In my last article I ranked cold calling at the bottom of the list as far as prospecting activities were concerned.
This caused a number of comments which I felt needed to be addressed.
I define a cold call as “calling on someone who doesn’t know you and is not expecting your call or visit.”
Now most experienced salespeople will have their cold calling story of the “big one” they got as a result of cold calling a prospect.  However for every one of those there are 100’s of prospects they burnt along the way as a result of a cold call.
Ask these same successful salespeople if they still cold call and the answer is always no as their business now comes from referrals.  But everyone has to cold call to get started I hear some of you saying.
The answer is that if you don’t have any other prospecting systems, then yes, you will have to cold call when starting out.  The plan then is to have your prospecting plan organised to get enough referrals to fill your diaries.
The punishment for not achieving this is cold calling and if you must do this then only ever cold call “C & D” type prospects  – that way if you burn them you haven’t wasted a major opportunity.
I was reading an article recently by Frank Rumbauskas the author of “Never Cold Call Again” and he mentioned some research by the Keller Research Centre at Baylor University in Texas.   The study was based on a group of 50 experienced and qualified salespeople who made a total of 6,264 phone-based cold calls over a two week period.  And the results were far worse than even he would have expected.  “Dismal” would be a compliment says Frank.

Here’s how it turned out:
72% of the calls were outright rejections.  People saying “no way,” hang-ups and so on
28% of the calls were labelled as “productive”.  These were people who didn’t hang up right away showed some interest, gave a referral, asked to be called at a later time and so on.

But what was most interesting is that the majority of the two week study period was spent working on and following up with this 28% of the list.  The time that went into it was extraordinary and very eye-opening when you see the final results.
That 28% – totalling 1,774 calls, resulted in 19 – yes, that’s NINETEEN  appointments.  Out of a total of 6,264 cold calls made!
The success rate of cold calls to appointments is 0.3% (based on the average closing rate of 20%, that would equate to just under 4 sales, from 6,264 cold calls)
Now that you have heard the horrific numbers experienced during the study, here is the conclusion drawn from it.

Experienced salespeople can expect to spend 7.5 hours of cold calling to get ONE qualified appointment.   That’s an appointment – NOT a sale!  Cold-calling is a numbers game – A BIG numbers game – and one we are bound to loose.

My suggestion is to follow a structured prospecting plan which will lead to the right number of referred leads and sales.

My next article will focus on how to achieve this.

Quote of the Month:
“At the age of three, we all possessed three important skills to make the sale:
Persistence, creativity, and the ability to ask one question after another”
Dirk Zeller

Brett Burgess is a Sales Trainer and Programme Developer for Sales Impact Group.