the joys(?) of cold calling
Last Thursday I blogged about a marketing company who would not stop cold calling me.
I am no stranger to cold calling; it was something that I, along with almost everyone else in sales in those days, did a lot of back in the 1970s. I did some more as recently as 2007 when trying to revive the fortunes of the business unit that I was attached to for nine months or so. Cold calling is a fact of life and it does, sometimes, work.
I can think of a number of times over the years when I have had a need for a product or service that hasn’t been urgent enough to get it to the top of my to do list, but a ‘phone call from a contact has been enough to jolt me into action; the opportunity to maybe just clarify a couple of issues and get an order placed has vindicated the actions of the person who made the call.
But these have been calls from someone that I have met somewhere, possibly at a trade show or event, and there has been at least a tenuous link; you might want to think of it as a luke warm call. However, I can’t think of a single occasion when I have bought something from a completely cold call.
Selling is about relationships and relationships flourish when the people concerned make room for each other. If someone cold calls me and I say no then I mean no. If they leave it there then all is fine, but there are many who have been on the relevant course about “Getting Past No” and push too hard. Most times I’ll just politely terminate the call, but sometimes, if I’m bored or feeling malevolent, I’ll let them run on a bit. Many of the arguments put forward are such blatant fantasy that they have little credibility, but if you try and challenge the thinking you find yourself up against someone who can’t get off script so it really isn’t any fun.
I feel sorry for many of those who are just making scripted calls because they are only trying to make a living, but I have no sympathy with the companies that employ them, especially those that have not done their research. Last year I had a message from someone trying to make an appointment for me to meet the MD of one of the well-known consultancy companies. A possible collaboration I thought, but no, it was a marketing company calling my (consultancy) business to see if I would employ their client.
And then there was the man who rang me to sell me furniture for my new training centre that he’d read about. I asked him what training centre? The press clipping concerned reported that I was one of about eight consultants that BIFM had lined up to help the British Council deliver training in London to the Jordanian government and that the training had been judged a success. If only he had read the article properly…
There will always be a place for cold calling; those who do it will battle through the daily round of rejection to celebrate any successes and good luck to them. Those on the receiving end will learn to deal with the calls. Done well it is a legitimate business tool, but done badly it reflects badly on the people making the calls and, where the callers are a third party, also reflects badly on their client.
If you waste my time I may never buy from you, so please don’t call.