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Cold Calling Statistics

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.

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» Overcoming Cold Calling Resistance from SMM Newsletters
Cold Calling is disliked by both Buyers and Sellers. However as a complementary activity to an effective Internet Marketing process, it can be a most effective sales generator. [Read More]

Tracked on May 16, 2005 8:51:38 PM

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Posted by: NeverColdCallAgain | May 27, 2010 1:31:38 PM

Some of you guys are lucky that you are at least provided with qualified leads to call to. My company expects me to do the research on leads, qualify them, make calls, see appointments and close the sale.

There is no need to say that it's not working well and not to say that our services are over-priced. After all the juggling among research, cold calls and appointments, if I do get a few appointments then the next hurdle is convincing the prospect on the value of or services. And when I am making the appointment, I am losing out on making calls thus have to start from zero every other day and have longer sales cycle. Despite all this, a few unlucky ones do agree to waste their valuable time on learning about our over-priced services.

If I can do well in this system then I must be really good.

Posted by: retman | Apr 26, 2008 9:06:12 AM

It’s hard for me to believe this. Cold calling was taught to me from infancy. How are things different now? It’s hard to see anything changing now. Thousands of companies cold call. Now all of a sudden they are not keeping up with the times? Frank Rumbauskas what in the world are you preaching?

Posted by: Jonathan Askew | Mar 13, 2008 4:01:12 PM

After reading all the very and informative post, I feel that a combination of both needs to be accelerated to its highest potential, time management will be the key. The actual reality is building a strong hopper=high numbers of connects that start from red to green as you continue to qualify the opportunity by phone or email, invites to webninars and chalk talks. So the formula is use ever means of marketing and sales tools that are effective and drive your connect ratio to the limit. marketing and sales must create medium in order to be number 1

Posted by: victor reyes | Oct 30, 2007 1:36:11 PM

We're a small company and have opened the majority of our accounts through cold calls. A lot of research and segmenting take place with our call list prior to call one. We are calling with something they want, which is critical. While it is time consuming, we now have paying customers. We view it as a process that we are committed to at this time. We have found that a majority of marketing e-mail is getting pulled into spam/junk files and mail pieces are getting thrown out without being seen. The repetition of cold calls to a highly-targeted group gives you a greater sense of control and you becoming frighteningly confident on the phone. Cold calling is not for everyone.

Posted by: Andrew Bleke | Oct 18, 2007 3:15:14 PM

How many sales can a person get selling the worst product, if they called 1000 numbers?
This is not to say that the person would actually make contact with all 1,000.
Is it 1% of 1000 will actually respond, or 1% of the 1,000 would actually buy?
Is it 1% of 1,000 would respond, which is only 10 people, then out of those people no one would buy because 1% of 10 is zero.

What is the percentage, for some say 80/20 rule, then some say 2%, then some say 1%.
Selling the worst product what is the actual percentage using cold calls?
Thank you for your advice.

Posted by: JoAnn Wilcox | Aug 14, 2007 9:58:00 AM

My company (a uniform retanl company) requires 80 cold calls a week and $100.00 a week in new accounts.
I found this to be the most arduous task that I have ever undertaken. Am I wasting my time?

Posted by: Brian | Dec 27, 2006 11:16:26 AM

I think it depends on how quickly you want results.

I mean it takes up to a week for marketing pieces to be recieved and digested by our target audience.

It takes 5 seconds to make a call and see if you can actaully talk to someone in charge.

But a healthy mix of both, would have to be productive, but without a doubt making calls on the phone would be a quicker way to find out that your customer "still" doesn't want to know about you or your services, because your still shooting in the dark either way.

How can you tell whether you are calling or sending marketing that your prospective clients are sitting there and have certain problems that your solution solves?

You don't... Even though our bosses would think us have us think otherwise.

So wouldn't it save time and money to give them a call first and not pull any stupid sales call tricks with them and just connect with them and start developing a relationship. Maybe they'll give you some inside information that you can then go and target your marketing around for them.

I think we're all so hyped up with how good our product and service is and how it can help everyone we call or send marketing to, that we are too busy making pitches in our calls and our marketing copy, rather than taking the time to really listen to what our prospective clients are telling us and then trying to help solve thier problem.

