I don't know about you, but I am tired of the whining and excuse-making.

  • “Selling is SO hard these days.”
  • “I can’t get anybody to take a meeting.”
  • “They don’t even open my email.”
  • “Nobody will answer their phone.”
  • “I don’t think they even listen to voicemail.”
  • “Even when I connect with someone, they ghost me.”

Most producers struggle with prospecting discipline, and salespeople have always been reluctant to pick up the phone and make a cold call. And now, with the “cold calling is dead" proclamations, they feel like they have been given a free pass to stop dialing.

Dude, your pipeline is still empty! But there you stand in all your self-righteousness, refusing to pick up the phone.

Of course it's hard!

Selling has never been easy! It’s why successful salespeople are paid so well. And yes, it’s all harder than it used to be.

  • It’s harder to sell.
  • It’s harder to get a meeting.
  • It’s harder to get someone even to acknowledge your existence.

You know what? Get the hell over it!

Quit the damn whining and celebrate the fact that it’s so difficult.

Let your competition believe the headlines

We’ve all read the "cold calling is dead" proclamations; the so-called pundits keep telling us that the ONLY successful prospecting results from networking and referral introductions. Sure, I see where they're coming from, but I think this message is mainly promoted by salespeople looking for an excuse not to cold call.

Either that or it comes from sales leaders who don’t know how to train their team to get beyond the challenge.

Cold calling can still work

I would NEVER argue that cold calling is the ideal approach (ask any of the producers I coach how much emphasis we place on client referrals). Still, I see salespeople having cold call success every day. Hell, one of the producers I coach has his best success – get this – knocking on doors and introducing himself. How unbelievable is that?!

  • Is cold calling the ideal way to fill the pipeline? Hell no!
  • Is it more difficult than ever before? HELL YES!

Defining Your Business Brand 

Believe it or not, this post isn’t really about cold calling

And it isn't about the individual producer but the organization behind that producer.

Many organizations are struggling with prospecting and sales because they fail to recognize or appreciate how drastically the sales process has changed. Because of access to online information, salespeople have been largely gutted of their value, and some of their prospects understand their product better than they do.

The sales process is now less about sales and more about the buyer's journey, a journey controlled and driven by the buyer.

Today, the buyer reigns supreme.

If you want to grow, you better become a part of that journey WAY before your salespeople contact those prospects.

Marketing is the newest fad—that’s here to stay

The marketing department of today's organizations makes at least as significant a contribution to growth as the sales team.

Your marketing team (or whoever is doing your marketing) must know and understand:

  • Your ideal client profile
  • The individual buyer personas within that ideal client profile
  • Challenges those companies/personas have and are looking for answers to
  • The phases through which those personas travel to reach purchase decisions
  • Where your buyers go to research their challenges
  • How to craft and promote content to address each of those concerns at each step of the process

That is an organization that is going to grow!

Back to the “cold calling is dead” proclamation

The type of organization I described will have prospects lining up and knocking at THEIR door. But, if a salesperson backed up with this type of marketing support, made a cold call, and could point back to this type of buyer-sensitive, educational information for validation, I promise they will set appointments and write new business.

All of the bitching and whining about cold calling distracts you from the real issue. The question of networking versus cold calling is an issue that is way too far down the funnel to be the relevant question. The real question is,

“How will you ensure you will be discovered as your prospects seek help?”

The value proposition, educational marketing, buyer awareness, and social engagement of the organization will have the most significant impact on whether the networking introduction or cold calling proves productive.

Pass the baton

Of course, once the (intro, cold call, or inbound) connection is made, there needs to be a buyer-focused sales process through which the salesperson accepts the baton from marketing and continues down a path that leads to better buying decisions for the prospect.

Start obsessing

EVERYTHING you think about, write about, talk about, and do have to be focused on your buyer's needs. If this is how you present yourself, prospects will WANT to meet with you, whether they are introduced to you by a friend or whether they happen to pick up the phone when you call.

So, put on your big boy/girl pants. Stop the whining, stop hiding behind pathetic excuses, own up to the work you need to do, and get it done.


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Photo by antoniodiaz