While I really don’t have anything against cold calling from a pure marketing perspective, more often than not, it’s a really poor use of time and people. This is especially true when it is done by the lazy.
More often than not, it is done in a carpet bombing fashion, where everyone in the phone book (or everyone on a particular exchange) is called. That’s lazy. Really lazy.
If people used it wisely according to prospect demographics and psychographics, I’d mind it a lot less and it’ll waste a lot fewer hours – much less being far more effective.
Because if I’m the right prospect for that cold call, I might actually be interested. Assuming, of course, that you didn’t interrupt me at the worst possible time. If I do happen to pick up the phone (rare), once in a while I might actually be interested – especially if you put even a little bit of effort into market research before you made the call.
There is more to this than just choosing the right group of people to call. There’s that whole permission marketing thing that Seth Godin talks about. In other words, the Do Not Call list. Twice in the last 3 days, the same vendor has called two of my numbers that are on the Do-Not-Call list.
I understand that registering to use the Do-Not-Call list is expensive for a business that wants to make telemarketing calls. However, it isn’t as expensive as dealing with the FTC when they slap you around for violating the Do-Not-Call law.
Another problem with cold calling is that you haven’t done *anything* to begin to create a relationship when you make that call. Many people detest telemarketing calls, so you risk ticking off that person with your first overt act to contact them.
Some people swear by cold calling, and make no bones about it, in some markets it is very effective. But you won’t catch me doing it. I think it’s idiotic when done poorly. Maybe I just don’t appreciate the lack of effort most businesses put into finding the right people to call.
Cold calling done poorly is harder than selling a comb to a bald guy. If you’re going to do it, at least be smart about it.
I think you can do better.