Still cold calling for B2B lead generation?

in On Marketing To Small Businesses

When I write about touchy subjects, I get angry E-mails.

In July of 2004, I wrote that b2b marketers and salespeople that rely on cold calling are like functional drunks. They don’t grow fully because of it … in the back of their mind they know it is bad for them … yet they manage to survive without too many negative consequences. At least for a little while.

I’m glad old posts never get removed, because I got a “best ever angry E-mail” this afternoon from a guy who will remain anonymous for obvious reasons.

He writes…

“As a recovering alcoholic who lived for years as a functional drunk, I’m mad as hell that you’d lump me in with anyone stupid enough to cold call!”

Talk about making my day! grin

In all fairness, stupid is way overdoing it. Cold calling takes guts. I know. I cut my teeth as a teen selling fire alarms door-to-door during sweltering Baltimore summers. And people who are taking action and are doing anything to engage their market and grow their businesses have my respect. Far too many sit on the sidelines … hoping, wishing, and dreaming.

Anyway…

The truth is that most entrepreneurs, salespeople and business owners who drive sales through cold calling simply don’t know what they don’t know. They see what the competition is doing and copy it. Or they do what they “have always done.” Or they have tried another method of lead generation, couldn’t get it to work and gave up. Whatever the cause, they simply don’t know how to get the many systematic ways there are to generate leads working so that salespeople spend their time selling … not begging someone to let them get in the door in order to have a chance to sell.

When you know how to engineer effective marketing systems, you flip the roles — motivated, qualified prospects chase you instead of you chasing them.

These are all topics — lead generation and business-to-business / b2b marketing (or, my preference, b2e or business-to-entrepreneur marketing) — that I’ll be writing about later this month. If you have any specific questions or comments, now would be a good time to get them in. Oh, and Mr. X, I’d like to thank you for the motivation. wink

P.S. I know I haven’t posted much lately. Mucho changes happening here, including a launch of a new podcast. Details to follow. Stay close.

{ 90 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Rodney September 1, 2012 at 7:34 pm

Cold calling is simply not for everyone. It follows the basic rule in life that you’ve got to love what you do in order to succeed. BUT — how will you succeed if you just do the things you love?

Point is — cold calling is a sure way to get clients. You call them, introduce your business, send them something they can read, and DO FOLLOW UP. When they become your client in that way, you build a relationship that will last.

:)

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2 John Smith February 23, 2012 at 6:48 am

cold calling is not an easy task. It requires lots of patience and great communication skills. As there are chances of call hung up, rude behavior, and many other things that you have to face while performing cold calling. But it can bring profit if done effectively.

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3 Billy January 26, 2012 at 9:06 pm

There is no sure way, or guarantee that you can get a sale. The harder you work, the luckier you get. The more time you spend on learning your product, finding your target market and become a breath of fresh air to your potential clients you will find success.You will find that most people give up because they are negative to start. Cold calling is an art, whether you’re using the phone, or the P2P method. You have to like being outside, you have to love talking to people….you HAVE to not get discouraged! I run into rude and annoyed people all the time, you just have to smile and move on. I will never understand why people just look the other way when I come into the office, like they are so much better than me haha. I make a very nice living and have come to the agreement with myself that people are just ignorant…it’s not their fault they are unhappy with their own lives. I really hope that when you guys read this and if you work in reception or are an admin of some sort, realize we are people too….and if you want help reducing your operational costs in your office, give me a call :)

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4 John June 23, 2011 at 11:29 am

People who have a hard time cold calling or simply think it does not work any more, do not understand how cold calling works or what it takes to make it work effectively.
But of course I may be a tiny bit bias. Great blog. Thanks

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5 Dogs June 4, 2010 at 12:06 pm

Excellent blog. I just like it.

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6 Matthias October 24, 2009 at 6:49 pm

These days cold call in more like cold emailing… I add it as a small but essential part of my overall campaign.

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7 Anonymous October 24, 2009 at 11:16 am

Cold calling is not a nice way to earn a living and having done a little of it myself I really do respect those who rely on it to make a living. I couldn't fact the prospect of having to get up and bombard all of those people with my script in the hope that eventually someone would buy something. I think it take a special kind of salesman top be a success at it. I at least give a little respect to any cold callers that come my way, no matter how little I want to see them.

