Witnessing Cold Calling From a Facebook Post

Part of my normal morning routine includes a quick scan of the social networks.

I get to see what is going on in the world (news), as well as the normal rants, raves and shares that comes from having a healthy and diverse network.

It is kind of like Leno’s “Mailbag.”

When I go through the networks I am sure to pull out at least a few great tidbits as well as some silliness and a sprinkle of pure stupidity.

Today’s “Mailbag” item came from Sean McGinnis when he ranted about a salesperson who cold e-mailed him looking for the name and contact info of the person at his company (Sears) that handles their content Marketing.

[Sean’s Facebook post can be found here]

More or less Sean pointed out his disdain and utter surprise that anyone would ask him this question out of the blue.

While I personally agreed for reasons to be named later, the comments weren’t all supportive for his sentiment on the issue. In fact, a lot of people thought it was more purposeful to go ahead and provide the info to the person rather than taking the time to write an online diatribe on your Facebook page.

The Problem With “Cold Calling” and this Particular Request

There are a lot of reasons people don’t like cold calling. However, for anyone that leads a business of any type, we all love the hunters that are successful at doing it.

That is because cold calling is hard. It takes courage to try to sell something to a stranger and for a long time this method was the best way to reach beyond your immediate network.

So in spirit I don’t have much of a problem with cold calling. It is a tried and true method for reaching new audiences.

The problem I have today is that there are so many other ways to reach your “Cold” targets that are, well, less cold.

Sean didn’t know this guy from Adam, and he states just that. But the request is so direct, and doesn’t even outline a benefit or two for helping make the connection.

It just blows my mind in today’s connected world that we would still ask in this form.

The Power of the Human Network

In the title of this post I make a pretty strong claim…

“Cold Calling is Dead”

Well I included a much needed almost, because there are circumstances where i am all but certain that cold calling is required.

However, in the world we live in, there are way too many means to connect to your target audience that don’t require such direct and unsolicited requests to reach your potential client base.

Just this morning I read a great post on Mark Schaefer’s blog about how they used content marketing and social media to target an account and generate $47 million dollars in new business.

And while this story is probably the exception more than the rule, the basis of the story was a relationship that had dried up and required a new approach.

That is exactly how I feel about cold calling, especially in B2B.

The decision makers today tend to have such robust networks, that your “Cold Request” isn’t going to work.

It doesn’t work with job seeking anymore and it won’t work with sales calling like it once did.

That is because people will turn to their networks when they have a need. And being that we are often one or two degrees away from tens of thousands of people, we will likely go to a trusted referral from our network long before we hire the person that cold called us.

So don’t give up on cold calling. Because as long as you are busy doing that, it will give the rest of us time to keep building up the human network and developing real relationships that drive real results.