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Is cold calling worth the effort? (And why the answer is YES!)

Much as I wish it were otherwise, I concede that astronomically high success ratios with cold calling are strikingly rare.

I wish it were different but it just ain’t so.

I read online of individuals with amazing ratios and here’s what appears to be going on.

First, they are personal coaches, not freelancers or consultants serving business clients (B2B). A B2B service client often cannot use our services unless they already have a project in the works. They rarely say, “Yes! Yes! I need you,” if they don’t already know exactly what they need us for.

As a corporate copywriter, I’m more likely to sell a prospect on a project already approved, such as an article for their website or a piece for a client newsletter, than to sell them on the need for the concept (Why not start a blog?) before selling my services to implement the concept.

Certain discretionary specialties, say perhaps trainers, or legally mandated specialties, such as some compliance, may be able to sell prospects on the concept as well as the actual work, but I’ve found it a challenging sale, to say the least.

In contrast, consumer (as opposed to business) clients are often more idealistic and looking to fulfill their dreams, which changes the sales dynamic, I suspect.

Second, cold calling means you don’t already have a relationship with the prospect. So it’s not reasonable to expect astonishing success.

The warmer the existing relationship, the more likely the sale. A call from out of the blue to a stranger is not exactly sure-fire.

Is cold calling worth the time and effort, considering that the success ratio is low?

In my opinion, it certainly is! If you want to talk to someone, the best way to accomplish this is to call him. And to leave a voicemail message and send an email if he doesn’t answer the phone.

If you know what you want, it pays to go after it as directly as possible.


Originally posted 5-16-11

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