Relying on Cold Calling Isn’t the Best Sales Prospecting Strategy

Can you rely on cold calling as your one and only prospecting method for driving leads? Yes, you absolutely can. The challenge with that, though, is that whenever you employ just one method of reaching prospects, you are constrained to that method. A salesperson can only make so many phone calls. And, you can only talk to a prospect so often before the contact feels stalked, or worse yet, like the sales rep didn’t listen when told “we aren’t going to make any changes for nine months.”

I like cold calling as an approach. In fact, we require it of any clients for whom we’re running lead generation campaigns. We teach their sales teams how to do effective cold calling in today’s market.

But, I don’t like cold calling as a singular new business development strategy. It’s too limiting.

Multipronged Ubiquity

What I do like is a multipronged, integrated new business development approach that incorporates a number of different lead generation strategies like I’ve written about in my book The Sales Magnet. By using several different strategies, you open up the possibility of your target market seeing you in multiple places – even before they are ready for your services.

You begin to create a sense of ubiquity. You are everywhere.

With a multipronged new business development strategy, prospects can read your blog posts, receive your email campaigns, see press coverage of you in a business journal, get invitations to events that you’re hosting, see flashy marketing emails from you and get your phone calls. They’re not just hearing from you when the CRM reminds your sales rep to call. They see you in different places, at different times, putting you top-of-mind.

You become ubiquitous. And prospects notice you.

Being ubiquitous helps cold calling results, too. It makes it easier for you to gain access to prospects. When prospects have a need, they will think of you first because they keep seeing you.

You now have Recognition ROI because of your ubiquity.

That’s why you should use nurturing and educating as part of your overall new business development strategy and not just rely solely on cold calling. It builds your ubiquity. Calling is simply another aspect of that.

The Engine

Let’s imagine for a moment that you suddenly discover that you need to purchase a new car.

Up until that point your current car was satisfactory. It was running well. You had no problems with it, and you enjoyed it. Then, suddenly you begin to experience engine trouble. Your mechanic delivers the sad news that you need to rebuild the engine – and it’s going to cost you $5,000.

Now, you’re in the market for a new car.

Everywhere you look all you see are commercials and advertisements for new cars and car dealerships. You notice all the people who are driving new cars. You can’t help but open a magazine and soak up every advertisement for a new car.

What’s happening here is not that there is a sudden increase in marketing for new cars. You’re just noticing the ads because now you’re in the market. You aren’t going to wait around for a car dealer to call you because it popped up in their CRM. You’re going to take action.

How Ubiquity Works

That’s how ubiquity works. When prospects realize they have a need for your services, they start paying attention.

Suddenly they’re seeing you everywhere because you’ve been pushing out different types of content, reaching out to them in multiple ways.

They start reading emails that you’re sending. They see your blog posts. They are watching your LinkedIn comments. They notice your Facebook ad. They realize that you’ve invited them to an event.

And when you call, these prospects take the meeting. That is, if the issue isn’t so bad that they haven’t already called you.

Because your target market is bound to have unexpected “engine trouble,” your approach to new business development needs to focus on building your Recognition ROI through ubiquity. Relying on cold calling, or any singular strategy, limits your reach to your prospects and their ability to see you “everywhere.”

You don’t want to limit yourself to just one lead generation strategy. Think about your ubiquity. Start building your Recognition ROI by using multiple approaches to create visibility. And when your prospects’ engines break down, you’ll be top-of-mind.

Kendra Lee is a top IT Seller, Prospect Attraction Expert, author of the award winning books “The Sales Magnet” and “Selling Against the Goal” and president of KLA Group. Specializing in the IT industry, KLA Group works with companies to break in and exceed revenue objectives in the Small and Midmarket Business (SMB) segment.

Are You Leaving Referral Money on the Table?

Your clients love you, right? They rate you highly on their net promoter score survey. They act as references. They provide testimonials. So why don’t all their business partners and colleagues know about you and the great work your company does for them? Why aren’t the referrals flooding in?

