I hardly ever get any sales calls at work. It’s different at home – we get plenty of annoying, completely untargeted and totally unprofessional calls selling kitchens, double glazing, solar panels, etc. However for the purpose of this article I’m talking about B2B sales calls at work.
Weeks could go by without me getting a sales call – great you might think, but I suppose that depends on which side of the fence you are on. However, last week I got two cold calls and on both occasions ended up buying what they were offering. It doesn’t matter what the product or service was, what’s important is that I was not thinking of buying these products, I was sold on it. The calls were both relevant, targeted and handled very professionally – which in itself is very rare indeed.
This got me thinking about cold-calls. Most of us must have seen the various infographics on LinkedIn and other sites about the death of cold-calling or read articles about how social media is the only way to develop and nurture leads. I wonder is this really true? There is no doubt that done correctly the use of social media can be incredibly valuable in the B2B market. However, so can cold-calls – in fact in many cases it can be much more effective. A case in point being the two calls that I received last week.
Just about everybody hates cold calls – salespeople hate making them and prospects hate receiving them. But why? Salespeople will argue that they don’t work and are an ineffective use of time. The recipient will say that it’s just an unwanted interruption. But mostly that’s down to a bad sales process or a lack of skill or training on the part of the salesperson. If it’s targeted, relevant and there is a compelling value proposition is the person receiving the call really going to be that annoyed? Surely not if it is handled properly?
So the issue perhaps is not that cold-calling is dead or dying but that the art of doing it well is dying.
Let’s be clear, I don’t advocate high-pressure sales calls and I don’t think that making dozens of sales calls every day is the panacea to every organisations’ sales problems. What I do think is that if used properly cold-calling is still a very effective sales tool.
From my perspective, for the most part, the selling can only really take place face-to-face. But the cold-call can be a great place to start – to gain a commitment to meet in person.
I’d be really interested in what everyone else’s view is on cold-calls.