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8 Agnes July 30, 2009 at 7:09 pm

When you need to get a lead sometimes it is inevitable that you’ll need to cold call.

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9 Agnes July 30, 2009 at 9:09 am

When you need to get a lead sometimes it is inevitable that you’ll need to cold call.

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10 JA July 18, 2009 at 11:34 pm

Nice article. I am a web designer/graphic designer who have tried to get some leads by posting on CL, distributing flyers, business cards and more; and it really has not worked for me with a couple of exceptions. I get most of my business by cold calling and referrals and I know for sure that if I stop cold calling for a week and instead try to get leads by posting on CL or other methods, I will be in trouble. 
I’d absolutely love another way to get business, because cold calling is something I do not enjoy. so if there is anybody out there that can provide a sure way to get business without cold calling, I’d love to hear about it.

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11 Louise Blog June 14, 2009 at 10:10 am

Another great post.  I am becoming a huge fan!

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12 Pille Danach June 10, 2009 at 4:33 am

I listened to a great podcast on cold calls the other day. Here is the link:
http://salesroundup.com/blog/2007/07/cold-calling-sales-methodology-for-getting-the-first-meeting/
The pocast is about getting to the first meeting by using cold calls.

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13 Anonymous May 29, 2009 at 2:00 pm

B2B stand for Businuess to Businuess Marketing. Its very important in the web 2.0. Networking is everything.
Regard your prepaid tarife

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14 Anonymous May 29, 2009 at 9:00 am

B2B stand for Businuess to Businuess Marketing. Its very important in the web 2.0. Networking is everything.

Regard your prepaid tarife

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15 Anonymous May 26, 2009 at 1:40 pm

Nice way to discuss issue of marketing & provides tips, how to survive in market. Keep it in future as well.

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16 Stephanie Adams May 15, 2009 at 5:00 pm

Thank you all for your comments. I am somewhat new to the game, but I am hard at work learning! Is buying “leads” from lead lists and calling them still considered cold calling? Calling people still seems like the most practical way to do things. As much time as i’ve spent hunting ways to advertise on the internet, I could have called at least a thousand people on the phone and got at least several “wins” as opposed to trying to figure out what’s the best legal and ethical way to market on the internet and still haven’t felt like i’m reaching anybody. That’s something to think about.

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17 Stephanie Adams May 15, 2009 at 10:00 pm

Thank you all for your comments. I am somewhat new to the game, but I am hard at work learning! Is buying “leads” from lead lists and calling them still considered cold calling? Calling people still seems like the most practical way to do things. As much time as i’ve spent hunting ways to advertise on the internet, I could have called at least a thousand people on the phone and got at least several “wins” as opposed to trying to figure out what’s the best legal and ethical way to market on the internet and still haven’t felt like i’m reaching anybody. That’s something to think about.

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18 April January 22, 2009 at 7:54 pm

The problem with cold calling is the lack of research before calling, the fact the caller talks to much about the company and what they do before the listener has a reason to listen them or consider them.  Most Sales people are not qualified to cold call!

My name is April Spurling. I am a Marketing and Promotions Professional or in other terms a Professional Corporate Telemarketer. I do get results and more importantly I love what I do! Yes I love cold calling. That being said it needed to change and change I have been developing over the last 15 years because people hate this part of business and its true it Sucks!  But why does it suck? Because it has never been carried out the respectable proper way. I am in the process of writing an E course and a E book on this very subject.

It is not easy by any means and certainly takes guts but raising three teenagers also does! I would like to share with you in the interest of helping businesses in today’s economy if I can, how I am able to get right to decision makers, editors and anyone else my clients need in big big companies that may help you.

1. Research the company and find out who is in charge.

2. Make sure you have a reason to help them (emphasis on help) and make this your focus of the call.

3. Never ever make the call about you or your company, other then what you do to help.

4. You have to be able to say this in a simple, understandable and very short method and ask them for permission to provide them info and ask to follow up. It works!

