Cold Calling is a Journey, not a Destination

October 6th, 2014 by

Let’s not kid ourselves, cold calling can be a miserable experience. If it’s quiet in the office, I tell our salespeople to get on the phone and start cold calling….and they groan. If not done the right way, cold calling is just prone to failure.

But cold calling, when done correctly, is an efficient way to bring new leads into the pipeline. It is predictable, it is profitable and it works. Just like any skill, cold calling requires some practice…and, after that, it’s a numbers game.

So, before you let your staff off the hook when they whine and say that cold calling doesn’t work, remember that a cold calling campaign requires testing and tweaking, the same way that we test and tweak any direct marketing program until we get it right.

Because if we can up the response rate just 1%…!

B2B Case Study from Beep DVM

“We had a client that purchased lists from a data broker based on location, size, industry, and title – the perfect prospects. They called with an offer to share how their service saved time and money through a multi-touch cold calling campaign. They had a 0.5% meeting rate, and they declared the campaign (not the calling) a failure.

Revisiting what they could test, they changed two items:
• Added an additional filter/trigger: Use of a specific technology they noticed other clients used
• Changed the value proposition of the call: Offered a best practices discussion vs. a services overview

These two changes resulted in a jump from 0.5% meetings set to 4% (and growing) – an eight-fold increase!”

One caveat, make sure you are testing a large enough sample to make this meaningful.

Learn From Your Results

In a recent article, I wrote about direct mail response and how it’s important to learn from our results. Same holds true with cold calling.

If you get response like:
“I don’t know what you’re talking about”
“Our company doesn’t do that”

This tells you to revisit your list criteria and make some changes in the SICs or contact titles.

Or, you may get responses like:
“We just bought from a competitor”
“I’m too busy right now, try me in a few weeks”

While these responses also seem negative (not to mention they didn’t buy anything), at least we know we’re getting close to the right target -maybe our timing is wrong, maybe we need to tweak our script a bit more….but we are learning something that will help us improve our campaign for the future.

3 thoughts on “Cold Calling is a Journey, not a Destination

  1. was wondering about the triggers you mention. I didn't really understand what those were and how they improved the results. would you go into a little more detail about how to improve as you go when making calls. for example, I'll make a call and the prospect will say…we already have what we need…or…we have all that in place…or…I wish you people would stop bothering us. we get at least a dozen calls a week about this. some of that comes from giving enough value and adjusting what you offer but there are also ways to soften the introduction so that people see you as someone who's different from the other 12 who called that week. what are your thoughts on these?