Cold Calling is Dead, Stop Doing It

If there was ever a real life example for the definition of insanity,  it would be cold calling in 2016.

When was the last time this happened?

  1. Your busy day was interrupted.
  2. You have never met this salesperson.
  3. You have never heard of the company.
  4. You have never heard of the product nor service.
  5. Despite all of the above, this salesperson had such godlike charisma, you made a purchase without a second thought.

Chances are slim to none.

Employees are more concerned about hitting the required number as opposed to scoring. It doesn't pay off because decision makers won't respond anyway. In today's highly connected world, relationships matter more than ever before.

I've heard the rationalizations. "It's a numbers game." You know what else is a numbers game? The lottery. Your odds are, "one in more than 292 million."

In an actual conversation, a former colleague of mine said to me, "I made 500 calls and only had one "yes." So you see, it eventually pays off." He wasn't wrong...

1 successful call / 500 attempts * 100 = a success rate of 0.2%.

However, the strategy wasn't right. It wasn't a big name account either. It was a small business that netted us less than 5% of our monthly income goal. That's a drop in the bucket. To follow this, there is literally not enough hours in the year to make a profit, much less be successful.

Interruption marketing is dying. Inbound marketing is thriving. Why do companies still do this?

The number one reason, "We've always done it this way." Clinging to the past like it is a sacred relic is foolish.

Number two, "It's too expensive." That is as short-sighted as the first reason. It'll become a lot more expensive as time marches on and leaves your company in the dust. Eventually, you have to bite the bullet and pay a premium to save your business. Or, it's time to go dumpster diving. Would-be divers should know, VHS VCRs are no longer being made. Searching for replacement parts on eBay will only go so far. You may end up spending more time and money finding a cheap alternative.

Number three, "I don't want to learn a new system." Too bad. The market place is the best example of Darwin's Theory of Evolution. Your business will either survive and thrive as Netflix has. Or your business will follow Blockbuster's slow and agonizing demise.

Adapt or die.

I can sell snow to Eskimos

I've heard this line mentioned by self-proclaimed "experts" of sales. If you're capable of accomplishing this, you're doing it wrong because you're not satisfying a need.

The Eskimos are a very diverse people with "big tent" tribes.  In Alaska, Canada and Greenland, they are the Inuit. Also within Alaska and the Russian Far East region, are the Yupik Peoples.

The very first thing any marketer, salesperson, politician - anyone for that matter - should do is listen.

Listen to your audience before you speak.

The Inuit and Yupik peoples don't need more of what they already have - snow. Effective marketing is about identifying and satisfying a need. Among their many needs is something to keep them warm during the harsh winter - a blanket, a thermal jacket, a space heater (this part will come back later). If you are able to satisfy their needs, you're already one step further ahead than your competition.

According to the American Indian and Alaska Native Tribes in the United States: Year 2000 more than 16,000 Inuit live in Alaska.

As a marketer, you should know the following: many parts of Alaska are only able to be reached by plane, how will you distribute your product? How do you price your products for a people whose economy changes based on the season? How do you promote a product to a population experiencing myopia of epidemic proportions? If your customer has difficulty seeing the product from afar, what will make it easier for them to recognize your brand? Remember that space heater? How many potential consumers in your target market have reliable access to a power supply? All of these questions and many more should have an answer.

All of it narrows down to one principle - identify and satisfy. That is what makes a customer loyal for the long term.