Hope this helps. And perhaps re-phrasing the word “cold calling” to Business Development might even trick you mind into thinking differently about this rewarding part of business.

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19 Eric January 15, 2009 at 10:52 pm

The book title was an eye opener from a marketing perspective.  It hits on the emotion of Facts verses Feelings.  Who wouldn’t like an actual 4 hour work week?  The book inspires a utopia that is unrealistic for entrepreneurs, but feels like a great way to live ones life.  This fantasy land drives at one of the major issues people dilute themselves about and that is opening a business immediately leads to lots of money and success.  Laziness or lack of responsibility then follows and business owners are wondering why they are not successful.
The Facts are that it takes hard work and endurance to run a business and 4 hours does not get it done.  Thanks Tim.

http://theoctopussolution.blogspot.com/

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20 Anonymous December 16, 2008 at 10:15 am

I too hate this cold calls… That too when we are busy doing something serious or very important thing, if we get a cold call from some reps…. I feel like scolding them like anything. But I never do, bcoz those reps are getting some job opportunity …  so, I always tell them not interested.

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21 Anonymous December 16, 2008 at 3:15 pm

I too hate this cold calls… That too when we are busy doing something serious or very important thing, if we get a cold call from some reps…. I feel like scolding them like anything. But I never do, bcoz those reps are getting some job opportunity …  so, I always tell them not interested.

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22 Anonymous December 7, 2008 at 10:03 pm

Where else could anyone get hat kind of information in such a perfect way of presentation.

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23 Anonymous December 7, 2008 at 12:03 pm

Where else could anyone get hat kind of information in such a perfect way of presentation.

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24 Anonymous November 15, 2008 at 2:22 am

Well, this is quite an interesting article, written by heart, I would assume..
Good work!

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25 Anonymous November 14, 2008 at 4:22 pm

Well, this is quite an interesting article, written by heart, I would assume..
Good work!

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26 Anonymous November 12, 2008 at 9:17 am

This is a very good article.

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27 Anonymous November 11, 2008 at 11:17 pm

This is a very good article.

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28 Anonymous November 6, 2008 at 8:19 pm

What an interesting article..Great ideas written by a great man. Good work!

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29 Anonymous November 6, 2008 at 10:19 am

What an interesting article..Great ideas written by a great man. Good work!

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30 Anonymous November 2, 2008 at 8:36 am

Wow… Quite an email.  I always hated cold calling, to the point I would find anything to take its place.  Eventually I stumbled across marketing, particularly marketing designed to drive lead generation.  Once the leads were calling me, I gave up cold calling all together.  What a good feeling. 
- John
http://www.sbimonline.com

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31 Anonymous October 30, 2008 at 2:01 pm

I really appriciate what you have written..
thank you very much..

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32 Anonymous October 30, 2008 at 4:01 am

I really appriciate what you have written..
thank you very much..

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33 Anonymous October 30, 2008 at 4:00 am

Very nice discussion sir…
thank you very much..
Regards,
<a >Forex tips

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34 Anonymous October 21, 2008 at 4:11 pm

That’s really interesting, Thanks for the article.

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35 Anonymous October 21, 2008 at 6:11 am

That’s really interesting, Thanks for the article.

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36 Anonymous October 20, 2008 at 6:55 pm

Really good to see. I’m always with you.

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37 Anonymous October 20, 2008 at 8:55 am

Really good to see. I’m always with you.

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38 Anonymous October 19, 2008 at 6:42 am

I have read a several blog of Michael. Definitely i agree with his argument.It’s a great idea.

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39 Anonymous September 25, 2008 at 4:02 pm

Hi Michael i agree and appreciate you.

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40 Anonymous September 25, 2008 at 6:02 am

Hi Michael i agree and appreciate you.

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41 Anonymous September 5, 2008 at 4:28 pm

That is really a Nice Blog . But if you looking for Cold Calling . Here is a Blog where you get lots of Points about your Success .

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42 Anonymous September 5, 2008 at 6:28 am

That is really a Nice Blog . But if you looking for Cold Calling . Here is a Blog where you get lots of Points about your Success .

