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David Mills
By David Mills on May 23, 2023

How Cold Visits and Calls Burn Out Salespeople

What used to be our stand-by approaches have changed. If you’re relying on old-school sales tactics like spreadsheets, cold visits, and cold telephone calls, you may be burning out your salespeople and your reputation at the same time. Every time you get one of those vendor cold calls, there is a salesperson on the other end who feels just like you do about how much making these calls sucks.

Four Reasons you should ditch the cold call

The idea of face-to-face or today's camera-to-camera selling comes from the classic good advice about the value of face time with prospects. Zig Ziglar says it this way, "People buy from people they know, like, and trust." But it's obvious to everyone that the nature and frequency of belly-to-belly interactions have changed. With trade shows just starting to come back, it can be tempting to rely on methods that skip the vital process of building relationships.

1. Cold calling is a bit outdated, you know? 

It seems like people are becoming more cautious about answering calls from unknown numbers and even get a bit scared when they receive calls from familiar business numbers. You've no doubt been on the receiving end of phone calls you wish you hadn't answered.

When it comes to contacting business clients, things have gotten trickier. Dealing with extensions, voicemails, and different operating systems can be quite a hassle. Many folks are hesitant to share direct phone lines and would rather communicate through email. With so many communication options available nowadays, cold calling just doesn't seem as creative or effective as it used to be.

If you aren’t calling and you just drop by, then it causes people to wonder. When you simply show up without any previous interaction, it can feel intrusive and unwelcome. Unexpectedly showing up without prior arrangement might disrupt someone's day and give off a pushy vibe. We want to make sure our interactions are welcomed and respectful.

Employees at the location where you visit will probably ask, “Did you have an appointment?,” or “Are they expecting you?” They’ll wonder whether you’ve ever heard of Google Calendar.

The classic belly-to-belly approach from legendary sales trainers is a good one - but only if you have a pre-existing relationship or an expected encounter location like a trade show.

And we all withdrew during COVID...

Here’s another reason why cold visits and calls aren’t working - people shrunk their circles during COVID. They are simply less socially outgoing and are very likely going to be more than just surprised that you just dropped by. Networking events and trade shows are a bright light about returning to normal, but we can get stuck in methods that are truly out of date.

2. Cold Calling is really not effective:

Did you know that back in 2007, it only took around 3.68 cold call attempts to reach a prospect? Well, times have changed! Nowadays, it takes an average of 8 attempts to get through to someone. It just goes to show that people are busier than ever and have more ways to filter out unwanted calls. On average, salespeople tend to make just 2 attempts to reach a prospect. 

That’s about 4X too weak to make a successful contact. (Source: Telenet and Ovation Sales Group)

You know what they say, time is precious, especially for businesses. They really need to make every minute count. In fact, the average sales representative spends around 6 hours making over 8 dials per hour just to secure a single appointment. That's a lot of effort for minimal results.

You can also do that math on cold calling. If you pay someone $20 per hour it could be costing you $120 per appointment, and if your close rate is 25% on those meetings (for those who show up), it is costing you $500 or more per lead on top of what you may have spent on marketing, advertising, and the labor to actually close the sale. 

The cost to your human capital and your brand capital can also be substantial. 

When it comes to cold calling, it's a big time sink. Just think about all the things the caller has to endure:

  • Endless ringing of phones
  • Annoying dial tones
  • Obstacles from gatekeepers
  • Listening to voicemail recordings
  • Dealing with directory messages
  • Unexpected dropped calls and disconnects
  • Various technical issues

Considering the industry statistics, cold calls only have a measly 2% success rate. Let's face it, that's hardly a recipe for sales success, right?

3. It’s super irritating

In today's world, where brands seem to be everywhere thanks to modern technology, customers are relying more on reputation to make their choices. Building goodwill has become crucial in the current business climate, and unfortunately, cold calls have the potential to damage that goodwill.

Talk with us about how to turn cold calls into warm leads

By their very nature, cold calls are disruptive. They interrupt recipients in the midst of their busy days and momentarily put them on edge. Why is someone calling me? Is there a problem I should be aware of? And how does this interaction actually benefit me?

Even if you have something valuable to offer during the call, the initial impression is often one of frustration or alarm.

4. Cold Calls frustrate those on the receiving end

On top of that, cold calling takes a toll on employees. It can be emotionally draining for them, as they understand the annoyance that comes with receiving such calls. With each call they make, they feel the inconvenience they're causing and brace themselves for potential customer backlash.

This quickly leads to burnout and high turnover rates. Employees who are tasked with cold calling day in and day out experience mental fatigue and a drop in productivity. They end up feeling like their emotional efforts are being wasted on unproductive and monotonous tasks.

When it comes to marketing strategies, there are outbound or push strategies where the business initiates contact with potential customers. Cold calling is a prime example of such a strategy, along with others like direct mail and TV ads.

So what do you do instead of cold calling?

Answer: Try the Warm Belly Approach

A warm sales call is when you reach out to someone who already has some interest or connection with what you're selling. It's like calling someone who has already shown interest in your stuff, maybe by signing up for updates, checking out your content, or even being referred by someone they trust.

The cool thing about a warm sales call is that there's already some level of relationship or engagement going on. It's not like you're randomly interrupting their day. They've already shown some interest or familiarity with what you're offering, so they're more likely to be open to your call.

When you make a warm sales call, you can build on that existing connection. You can customize your approach based on what they've already shown interest in or what they might need. It's a way to have a more relaxed and receptive conversation, increasing your chances of a positive outcome.

Warm calling (or visits) move you back into what makes the classic "belly-to-belly" sales so effective- a relationship.

Talk with us about how to set up an effective warm call strategy to close more sales and keep your sales team energized.

Published by David Mills May 23, 2023
David Mills