Is Cold Calling Dead?
How Charlotte Lloyd, Sales Director at Investment Monitor, views cold calling in today’s sales environment and how to do it right.
Name: Charlotte Lloyd
What She Does: On top of leading sales for Investment Monitor, Charlotte co-hosts her own podcast (Simply Sales and Marketing) and helps sellers transform their cold calling & social selling strategies.
Company: Investment Monitor
How to Connect: Charlotte’s LinkedIn
Let’s start with an obvious (to us) statement: No, cold calling isn’t dead.
If you Google, “Is cold calling dead?” you’ll get a TON of hits:
Not the most positive grouping of questions. But while the public rhetoric on cold calling isn’t great, there’s a fairly large contingent of sales professionals that still heavily rely on cold calling to generate revenue.
One of those people is our guest today, Charlotte Lloyd.
She’s a heavy proponent and practitioner of cold calling and has been for a long time. The difference between Charlotte and the people who call for the death of cold calling lies in a few key traits: approach, mindset, and vision.
We tackle each of the above and more in our conversation with Charlotte. By the end, you’ll be excited to pick up the phone*
* Not guaranteed, but we’re pretty confident
You’ve made a living & career out of cold calling. I think I know the answer already, but I have to ask – is cold calling dead? Why do people keep saying it is?
For the audience that doesn’t think it’s dead, what can they be doing to maximize the value of their calling sessions?
People often associate cold calling with “pushy” salespeople. What are some things you do & recommend to help reps shed that idea?
Cold calling is a lot more than ripping down a list of names – it can (and should) be strategic. How are you systematizing cold calling? What tools are you using to help with that?
Do you have other resource recommendations for improving outbound prospecting?
Top 3 Takeaways
📰 Find something that’s relevant…a news item, and call them up and mention that as soon as you start the call.
Cold calling gets a bad rap for a lot of reasons. Cognism gives a good summary of why people have a generally negative outlook on cold calls:
Many salespeople abuse the liberty to reach out to prospects, pitch too soon and spam the system.
It’s a lack of preparation. Blasting down a list and trying to capture the 2-5% of your audience that’s in-market will surely ruffle some feathers. Instead, Charlotte points to pre-call research as a way to separate the good from the bad.
Not only does researching your prospects before dialing help reps come to the table with relevant information, it often helps SDRs overcome some of the awkwardness and hesitancy around cold calling.
“Some sellers are a little bit shy or feel afraid that they’re hassling the prospect. You’re not.”
It’s a lot easier to feel confident in your outreach if you know why you’re doing it. Why this contact, why this message, why they should care…knowing that is key.
🐸 Eat the frog, as they say, you know, do the hardest things first. It’s all tied into mindset, but also have the discipline to keep going. And everything else will fall into place. So the more you do it, and the more you set aside time to do it, the better you’re going to be.
A lot of reps dread cold calling. But if you can learn to love it, it will become a lucrative activity that you look forward to every day.
One of the ways to make cold calling more palatable is by putting it at the top of your ‘to-do’ list. Commonly known as “eating the frog,” it makes reps start their day with the least pleasant task on their list – much like how eating a frog is unpleasant and something you want to get over with quickly. And the longer you wait, the bigger and slimier it gets.
Get it done and over with, and soon the frog starts looking tasty.
🔀 Multi-channel prospecting. We’ve talked about cold calling, but are you really sending videos and emails? Are you keeping those emails short? Are you reading those emails back before you send them? Would you want to get that email or would you just put it straight in the trash? Get comfortable with social. Start creating content on LinkedIn…
Convinced that cold calling is useful? Great! But don’t put all of your eggs into that basket.
A well-rounded rep uses all of the channels at their disposal – the phone, email, social, video, communities, events…they know where their prospect lives and how to best get in touch with them.
Relying on one channel could alienate a portion of your audience – and that’s never good. Plus, the best reps use other channels to empower their cold calls and make the process easier and more effective.
📚 You can only learn by doing. The more you read about it or try and theorize over it, that’s not going to help.
You know that saying about building the plane while flying? Cold calling fits the bill.
Charlotte argues that the best way to learn about cold calling is to simply jump in and do it. And while that can be disastrous, if you have a strong process and system behind you it could work out really well.
That said, Charlotte did recommend a few books to help with your learning and development:
Building in some thought leadership and best practices will help reps improve upon what they learn on the job. Finding that mix of experience & insight is key.
🗣️ Negative self-talk is dangerous. We tend to talk ourselves out of, ‘I’m not gonna make cold calls today, I’m not gonna be very good, I’m gonna get hung up on, I’m scared to make cold calls, I’m not gonna sell from this cold call, I’m not gonna book enough meetings…’ All of these phrases are very damaging.
It might be cliché, but it’s true. It’s really (really) easy to talk yourself out of making cold calls – after all, you have other channels like email and social you can lean on, right?!
The more you talk yourself out of cold calls, the more that call reluctance turns into call paralysis. And neglecting a channel entirely is a great way of alienating a portion of your audience and setting yourself up for missed quotas and PIPs.
Building confidence as an SDR isn’t easy, but it is doable. Journaling, positive self-talk, and commiserating with other reps are all tactics reps use to quiet that nagging, negative voice in the back of your head.
Hey there! AJ here 👋
I’m a big proponent of cold calling – when it’s done right.
Preparing your prospect/account list, doing preliminary research, and eating the frog are (some of) the right ways of doing it.
Blasting down a list of names with little to no context and hoping to grab the people that are in-market is the wrong way of doing it.
Problem is, that 👆 is the image that people often associate with cold calling.
And reps who don’t know any better do that, fail, and think things like “cold calling is dead” and “maybe sales isn’t for me.”
People like Charlotte are great examples of leaders who have done (and continue to do) it right, and dedicate a portion of their time and personal brand to helping others do the same. And the more we can amplify those voices, the faster we can phase out the old ways of doing things.