Is cold calling a thing of the past? YES!

Is cold calling a thing of the past? YES!

Written By Jeffrey Gitomer

KING OF SALES, The author of seventeen best-selling books including The Sales Bible, The Little Red Book of Selling, and The Little Gold Book of Yes! Attitude. His live coaching program, Sales Mastery, is available at

Is cold calling a thingof the past? YES!

Cold calling is over. The only people who don’t realize it are thepeople still making them. Or worse – their bosses.

I am in a LinkedIn group called Sales Gravy. I’m following a threadabout the ROI of cold calling. It’s interesting to seehow salespeople view cold calling.

As you read my posts, you will gain insight to my philosophy and get afew sales tips on how to AVOID cold calling FOREVER.

There were more than 100 other posts – here are mine:

– My definition of coldcalling since 1992 has been “waste of time.” I have upgraded it sincethe onset of the Internet to “total waste of time.” Oh, some peoplemake sales cold calling – but not nearly as many as with referrals, by a marginof 50-1. Whatever your thoughts are about cold calling – one fact isundeniable: of all the options, the cold call is BY FAR the lowest percentagesales call.

– Which would you ratherhave – 100 cold calls or 100 referrals? People have to cold call because theyare transactional with customers (they have a hunter – farmer, 1970’smentality) and don’t take the time to build memorable relationships that leadto referrals. Instead of spending a day cold calling, why not spend a day withexisting customers to EARN referrals.

– Focus on deliveringreal value to your best customers, and relationships will blossom. Real revenuecomes from long-term relationships, not one shot deals. Anyone trying to tellme that, “Cold calls work, or I made a lot of money cold calling”will get my agreement. I did it, and have made a lot of money cold calling. BUTI have made millions by writing, positioning, delivering value first, andcreating a reputation of excellence. And I recommend you do the same.

– (Someone’s post) The onlyaccurate statistic I can quote is, “You miss 100% of the shots you don’ttake.”

– (My response) Eh,almost Bill – closer to accuracy is – You only miss 100% of the cold calls youdo make

– As I said in my otherposts – some people have success cold calling. I have had success cold calling- at the C-Suite (with referred inside information) – but with reputation,relationships, and referrals, it blows away all stats on cold calling, andreduces the sales cycle time from connection to sale. You can say all you wantabout how great cold calling is – but the fact remains it’s the lowestpercentage of sale among the options available. There is a bright side to coldcalling – it’s a great place to learn how to sell. It calls for real mentalagility to get to the real decision maker, and preparation combined withcreativity once you do. And you feel GREAT when you finally do make the sale.But in today’s business world, where most cold calling takes place on the phoneor online, you’re much better off with a referral – or better – when someonecalls you.

– If you’re in sales, youshould spend the majority of your time in front of people who can say”yes” to you. If you’re making cold calls, the majority of your timeis wasted on people saying “no.”

– No wonder everyonefails at cold calling – no one gets what the real objective is: GET TO THEDECISION MAKER, AND CREATE THE ATMOSPHERE WHERE HE OR SHE WANTS TO BUY (not tosell them). Until that takes place, the ROI on cold calling is under zero.REALITY: The cost of lost opportunity for not investing your time in othersales generating activities – like earning referrals – relegates you to havingto cold call. The three elements are NOT: art, best practice, and science.There are four elements: ENGAGE, PROVIDE VALUE, PROVE WORTH, AND GET A SIGNEDCONTRACT – any other results are an utter waste of time and effort – not tomention an annoyed potential prospect, lost forever.

– I’ve been reading withamusement all the comments that have been posted about “how to” coldcall – the one above is a classic example (here is an exact quote from thepost: “And here is a by-product of cold-calling: when you call in, you learnwhere the receptionist sends salespeople. That is, NOW you know where yourcompetition is being sent and you can make sure to protect that entry point inthe future.) It’s sharp thinking, and a great sales thought – it’s juststarting at the bottom, and a rehash of 1980’s thinking – and it takes fivecalls to get anywhere. If you used the business power of LinkedIn, or thesocial media power of Twitter and Facebook, this kind of sales-stealth wouldnot be necessary. In 2010, sales is NOT about one out of ten calls, or gettingthrough the gatekeeper, or calling and hanging up.

Interestingthat most of the people posting here have few if any LinkedIn connections,almost no recommendations, no Facebook fan page, and under 250 Twitterfollowers. In other words, they are doing things the way I did things in 1975(taking freight elevators in NYC to get to the floor of the buyer and walkingin with no appointment). It was fun – and got results – but there was noInternet, and the world was receptive to salespeople.

Notthe case these days. Not ONE of these contributors talked about e-zine, blog,earning referrals, writing an article in an industry publication, or giving aspeech at a trade show – all ways of 2010 cold calling – resulting in peoplewanting to connect with YOU.

Periodically”cold-calling” your customers is NOT a good idea – sending them avalue-based e-zine once a week is – then maybe the customer or the prospectwill call you! That’s not a cold call, that’s a HOT call.

OK- there’s my current thinking on cold calls. And some will argue that coldcalling has and is working for them. Great – good luck – two out a hundred ifyou’re a great salesperson. I’ll take 100 referrals anytime.