Reply

43 Anonymous August 19, 2008 at 12:11 pm

The fact that cold calling has such a low success rate is a problem if you have limited time or resources available.  In my utopia, my product is so good that customers are cold calling me to buy.  Hopefully I can get there someday!

Nice article!

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44 Anonymous August 19, 2008 at 5:11 pm

The fact that cold calling has such a low success rate is a problem if you have limited time or resources available.  In my utopia, my product is so good that customers are cold calling me to buy.  Hopefully I can get there someday!
Nice article!

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45 Anonymous August 5, 2008 at 8:27 am

Yeah, i can identify with that, your idea seems completely reasonable to me.

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46 Anonymous August 4, 2008 at 10:27 pm

Yeah, i can identify with that, your idea seems completely reasonable to me.

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47 Anonymous July 31, 2008 at 6:12 am

Blogging might be the new lead generation :D

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48 Anonymous July 30, 2008 at 8:12 pm

Blogging might be the new lead generation :D

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49 Anonymous July 27, 2008 at 5:21 am

Cold calling can be tricky now a days with the advent of no call lists.  You can be in serious trouble with your company, if not the law, if you are cold calling people who have signed up for the no call list.

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50 Anonymous July 27, 2008 at 10:21 am

Cold calling can be tricky now a days with the advent of no call lists.  You can be in serious trouble with your company, if not the law, if you are cold calling people who have signed up for the no call list.

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51 Anonymous July 24, 2008 at 5:24 pm

Thanks for the article.. Much appreciated//

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52 Anonymous July 24, 2008 at 7:24 am

Thanks for the article.. Much appreciated//

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53 Anonymous July 15, 2008 at 9:33 pm

cold calling is one of the hardest ways to make a living, but it can also be very effective if you have the right person doing it.  The hard part is that only 5% of people out there can do it effectively and keep doing it over a long period of time.

People that complain about it are usually the guys that can’t do it so they say it doesn’t work.  It works, but I agree there can be better ways of generating leads.

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54 Anonymous July 16, 2008 at 2:33 am

cold calling is one of the hardest ways to make a living, but it can also be very effective if you have the right person doing it.  The hard part is that only 5% of people out there can do it effectively and keep doing it over a long period of time.
People that complain about it are usually the guys that can’t do it so they say it doesn’t work.  It works, but I agree there can be better ways of generating leads.

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55 Anonymous July 1, 2008 at 8:45 am

Cold calling should be avoided.Because people may feel irretated to attend these type of calls.Better the reps may meet the customers in person and do their business.This is my kind advice to the reps.
Thanks
http://www.theclickdepot.com/

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56 Anonymous July 1, 2008 at 1:45 pm

Cold calling should be avoided.Because people may feel irretated to attend these type of calls.Better the reps may meet the customers in person and do their business.This is my kind advice to the reps.
Thanks
http://www.theclickdepot.com/

Reply

57 Anonymous July 1, 2008 at 1:37 pm

Cold calling should be avoided .Most of the people get irretated by these calls.I do agree that This is also a business which makes some people survive in the society. But many feels difficulty in this.
Thanks

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58 Anonymous June 29, 2008 at 2:32 pm

I do not care what anyone says!!  Cold calling is here to stay. There is no other way which a person can create more one on one conversation so quickly.

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59 Anonymous June 29, 2008 at 7:32 pm

I do not care what anyone says!!  Cold calling is here to stay. There is no other way which a person can create more one on one conversation so quickly.

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60 Anonymous June 24, 2008 at 2:16 pm

For b2b startups, can’t help but do some cold calling.

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61 Anonymous June 24, 2008 at 9:15 am

cold calling works wonders, especially when you have a good list of old folks to call… they’re just eagerly waiting for someone… anyone to talk to… and some are cashed up too!

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62 Anonymous June 24, 2008 at 2:15 pm

cold calling works wonders, especially when you have a good list of old folks to call… they’re just eagerly waiting for someone… anyone to talk to… and some are cashed up too!

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63 Anonymous June 24, 2008 at 4:16 am

For b2b startups, can’t help but do some cold calling.

