Cold Calling: A Hot or Cold Business Tactic?

Cold calling is one of those things that some people swear by, and that others swear off. Cold calling is terrifying for most people. There is no question that it goes hand-in-hand with rejection and sometimes even anger from the other side of the phone line. That being said, studies have shown that it does work.

So…the question arises, should you or shouldn’t you incorporate cold calling into your business marketing regiment?

It’s a rare person who can pull off the cold-calling thing, not only from an effectiveness standpoint where they actually get results from it, but from a “coming-off-authentically” and “being comfortable” doing it standpoint.

Most people who do it, hate it. They do it because they think they “should.” First off, there are no “Shoulds” – as they say, stop “shoulding” all over yourself. You can make a conscious choice to do something or not after weighing out the benefits and downsides, but don’t respond from a “should-y” place. That’s you giving up your life and control to what other people say. And that’s messy and just asking for trouble.

You have an internal guidance system, use it. Pay attention to your intuition, guts, instinct, spiritual guidance – whatever you call it – you have it. I always recommend conscious choices. Now conscious choices don’t make a decision good or bad, right or wrong. It just makes sure that it aligns with you and your best life. Because you know the reasons why you made the decision you made, and you’re not just doing the lemming thing. (I make no judgements as the lemming thing might work out for lemmings, but presumably you’re not a lemming, so … not recommended.)

Okay, stepping down off my soapbox, let’s continue onward : )

After having said all that and going all the way down the lemming track just to warn you, I’m going to turn around and apparently contradict myself, so hold on. Try not to get whiplash : ) .

I actually would recommend that everyone in business do the cold calling thing for at least a few months, just for the experience and the insights that you’ll gain from having done it. Not just insights into human behavior by looking at the wide spectrum of responses you get from the people you’re cold-calling. But even more beneficial are the skills that you’ll develop and the insights into your own personal behaviors and methods of response to the people you’re calling and their behavior. Expanding your comfort zone and doing things that you are uncomfortable with can push you into becoming a more well-rounded individual and will give you a deeper insight. Cold calling will not only increase your people skills, but can help you better understand your target audience.

However, once you’ve gone through the “trial-by-fire” growth experiment of cold calling, if it’s just not you, and it’s not your thing, I say “Don’t do it.” Simple as that.  There are easier, more effective and certainly more authentic ways to reach your audience with your message and offers. Cold calling is by no means the only way to gain potential leads and grow your business.

If it is your thing, then by all means, study it, practice it, learn it, get good at it, and most importantly, get better at finding a way to be of service while you’re doing it. Don’t just do it from a selfish and self-centered angle in order to get people to do business with you. Do it from the perspective that you truly, genuinely have something that will be of benefit for the person or organization you’re contacting.

The reason telemarketers and other people who cold-call get such an icy reception from many of the prospects they’re trying to reach is because of the blatantly obvious, spot-it-from-a-mile-away, self-centered approach that those cold callers use.

Think about it from the prospect’s perspective: it’s clear that this person is trying to sell me something that I don’t want or need – their only agenda is to make the sale – and I’m the one who’s going to pay – and it ain’t gonna happen on my watch.

So it immediately becomes an adversarial battle of wills. It doesn’t suddenly “go pretty” from there. That battle will often get ugly and turn into abuse from one direction or the other or both as the egos of the battlers get inflamed.

So…it’s no wonder heart-centered business people think cold-calling is a punishment worse than emergency tooth extraction. Rejection is much more personal and disheartening when you feel passionate about whatever you are selling or whatever services you provide. The trick is in expressing that passion within the first few minutes and showing that you genuinely want to help and benefit the lives of those who you contact through cold calling.

If you can come at it from a viewpoint of being of service, and really examine the question,

“How can I let them know that I can help them solve the issues they’re facing and at the same time see if we’re really a good fit?” rather than from the desperation and selfishness of “I’ve got to make this sale,” you have taken the most important step that you can for cold calling.

There are plenty of good books or internet resources out there that can teach you how to create win-win scenarios through cold-calling. If you think that it would be an option for you, take a gander at some of these resources, put together a plan, and give it a whirl.

Before doing it though, make sure that you have a plan. It not only takes away some of the anxiety of the whole thing, but substantially increases your chances of success. Just like you wouldn’t give a public speech unprepared, I would not recommend jumping into marketing your business to strangers via telephone without a plan and practice beforehand.

Like I said, I think everyone should do some of it at some point in their life just for the experience.

If it scares the crayons out of you, I’d recommend that you do it every day for three months. OR, if you just want to get it out of the way faster, just make 300 phone calls. Keep track of your stats and make a game out of it. Because it will work if you recognize and adhere to the philosophy that it’s a numbers game. Despite the fact that you will undoubtedly face a decent amount of rejection, each lead that does come through is beneficial to your business. Focus on the good rather than the bad when it comes to cold calling.

As they say in “The Aladdin Factor” by Jack Canfield (great book by the way!) …

“Some Will.
Some Won’t.
So What?

Give it a shot, no matter whether you decide it’s for you or not – I guarantee that you’ll learn tons in the process….

Has cold calling worked for you? What have you learned through doing it? I always love to hear your thoughts and experiences. Just leave a comment by clicking the speech bubble on the upper right hand corner of this post or by leaving a reply below.

Next week, I will go into the importance of a business website in the marketing and success of your business.

Hope to see you again then, and in the meantime…go out and make it a great week!