a call.  I am calling some one out of the blue to talk about an opportunity not knowing whether they are interested or not. I do most of my placements that way and it may not work if I were in a company but since I am solo it works for me.

Comment by Steve Ward on September 28, 2012 at 9:10am

Yes absolutely Theresa - it really is a case by case situation. If you are great at making those calls happen and work, then its a good investment of time. My issue is the cacophony of database filling callss, which amount to poor substance, on order to meet ++ quantity results (in base KPI figures) and giving the rest of you guys a bad name. 

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