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64 Anonymous June 20, 2008 at 6:46 am

Cold calling is like eating your vegetables.  It’s that simple.
If you don’t like cold calling, your problem is that you just aren’t having any fun!  Start making it fun and your sales will start to grow.  If not, the only person you have to blame for your weak numbers is yourself.
As Jeffery Gitomer accurately points out, the first step is to kick your own but and hold yourself accountable for making things happen.  It’s your commission and the hard working people at your company that lose if you don’t cold call.  Your competition is loving the fact that you’re spinning your wheels.

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65 Anonymous June 19, 2008 at 8:46 pm

Cold calling is like eating your vegetables.  It’s that simple.
If you don’t like cold calling, your problem is that you just aren’t having any fun!  Start making it fun and your sales will start to grow.  If not, the only person you have to blame for your weak numbers is yourself.
As Jeffery Gitomer accurately points out, the first step is to kick your own but and hold yourself accountable for making things happen.  It’s your commission and the hard working people at your company that lose if you don’t cold call.  Your competition is loving the fact that you’re spinning your wheels.

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66 Anonymous May 19, 2008 at 4:13 pm

Cold calling should be avoided altogether.  It seems to be a very bad way to market, you want to give a good image of your company, and cold calling gives a poor image.

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67 Anonymous May 19, 2008 at 9:13 pm

Cold calling should be avoided altogether.  It seems to be a very bad way to market, you want to give a good image of your company, and cold calling gives a poor image.

Reply

68 Anonymous May 1, 2008 at 10:39 pm

I too hate this cold calls… That too when we are busy doing something serious or very important thing, if we get a cold call from some reps…. I feel like scolding them like anything. But I never do, bcoz those reps are getting some job opportunity …  so, I always tell them not interested…..

Reply

69 Anonymous May 1, 2008 at 12:39 pm

I too hate this cold calls… That too when we are busy doing something serious or very important thing, if we get a cold call from some reps…. I feel like scolding them like anything. But I never do, bcoz those reps are getting some job opportunity …  so, I always tell them not interested…..

Reply

70 Anonymous April 25, 2008 at 2:55 am

For b2b startups, can’t help but do some cold calling.

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71 Anonymous April 24, 2008 at 4:55 pm

For b2b startups, can’t help but do some cold calling.

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72 Anonymous April 12, 2008 at 2:21 am

We always receive angry letters for the truth. Personally I in many respects agree with the author.

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73 Anonymous April 11, 2008 at 4:21 pm

We always receive angry letters for the truth. Personally I in many respects agree with the author.

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74 Anonymous April 8, 2008 at 7:01 pm

Interesting post, thank you!

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75 Anonymous April 8, 2008 at 9:02 am

I was interested with this theme, shall probably develop it on the блоге, thanks for idea!

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76 Anonymous April 8, 2008 at 9:01 am

Interesting post, thank you!

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77 Anonymous March 9, 2008 at 1:35 am

These days cold call in more like cold emailing… I add it as a small but essential part of my overall campaign.  There are several good articals in it here…. http://www.ambitiousenergy.com

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78 Anonymous March 9, 2008 at 6:35 am

These days cold call in more like cold emailing… I add it as a small but essential part of my overall campaign.  There are several good articals in it here…. http://www.ambitiousenergy.com

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79 Anonymous March 7, 2008 at 7:47 pm

I think cold calling for certain businesses is crucial and some is a waste. I always start with a cold call to a business and then follow up with a walk in. It seems to get the appointments.

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80 Anonymous March 8, 2008 at 12:47 am

I think cold calling for certain businesses is crucial and some is a waste. I always start with a cold call to a business and then follow up with a walk in. It seems to get the appointments.

