All the sales and marketing experts are declaring that cold calling is dead. People are quick to hang up on the random uninvited salesperson or telemarketer. Calling someone you don’t know to sell them something they may not even need puts the salesperson at a serious disadvantage. Also, it is so time consuming to sit there and make all those calls, plus the rejection you’re bound to face calling strangers will take its toll on your confidence, and how can you sell without confidence? FrankJ. Rumbauskas was the first one to sell me on this idea of never cold calling again.
Sometimes, especially in the beginning of an enterprise, cold calling is the best thing you can do. Like me: chasing my latest hustle, I’ve found it necessary to speak to someone at every high school in Brooklyn (There are over 100 high schools in Brooklyn alone, many of them have 2000+ students. With the right idea and execution, a guy could make some serious cheddar serving all those parents and students).
So I called all of them, even though I don’t know any of the employees at any of the schools. My secret: I made the calls on a Saturday (while my prospects offices were closed) and left voice mail messages.
The calling is admittedly cold, but I’m also offering a service that will help their students and potentially make them look good in the process. Those who are interested in what I have to say will almost certainly call me back. Others may pass it on. Worst case, someone never checks their voice mail.
Voicemail is more like email than telephone communication in that it’s one way. It’s nice when someone answers an email or voice mail right away, but they also have the right to wait an hour or a week or never to reply at all.
Point is, I got the word out there, and my phone is bound to be ringing by Tuesday. Going straight to voice mail saved me the hassle of dealing with the protective receptionist or busy decision maker. With the relatively low statistical success rates of cold calling, you may be better off leaving people messages when you know they’re not there. If no one at all calls back, either what you’re saying is off or you didn’t make enough calls.