Nigel Edelshain has some interesting marketing figures posted on his Selling IT site. Research indicates that an executive will only be receptive to talking with you after seeing your message at least nine times, and since only one out of three messages will reach on average, it takes twenty-seven attempts to gain a qualified appointment with a prospect.
Let's translate this into real-world cold calling. On average, companies and managers that require cold calling set a daily activity minimum of fifty cold calls. So, ultimately, each day salespeople who make fifty cold calls are making enough calls to reach only two executives based on the twenty-seven attempts it takes to get an appointment. And that's assuming the people you're calling are actually interested or have a need! In reality, cold calls to random people rarely reach anyone who has a current need.
Nigel points out that practically no salesperson ever makes twenty-seven attempts to reach a prospect, and therefore no sale takes place. This is just more evidence that salespeople absolutely MUST get away from cold calling and integrate a solid marketing system into their overall strategy. Tools such as e-mail newsletters to prospects and automated autoresponders are absolutely essential to gain an edge over the competition.
I love numbers because numbers don't lie. When someone tells me that cold calling works, I agree that it does indeed work... about 0.01% of the time.