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81 Anonymous February 17, 2008 at 10:10 pm

Cold calling without question is the most brutal part of sales and business. Although the people who master the skill are always at the top of their industries!!
I do not like though I cold often to keep my skills high.
I know it is tough though learn to cold call anyways!
Tony Snow
http://www.ambetenergy.com

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82 Anonymous February 17, 2008 at 12:10 pm

Cold calling without question is the most brutal part of sales and business. Although the people who master the skill are always at the top of their industries!!
I do not like though I cold often to keep my skills high.
I know it is tough though learn to cold call anyways!
Tony Snow
http://www.ambetenergy.com

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83 Anonymous January 8, 2008 at 5:55 pm

Yes…Cold calling can be really ‘stupid’…especially when reps do it “because they have to.”
Traditional cold calling is a miserable concept, sort of like intentionally walking across a busy highway to see if the corner convenient store is open so that you can buy the winning lottery ticket.
There is a way to turn the process more into a winning game, though.  Don’t actually position the process (in your mind) as ‘cold calling’ at all.  If you position this process more as a part of your prospect research phase, you can ensure that it is not only productive, but it can also become a great way to network.
Check out the article that discusses how to appeal to your prospect’s inherant desire to help.  It works!
http://www.salesracehorses.com/blog/unique-cold-calling-technique-helps-increase-prospecting-success/7/

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84 Anonymous January 8, 2008 at 7:55 am

Yes…Cold calling can be really ‘stupid’…especially when reps do it “because they have to.”
Traditional cold calling is a miserable concept, sort of like intentionally walking across a busy highway to see if the corner convenient store is open so that you can buy the winning lottery ticket.
There is a way to turn the process more into a winning game, though.  Don’t actually position the process (in your mind) as ‘cold calling’ at all.  If you position this process more as a part of your prospect research phase, you can ensure that it is not only productive, but it can also become a great way to network.
Check out the article that discusses how to appeal to your prospect’s inherant desire to help.  It works!
http://www.salesracehorses.com/blog/unique-cold-c

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85 Anonymous December 8, 2007 at 12:06 pm

the best joke of the year!

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86 Anonymous December 8, 2007 at 2:06 am

the best joke of the year!

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87 Anonymous June 19, 2007 at 9:07 pm

Hi Michael,
I agree – cold calling has got to be one of the most difficult ways to make a living. Sometimes you’re successful, but most of the time people are genuinely irritated by cold calling and may yell and/or hand up on you. All in all, most experiences with cold calling are not pleasant.
I, myself, am not comfortable with cold calling, so when I was in the formative years of my business—building clientele—I looked for advice for building a business and I found http://www.breakthroughbusinessdevelopment.com. They promote business by referral – never cold calling. For example: if you have a client appreciation event, invite your clients to bring someone with them and establish a rapport with their guest. They also had a lot of ideas about how to build your business, in general.
For more information, check out http://www.breakthroughbusinessdevelopment.com.

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88 Anonymous June 20, 2007 at 2:07 am

Hi Michael,
I agree – cold calling has got to be one of the most difficult ways to make a living. Sometimes you’re successful, but most of the time people are genuinely irritated by cold calling and may yell and/or hand up on you. All in all, most experiences with cold calling are not pleasant.
I, myself, am not comfortable with cold calling, so when I was in the formative years of my business—building clientele—I looked for advice for building a business and I found http://www.breakthroughbusinessdevelopment.com. They promote business by referral – never cold calling. For example: if you have a client appreciation event, invite your clients to bring someone with them and establish a rapport with their guest. They also had a lot of ideas about how to build your business, in general.
For more information, check out http://www.breakthroughbusinessdevelopment.com.

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89 Anonymous June 4, 2007 at 12:49 pm

The best b2b marketers have flipped it and get the qualified prospects to chase them. Statistic point to the fact that more than 70% of business these days is done through referral. Think about it. How many times do you open the phone book and call a plumber? You don’t. Entrepreneurs tend to forget this in the flush of focusing on marketing. The quick solution seems to be get sales up. Cold call. Rather than keeping an ongoing focus on what works and why. In the face of closing the month behind, most people resort to activity. It makes them feel like they’re making progress.

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90 Anonymous June 4, 2007 at 5:49 pm

The best b2b marketers have flipped it and get the qualified prospects to chase them. Statistic point to the fact that more than 70% of business these days is done through referral. Think about it. How many times do you open the phone book and call a plumber? You don’t. Entrepreneurs tend to forget this in the flush of focusing on marketing. The quick solution seems to be get sales up. Cold call. Rather than keeping an ongoing focus on what works and why. In the face of closing the month behind, most people resort to activity. It makes them feel like they’re making progress.

Reply

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