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Mr. Tim Williams

The End of Cold Calling

Cold calling has always produced only modest results, and today’s avoidance-enabling technology only makes it easier for prospects to hide from your phone calls and ignore your e-mail. If you feel guilty for not spending enough time cold calling and cold e-mailing, here’s a really good excuse to stop: it doesn’t work.
If agencies spent more time and energy on making and marketing a relevant, differentiated “product,” they could spend a lot less time and energy on trying to sell it. Most of the agencies that constantly kick themselves for not devoting enough effort to “prospecting” are the same ones that have devoted below-average resources to marketing their own brand.
You need a multi-dimensional publicity plan…the only limit is the amount of creativity you apply to marketing your own brand. So, stop thinking sales and start thinking marketing, with how the product (your agency) is positioned in the marketplace.
For additional suggestions, download Ignition Consulting’s  white paper “The End of Cold Calling.”

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Turning cold calls into warm calls

Cold calling is definitely ineffective.

And agencies definitely need to get their own brand positioned and marketed effectively. Selling to folks you don't know, however, can work.

Agency new business development folks need to learn strategies that turn cold calls into warm calls. Strategies that help manage the first 5 minutes of a call so that you have created enough curiosity and AND credibility that the prospect wants to continue the discussion. That takes great skill - but the skill isn't rocket science. The trick - the way the great sales professionals have gotten around the perils and low odds of cold calling is by learning sales skills that help you create curiosity, build credibility and bond with prospects over their problem (not your solution) - the kinds of skills the peak performers are really using in Fortune 100 sales positions (as opposed to the door to door vacumm sales person techniques generally used).

The industry needs to take new business development up a notch by learning broadly how the best sales professionals in other fields are tackling these same issues.
Posted by Mr. Stephen Boehler (Friday, December 19, 2008 10:13 AM)

Probably a popular theory, but not necessarily true

As a new business person, I find that cold calls allow me to find and pick the prospects that are best for my agency. I also find that if you're calling people who need your services, your success rate skyrockets. After all, if you have something they need, they're much more willing to listen. Calling people without a reason, without a story, without a benefit is definitely a waste of time. I agree that cold calls rarely result in a 10 minute AOR win, but they are the beginning of relationships, allow you to tell your story and otherwise position you as a resource to someone who otherwise might never hear about you, or understand what you have to offer. That being said, I  think that productive cold-calling actually is as difficult as rocket science. Making calls that get results takes an awful lot of skill and practice. Most people hate it because they don't know what to do or how to do it.
Posted by Ms. Mary Lorson (Thursday, January 22, 2009 11:46 AM)

Ad Agency New Business Through Social Media

I wholeheartedly agree with Tim. Most agencies that must rely on cold calls don't have a point of differentiation that is appealing to a particular target audience. They don't practice what they preach to their clients.

Cold calling can work. I've had success with it in the past and have been good at it and never minded making these type calls. But, it is not an efficient tactic for agency new business.

There is a definite paradigm shift in the way new business being acquired by ad agencies. Instead of a relationship beginning through a cold call, relationships begin and grow through social media. Prospective agency clients want to work with people that they know, trust and like. Social media provides that kind of platform. Prospects will even initiate the call and when they do, the conversation is much further down the road.

It is possible to have prospects pursuing you.

This is the way that new business is suppose to work and social media teaches ad agencies how they should have been doing new business all along.

Posted by Michael Gass (Saturday, April 04, 2009 4:17 PM)

Cold calling doesn't work if you don't pick up the phone!

Anyone who says they like cold calling is either lying or they've never made a cold call. It's true that the value of a cold call is substantially lower than the value of an inbound inquiry or a strong referral or introduction from someone of influence. It's easy to rationalize that cold calling is not the best investment of agency resources. However outbound calling to a targeted group of pre-qualified prospects is an important activity in any effective business development plan which has strategic grounding. In my experience as a business development consultant, Agency people, like many salespeople in other industries, look for reasons to validate not getting on the phone rather thinking of creative ways to warm up the call. Cold calling doesn't work if you don't pick up the phone.
Posted by Tim Brenton (Wednesday, September 09, 2009 11:39 AM)

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