The Cold Call is Dead

Who answers an incoming call unless the caller is known? Answer: Nobody (not you, I, or any prospect). Telemarketing “robo-callers” have turned our phones (home, office, and mobile) into a nuisance! Because of this, the cold call is proving to be less and less successful for salespeople. Mahan Khalsa reports that between 1-2% of cold calls are successfully in gaining an appointment.

Using Email to set appointments? Same deal – diminishing returns. Buyers face increasingly overloaded inboxes. In 2015, over 205 billion emails were sent and received per day. By 2019, this is projected to reach over 246 billion per day. In order to survive, they’ve become black-belt blockers & deleters.

As long as salespeople are in the business of creating new customers, they’ll need creative ways to get in new doors. Relying solely on leads generated from the marketing department is never a good idea – top salespeople independently generate at least 50% of their own opportunities.

Unfortunately, it’s getting harder and harder to get a face-to-face call these days. The traditional tools of salespeople to gain entry just aren’t working as well anymore.

How does a salesperson consistently get in new doors without the cold call?

Let’s start with the perspective of the buyer. Put another way, buyer motivation. Why would a prospect wants to meet with a salesperson when a search box gets them most of the information they need – at the exact time they need it?

Here’s a couple of reasons – both strong psychological motivators for a face-to-face conversation:

1. Buyer Risk

When buyers face uncertainty around how to make an important decision, they’ll be strongly inclined to meet with a salesperson. The avoidance of criticism from higher authority is an incredibly strong human motivator among mid-level employees. In other words, no one wants to make a mistake they could get fired for. And, a search engine only goes so far when learning how to make a high-risk decision. In these scenarios, buyers are looking for a certain persona to meet with – the Educator – who can teach buyers how to make the best decision.

2. Comparative Knowledge

Companies always want to know how they stack up to others around how they get their work done (are we doing things the right way?). That curiosity represents an opportunity for sellers to get in new doors. But, building “comparative knowledge” requires salespeople to take a consultative approach on every call. The information gleaned turns every sales conversation into a valuable equity-building exercise.

More on that last point. Every sales conversation has rich information that can be captured, then leveraged forward. It’s forced savings – put a little money in the bank every week and one day you’ll wake up rich. That’s why top salespeople outperform average sellers by an average of 3x – they constantly deliver insight and teach, often without knowing they’re even doing it! We see this constantly in the field, and it’s why top B2B salespeople earn trust and credibility so quickly with new prospects.

That’s the real value of consultative curiosity on every sales call. Buyers feel listened while sellers gain indirect currency.


To wrap up, there are other reasons why a prospect would want to see a salesperson (example – squeeze a low price out of you so they can leverage a better deal from their current vendor). But I believe the two we’ve discussed stand above the rest.

As we all know, the cold call is dead and it’s getting harder and harder to gain entry. As a result, understanding buyer motivation is a good way to begin creating alternative entry strategies that align with buyer psychology. 

It’s a world of opportunity for those that do.

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