But maybe I'm on the wrong track?

Posted by: Adriam | Jul 11, 2005 9:40:42 AM

I've just been reading these comments and I don't know whether to laugh or cry. I worked for a company with an almost identical ethos - i.e that everyone should be earning 100k, but no one ever did. Rather than start a marketing system, or even increase the commision, the boss put the fact that no one earned 100k+ (except for him) down to lack of having a compelling reason to succeed, or not visulizing our success strongly enough and used to send us on all sorts of courses and get us to read books to 'find our driving force within'. I did the only sensible thing - I quit!

Posted by: Leon Gruneberg | May 10, 2005 5:33:17 AM

Is the company actually paying you $90 per call?

Part of the hypocrisy of cold calling is that trainers and managers often say, "Each call is worth X number of dollars in your pocket!" However, they DO NOT pay us per call. They only pay us commissions on completed sales, which implies that the idea of each call being worth money is a big lie. If it were true, salespeople would be paid per cold call instead of commission on completed sales.

Posted by: Frank Rumbauskas | May 7, 2005 12:42:42 PM

I am a sales rep at a company whose philosophy is market through technolgy, and one of which is the phone. The largest deal the company has ever closed was by myself and the opportunity began by a targeted email campaign to a select group of office printer/doc solution dealers across the country. the opportunity took 4 months to close but that was only because the deicision maker was golfing and tending to other affairs.

I have not bought your product/book but i assume you are trying to teach everyone that cold calling alone is never affective, but i can't see how a sales rep would be a sales rep, without ever cold calling.

btw i made approx $90 per call last month for the company. and about $23 per call for myself. :)

Posted by: Gatekeeper | May 1, 2005 3:57:20 PM

Yes, your hell is a very common situation (in fact the MOST common in sales organizations).

The bottom line is that you're dealing with someone who is taking the cheap way out by refusing to spend money on marketing support, which is ironic because HE is losing the most by refusing to market and provide qualified leads to the sales reps!

I love the silly idea put forth by many sales trainers and authors that you can break down how many cold calls it takes to get a sale and divide by the average commission, thereby putting a dollar value on each cold call.

We've all heard it: "Every time you make a cold call you're putting ten dollars in your pocket!"


The answer is simple: Because by letting you do the cold calling and be your own marketing support, you're doing it at YOUR expense! They are costing you money! Of course they won't pay us per call, because the calls are worthless. We are paid for completing sales and those same trainers and managers and owners who say "each call is worth money in your pocket" know full well that it is an outright lie and that each call COSTS you money out of your pocket while saving them money out of theirs!

In the end, everyone loses, including the company, because of course when the salespeople make more money, the company makes more money, and by starving the sales team of marketing support, companies are starving themselves in the end. It's the old "penny-wise and pound-foolish" ... in other words, their efforts to save a few pennies result in big dollars flying out the window.

Posted by: Frank Rumbauskas | Apr 12, 2005 7:00:18 PM

I agree.

I am the sales manager for a small company. I recently came across some other discouraging data about cold calls: Namely that you have to speak to 100 people in order to generate 3 buying customers. And in our organization I track numbers and it takes about 10 Calls to actually reach and have a presentation with a live person.

The owner is always saying that the sky is the limit, there is no reason you can't make 100k with base plus commission, you just have to make more calls. He always refuses the expenditure of money or time on anything like marketing materials or lists.

Well, I did out a ratio sheet using our typical commission and dollar amount of sales and found that for a sales rep to make $100,000 he or she would have to make something like,( and I not kidding,) 510 phone calls a day.

I showed him these calculations and suggested that we had a few options.

One..Purchase a list with more people on it, since our database has nowhere near enough names to support that type of calling.

Two...We increase the commisions of our reps so that we are not lying when we tell them they can make 100K.

Three...Try and find ways to work smarter.

He looked at me condescendingly and said that I was overlooking something.

What, I asked?

He said that the reps might do better than those statistics.

Welcome to my hell.

Posted by: YSHARV33 | Apr 12, 2005 5:57:06 PM

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