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Tuesday, April 15, 2008

The Death of the Cold Call

You will probably find it worthwhile to visit and sign up for Rich Friedman's e-letter.

In the latest issue of The SMPS Marketer, Rich Friedman. President of Friedman & Partners in the Boston area, makes it clear that you don't build a market for an AEC professional service with cold calls. His points:
  1. Cold calls have a very low ROI

  2. Greater connectivity and technological tools negate the need for cold calls

  3. Cold calls send the wrong message to your staff

  4. Cold calls breed poor BD "hygiene"

  5. Cold calls do a disservice to the industry.
The entire article is posted on his website at (where you can subscribe to a free newsletter, the Friedman File) but I will quote from point 4 to show the thinking here:

Those who engage in cold calls often believe the process is more akin to telemarketing -- the more cold calls you place, the more likely you are to land a lead. But selling professional services entails a much more complex process (thank goodness!) -- one that should rely on the more tried and true process of conducting background research, honing your differentiators, value-add, and elevator speech, and asking probing, open-ended questions to identify what's keeping your target up at night. Engaging in this process has the added benefit of enhancing prospect/client relations.
Absolutely . . .

In the real world, the market for our services is huge in potential volume, but not in potential numbers -- playing the 'numbers game' and 'blasting through lists' is likely to quickly cause you to use up all your potential leads -- and then be left wondering where the potential clients are. Relationships, starting with your existing and former clients, are where you are likely to have the greatest success; and in finding new business, you need to appreciate that few people either want to make -- or receive -- 'cold calls'.


Anonymous said...

Great article. I've run into this with one of my business partners. He swears "cold calling" by visiting construction sites is a great way to make sales, but the few times I tried most people found it VERY annoying.

Construction Marketing Ideas said...

Agreed -- certainly some people believe in 'in your face' marketing -- ie hard-rock telemarketing and canvassing, and there can be times where it makes sense. But I think most people like to choose to do business with people/organizations thorugh referrals or natural processes; and this is achieved by giving/sharing not intruding or pushing.