Cold calling – breaking down the barriers

word-sell-ed-eskimo-cold-call

Do check out the new Economic Voice layout – it seems vastly better to me and is more accessible now.  One of their first posts is on Cold Calling, with the news that:

The US Investment management company Edward Jones is to sell its UK arm to Towry Law.  Edward Jones has been operating in the UK for the past 11 years and has built up 250-400 offices during that time. Itls unique selling point has been that all its advisers are not only fully qualified financial advisers but also qualified stockbrokers.

Personally, I detest any form of cold calling but Jeremy Jacobs would beg to differ.  He runs courses and has issued a pdf on the subject of making it both palatable and effective.

Your humble blogger accepts that if you don’t name it, you can’t claim it and that you’ll never know if you don’t ask and yet … and yet …

A commenter here has this take on CC:

You are asking the wrong question. Without a doubt cold calling will lead to appointments and sales. The real question is whether it is the most effective prospecting tool available to you. Your best bet is to create a prospecting plan that includes calling, snail mail, email, faxing, face 2 face introductions and referrals. Then work your plan and figure out what gets you the best results for the time and money spent. Then do more of that!

I don’t want to admit it but when I had the company Sportsprint, which basically screenprinted team shirts and other items, my main task was to get in the car and visit various stadia and clubs face-to-face.  I always landed more orders that way but that was just that I’m better up front than at the end of a line.

It always seemed pushy to me whereas when they saw me, they could see the more relaxed body language and I was usually  allowed time to talk to them.  Part of that would have been that the principal was the one hawking the product.

Javier Salces says:

However, today, cold calling does not work. And that is putting it mildly. The most important reason for the redundancy of cold calling in present times is the fact that you are randomly calling a person from a list. Now this person X could be anyone – there is absolutely no guarantee that the person will be even interested in listening to you. Most of these cold calls are met with abrupt denials and even slammed receivers.

I’m not sure if I’m atypical but the moment anyone tries to sell anything to me, unless I specifically wanted it, I refuse point blank, as politely as possible, on principle only.  Even if I might have wanted it, I’ll refuse, think about it some days and then think about calling myself to get more info.

However, if I’m in a store, at the technica counter, say, then if someone has a stall there, offering some special, well, I might go over and see what he has to say.

This would seems to suggest that cold cold-calling might be offputting but targetted cold-calling might have better results.

6 comments for “Cold calling – breaking down the barriers

  1. ivan
    October 24, 2009 at 10:47

    We do get cold telephone calls over here but I have the ideal defense – I suddenly can’t understand French, throws them off and eventually gets you on to a ‘don’t call’ list.

  2. October 24, 2009 at 10:50

    Your last sentence sums it up for me. I am signed up to the telephone preference service which stops the cold calling from all those big companies that use lists. If any get through I won’t talk to them and if they try and insist I get annoyed.

    However if a small local company use the local directory and call I will listen to see what they have on offer. They rarely do the hard sell they are just trying to make their business work.

    And I hate people pouncing on me when I am out shopping!

  3. October 24, 2009 at 10:52

    Thanks for your valuable input and support James. Much appreciated!

    Your take on cold calling is spot on. But with Edward Jones their ‘brand new to the industry recruits’ are expected to make 125 new contacts (name, address and phone number) a week for the first 3 weeks. This is done purely on doorstep cold calling. No phone calls as the FSA do not allow it. That would probably equate to 50-100 front doors knocked on per day per adviser. This is highly inefficient, especially when you are looking for people of a specific demgraphic with a minimum of £20,000 to invest to make it worth your while.

    They were probably haemorrhaging money, hence the sell off to a company with a vastly different business model.

    • October 24, 2009 at 12:19

      So, what’s the answer then, Jeff?

      Ivan – it was a technique I used in Russia.

      Cherie – that’s a good move, the blockage of the big list companies but letting the small ones through.

  4. October 24, 2009 at 12:33

    I wish I had one. I’d bottle it!

    But I remember the old ‘Ding-Dong, Avon Calling’ TV advert to warm households up.

    This may be the best model for the UK. Prepare people so when the cold calling occurs they are already partially engaged. With a good ad campaign cold calling could be more effective.

  5. October 24, 2009 at 21:30

    As an addition, cold calling by ethical companies can be good for the recipient. It can save people money or give them access to a product or service they were unaware of by giving good honest face to face information.

    But of course for every scrupulous firm there are 100 unscrupulous ones.

    What is needed is a public list of properly accredited cold callers. On the list OK, off the list you do a stretch.

    If householders were comfortable that a doorstep or ‘phone caller was legitimate maybe they would be more likely to listen.

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