The unavoidable death of the cold call

choose inbound over cold calling

My first “real” job out of college was in the newspaper industry as an outbound sales rep. I was offered the job immediately upon graduating, along with three of my classmates. We had the promise of good pay, consistent work, and decent benefits. You might have heard these same recruiting tactics being used during World War II.

I wore a suit for the first time since my aunt’s second marriage eight years prior, and I learned to tie a half-Windsor the night before so I could look like I know what I’m doing. My doe-eyed, freshly shaved self walked into what I believed at the time I was destined to do: Sell newspaper ad spots.

How did we sell such an outdated form of media? By using an outdated form of selling, of course! And so began my foray into cold calling.

I would cold call nearly 50 businesses everyday.

I was a glorified phone jockey, calling all hours of the day. Out of the 50 businesses, maybe two of them were even slightly interested, or at least were kind enough to not yell expletives and hang up on me. I would have had better luck cold calling every girl in my high school to get a date to the prom my senior year.

I was defeated. Why wasn’t this working? My boss would instruct me to hone my elevator pitch. Ha! Can you imagine being stuck on an elevator with a newspaper salesman? After five seconds, I would be muttering to myself: “Please kill me.”

My elevator pitch kept failing, obviously, so I printed out “motivational” sales tips, such as the seven points of contact, which were devised by a man who drinks 16 shots of espresso every day. These seven points of contact reassured me that cold calling isn’t fruitless, and I just need to call six more times to make a sale.

Yeah, right. If someone called me six more times after I said “no” on the first, they would have a restraining order on the way.

After seven months of me annoying business owners like a pest, and a healthy revelation that I was becoming everything I hate, I left that job.

These days, I’m drinking the inbound marketing kool-aid — and it tastes delicious. If you’re still clinging to outdated marketing practices like cold calling, let’s review a few simple points:

Cold calling does not work

I’m sorry, cold calling does work, but is extremely, hilariously inefficient. The time and money that business owners invest in outside sales is astronomical. Even after all of the training, coaching, and certifications, the sales representatives who cold call are still falling flat on their faces when it comes to bringing in new, worthwhile leads.

Inbound marketing is the antithesis of cold calling

Inbound marketing generates 54 percent more leads than outbound sales. When a business executes an inbound marketing campaign, they are reaching customers in various stages of the buying cycle. Cold calling assumes that the individual is already in the purchasing stage and wants their product right now — which is a gamble at best.

Cold calling ignores content, and you need content to build rapport

The Internet obliterated any trust that individuals have with cold callers. People can look up all the information they need about a product or service online — unlike the 1950s, where all you knew about Hoover vacuums is what the Hoover man told you.

Producing good content allows people to approach your business at their own buying pace. Once they are initially attracted to your brand, you can provide them with educational content (e-books, buyer’s guides, FAQs) to answer any questions they may have. You will continue to nurture the customer throughout the buying stages and end with all of the necessary information for them to make a purchase. This is a nice, leisurely process for everyone involved.

Lastly, for a good laugh, Google “how to get rid of cold callers.” You will see an infinite amount of links where people act as though they have a rat infestation, or they’ve been cursed by an evil cold calling witch.

At AGENCY H, we believe in the philosophy of “out with the old, in with the new.” If you are considering a inbound marketing approach, or have any questions related to inbound marketing, contact us online or give us a call at 816-471-1877. Don’t worry, we know it won’t be a cold call.