Referrals are one of the best ways to get more leads.

When one business owner asks another for a referral to a trusted provider, the new prospect is better qualified than a cold call lead. The referred prospect is further along in their buying cycle. They’ve identified their needs, and they’re looking for the right provider.

Referrals also make easier sales as you don’t encounter the same level of competition as you would with Google searches and AdWords. You’ve been referred by someone who knows you, trusts you and values the services you offer. Your new prospect has a different level of confidence in you – all because you were referred.

Many companies forget the value of their referrals

Every company we talk with about their lead generation strategy acknowledges that their business has grown as a result of referrals. For many of them, referrals are still their No. 1 lead generation strategy because they haven’t figured out how to expand their lead generation. Business owners know that referrals are valuable, but they don’t have a repeatable process to ask for referrals.

Referrals are one of your best sources of leads. They come from someone who loves your work and knows someone who needs services like you offer. So why aren’t you getting more?

Because you didn’t ask. And if you don’t ask for referrals, you’re leaving money on the table.

How to ask for referrals

Don’t wait around for clients to suddenly think about referring you. Your clients aren’t as likely to remember. You should be asking for referrals consistently, and absolutely not less than twice a year – ideally at least four times per year.

To get referrals, build it into your sales and account management processes.

When we’re running lead generation campaigns for clients, we build asking for referrals into every campaign. When we build a sales strategy with clients, we build asking for referrals into key points in the prospecting, sales and account management process.  You want to do the same to be consistent about asking for referrals.

When to ask for referrals

Your consistency is key to keeping you top-of-mind with your clients and making it more likely that they’ll refer you. As you create your referral process, plan when to ask for referrals. Here are three key times:

  1. During business review meetings. By asking every time you have a quarterly or semi-annual business review meeting, you get customers in the habit of thinking about people they can refer you to. Even if they don’t have someone to refer you to when you ask, it keeps you, and your desire to meet more people, on their mind.
  2. After a customer satisfaction survey. Clients who are happiest with you – and have just acknowledged that – are far more likely to refer you to someone. Plan to ask those delighted customers for referrals to others who would value working with you.
  3. After you’ve solved a customer satisfaction issue. I’ve read research citing that a client who had a problem that was resolved is greater than 90% likely to buy from you again. Those clients are thrilled that you solved their problems, and while they may not have someone in mind immediately when you ask, it gets them thinking about it and they may have someone come to mind later.

When you make referral gathering a part of your company culture and part of your sales processes, your sales and services teams will become more comfortable asking for referrals. With consistency, you can create a consistent stream of qualified prospects that are much more likely to buy from you – and stop leaving that money on the table.

If you don’t have referral gathering built into your lead generation, sales and account management process, we can help you do that. If that’s something we should be working on together, contact us and let’s talk about it.

Kendra Lee is a top IT Seller, Prospect Attraction Expert, author of the award winning books “The Sales Magnet” and “Selling Against the Goal” and president of KLA Group. Specializing in the IT industry, KLA Group works with companies to break in and exceed revenue objectives in the Small and Midmarket Business (SMB) segment.

This is the #1 Reason Lead Generation Doesn’t Work


“I am getting a little worried. I’m not getting any results from my lead generation activities.  I’ve done a ton of activities, but all to no avail.  No bites, no sales conversations … nada,” a sales rep lamented to me this week.

I’ve changed my target market. I’ve changed my prospecting activities. Why isn’t lead generation working for me?” She was nearly in tears.

Sound familiar?

Here you are, thinking you or your sales team is doing everything right, but nobody seems interested. Not only are there no new appointments, but prospects aren’t even returning the ninth email or tenth phone call.
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3 Smart Ways to Cold Call and Reach Prospects

This week a question asking my opinion of the value of cold calling reached me through our website Contact Us page. It was phrased this way:

I’ve read a lot of articles that say cold calling is dead. I believe it’s still a valuable prospecting tool to find new opportunities in addition to other approaches.  What are your thoughts on this?

