“I can’t talk right now, I’m busy.” Admit it, you have used that excuse at least once when talking to a telemarketer.
Cold calling, which is jargon for an unrequested sales pitch, has come a long way since the term was first mentioned in volume 100 of The American Magazine in 1925. Salespeople these days have access to a wealth of resources that help them improve their sales tactics. But the jury is still out on whether or not cold calling still works today.
When you type “is cold calling dead?” into Google, you’ll be inundated with articles arguing for and against both sides. It all depends on who you ask.
Let’s take a closer look.
Why some say that cold calling is dead
- It’s outdated: In this tech-driven era, consumers aren’t as receptive to phone calls as they used to be. They’re more likely to respond to texts or social media communication. With caller ID apps freely available, people are more likely to decline calls from unknown numbers or numbers marked as spam. This means that cold calling is no longer a viable method of reaching prospects.
- It wastes too much time: Cold calling is believed to follow the theory of probability – for every 100 calls made, only 1 person will be interested in what is offered. According to a study done at Baylor University, only 1% of cold calls ultimately result in further communication between the agent and recipient. Compared to how many calls an agent makes per hour (8), that’s not effective at all.
- Consumers find it annoying: Cold calls are known for being intrusive because they often interrupt the recipient’s (likely) busy schedule. The result is that, even if the prospect is interested in the offer, they are likely to decline due to the frustration caused by the unexpected call.
- Sales agents don’t like making the call either: Constantly being rejected by prospects can be emotionally draining. Everyone knows what it’s like to be on the receiving end of a sales call, so agents are aware of the backlash they are likely to receive. The mental fatigue suffered by their agents will likely result in a high turnover rate from the company.
- Consumers prefer self-service: In a Hubspot infographic, it is predicted that more than 1 million American sales agents will lose their job within the next 4 years due to self-service technology and the fact that buying-decisions are often influenced by others’ opinions on social media.
Why others say that it’s still going strong
The idea that cold calling is dead comes from before the digital age, this is no longer true. Modern businesses have effective techniques at their fingertips. Cold calling can still be effective, it just needs to be done right.
Here are some of the reasons to believe that cold calling prospects are still good for business.
- Prospects get a break from all the noise online: The amount of online advertising noise has surged over the past few years. This hasn’t been well-received by consumers which means that reaching new prospects has never been this difficult. Cold calling might just be the knife that cuts through the noise. According to customer service statistics, 40% of all customers prefer speaking to a real person before making a final decision.
- Immediate feedback is available: Instead of waiting days or even weeks for an answer to the snail mail they sent, phoning the prospect directly will ensure an immediate response. This way, agents will know whether or not their efforts paid off.
- The message is customisable: Cold calls and emails generally follow a script. The difference between a call and email is that the sales agent can customise the call to suit the recipient, whereas the same email is sent to hundreds of recipients at once.
- It’s very personal: Phone calls create a personal connection between the agent and the recipient of the call. This means that the message is likely to be well received.
- Questions get an immediate response: When speaking to an agent directly, the prospect can ask questions and voice their concerns without having to wait for a response as they would have to via email or social media.
Food for thought: Think about it – if this sales tactic was dead, why is it still being used?
The jury is still out
Cold calling has changed a lot in this technology-driven era, but it’s unclear as to whether this sales tactic has become obsolete. Connecting with prospects is no longer limited to a phone call as companies can make use of emails, sms, instant messaging services, linkedIn and even social media channels to build a more personal connection with prospects.
Cold calling may or may not be dying but one thing is certain though you can still expect a few unsolicited sales calls in your near future.
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