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Driving, Flying, and Cold Calling

Yesterday I was participating in a discussion in LinkedIn Groups, explaining all the reasons why small business owners like me won't take cold calls. Like clockwork, someone replied with that old time-worn objection: "Cold calling works for me."

I went into my explanation of how cold calling never really works, even if you think it does. Results from cold calling can be very deceiving, because they distract salespeople from the simple fact that cold calling is extremely time-consuming, and therefore limits your sales production by time.

To be brutally honest, I'm tired of explaining this to people, because it comes up almost every day, and in thinking of how to get the point across a bit more effectively, I thought of an analogy between driving a car, flying in an airplane, and cold calling, along with the investment required for each.

When someone says that cold calls "work," what they're really saying is that they're making sales from cold calls. The argument is that they don't need to learn alternatives to cold calling, because it's already getting sales.

Likewise, someone who spends several days driving from New York to Los Angeles will get there just as reliably as someone who gets on a flight and arrives in about five hours. The only difference is that they chose a far less efficient method.

The person who drives from NY to LA may have chosen to do so due to the lower perceived investment. On the surface, it's cheaper to hop in the car and get on the highway, than it is to spend several hundred dollars on an airline ticket, in addition to airport parking, rental car fees, and other costs.

But, once that person arrives at the final destination, they realize it isn't so cheap after all. The cost of fuel and tolls alone will equal or exceed that of the airline ticket, and they'll have to do it all over again to get back home!

This reminds me of salespeople who stick with cold calls, because they think it "works," without realizing how terribly inefficient it is. It all comes down to time management. Cold calling is exceptionally time consuming, and if you crunch the numbers, you'll find that it's practically impossible to earn a very high income - well in excess of six figures - if you are spending hours each day cold calling, rather than face-to-face with qualified prospects who are ready to buy right now.

Furthermore, my interpretation of the "cold calling works" crowd, after conversing with hundreds of them, is that they're not willing to make the initial investment in time and learning to begin getting away from cold calling.

Nowadays we have the Internet and social media, which gives us practically unlimited information on target prospects, along with virtually unlimited ways to connect with them in ways that are far more effective than cold calls.

However, there is a learning curve involved. This one fact alone would explain why those who are dedicated to cold calling tend to be veterans, or "old timers" if you will, while younger salespeople in their twenties and early thirties are quickly becoming masters of selling with social media.

It's been said that capitalism is an ongoing process of creative destruction, where old methods of doing business are continually replaced by newer and more efficient methods. Cold calling is going the way of creative destruction right now, as modern technology and especially the Internet and social media give us a much better way to connect with targeted, qualified prospects, without the excessive time requirements of cold calling.


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Awesome post! Very excellent points you are making Mr. Rumbauskas! This blog is tops! Love your book too - huge fan.

Posted by: Ms. Living Fit | Apr 24, 2012 6:16:30 PM

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