I get asked this question frequently, especially since the subtitle of my book The Sales Magnet is “How to Get More Customers Without Cold Calling.” Does this mean you should stop cold calling? Is cold calling an ancient sales technique to be left behind with the 20th century like the door-to-door encyclopedia salespeople?

Is cold calling dead? My answer is Continue reading…

Email Subject Lines That Get Opened

Email subject lines are tricky. In under 3 seconds your prospects determine if they’re going to open your email – or trash it.

That’s what I call the email delete barrier.

But, the rules of what works and what doesn’t for email subject lines are an ever-changing landscape. Unless you’re following email trends closely, it’s difficult to know when things change.

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10 Fast Prospecting Strategies to Kick-Start 2017

The start of a new year is not just a time for goal setting. It’s also when the sales meter resets, and you find yourself starting all over again with a fresh quota. You need strategies that can help you kick-start the month, put new opportunities in the funnel, and set you up to for a stellar year.

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By Popular Vote: The Top 10 Sales Posts of 2016

This year I blogged a lot about lead generation and marketing because that’s what everyone seemed to be asking us about. But when I looked back over the year and our most popular blog posts, it was the sales articles that won the prize! (This is a great example of why you analyze the results of your marketing, sales and lead generation activities.)

What I’ve concluded is that since you love sales topics, that’s what I should write about – even if we still do a lot of lead generation work for many of you. So, watch for more sales-related blog posts in 2017!

Here’s the list of your favorite blog posts in 2016. If you missed one you can catch it now – or read it again! Then read on for my gift to you to start 2017 with a bang.

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I’m Dreaming of Closed Sales for Christmas

Each year we write a fun sales parody on a holiday classic. This year we’ve chosen one of my favorite songs, A White Christmas. I can just hear Bing Crosby singing it in the movies “Holiday Inn” and “White Christmas.”

Enjoy our spoof, and may your holidays be bright with love, joy – and sales success.

I’m dreaming of a closed sale,
Just like the ones I used to know.
Where I get bountiful commissions,
And clients listen,
To hear their business start to grow.

I’m dreaming of a closed sale,
With every December proposal that I write.
May your year-end quotas be easy and light,
And may all your final sales close tonight.

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Why So Many Sales Reps Fail Before January

You’re in that time of year when you can’t lose sight of your year-end goal. But at the same time, January 1st is just weeks away. And with it comes a fresh sales goal and a big fat zero in the quota attainment column.

You might be thinking to yourself, “I’ll deal with next year in January. I’m too busy to think about it today. Some bluebird opportunity will fly in for me.”

That’s precisely the mentality that causes so many sales reps to fail in January, miss their sales objective, and then continue to fail through the first quarter. In our experience across the many sales reps we’ve coached and trained, if you get behind your sales quota in January, it can take a quarter or longer to catch up.

Some reps never catch up.

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A Client Gift Giving Guide for the Holidays

It’s that time of year where we start planning our holiday greeting card lists and reflecting on what has hopefully been an excellent year. This time of year, I’m often asked if you should give gifts or send cards (or eCards) to your most valued clients and alliance partners.

And, if so – what do you give those clients and partners that mean the most to your business? A standard wine basket? Promotional items?

Gift giving – done well – is personal, as is your decision to do so. Over the years, my approach has been to do what feels right that particular year. Some years, I haven’t done anything. The year my mother passed away in October, the holidays were unbearable, so I didn’t give anything to anybody but my immediate family. Other years, I’ve splurged.

When I give a gift or send a card, it’s because I want to show how much I value that client, employee or partner. It comes from the heart, which might sound odd in business, but this time of year is all about heart, so why not show it?

The best gifts are expressions of you. It’s not the cost of the gift, but the meaning behind it that matters. I usually include a handwritten note or send an email (yes, an email) that shares why I chose that gift. This gives the gift special meaning for clients.

Need a little inspiration for gift ideas that brighten up the holidays for your clients and partners?

These 6 gift ideas come from some of my favorite gifts that I’ve given. Let them inspire your own unique expressions!

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