I could not disagree more strongly with Peter, cold calling is one of the most effective sales tools i have seen, if used correctly! In a world dominated in digital marketing with a million different offers and service providers we can easily forget that people do business with people, people are the ones who make decisions and yes it is personal.
On cold calling in my experience statistically 10% will have absolutely not need for your product or service 10% will definitely have a pressing need for your product or service and 80% will sit with in the range of absolute no to absolute yes. The stats I see most regually with trained sales focus are 50 - 100 conversations : 20 - 40 potential interest : 10 - 20 sales presentations 5 - 10 conversions of sales.
It is important to note different markets have different engagement strategies that will work for them, but fundamentally most people and companies have more problems than they have time to address them and only the most critical (not always most important) get addressed first. Which means right now there are people with problems you can fix they just don't have that challenge as a priority to go and find you (or one or your competitors).
Sales occur when: Problem meets solution in a space and time where the cost of the solution is cheeper than perceived cost of problem.
The challenge with cold calling is....
#1 to actually get the person who is impacted and can make a decision on the other end of the phone.
#2 To connect in such a way that they actually want your solution
I'd also like to respectfully disagree with Peter on the point that once you receive a firm no its more difficult to get to a yes, in my experience I find no a great place to start from... it opens all sorts of possibilities to have sales conversations.... for simple example (assuming there is a slight interest) : Would you like to buy this red car? no... is it the color?, model?, another red car?, would they prefer a bike / plane / Segway?, would they rather rent / lease / hire-purchase, lay-by? not them but their husband / wife / cousin / business / friend? if not the whole car hows about the GPS / tailpipe / fender etc.
Where I will agree with Peter, is that there is a huge need for digital marketing and engagement, when a potential customer does have a problem at the top of their priority list, how do you ensure that your company is the one they call? In saying that if they do call and the person who answers the call doesn't have the skill or are unable to connect their problem with your solution? if this does happen, you won't get their business anyway. Thats why effective marketing strategies have both a pull and push components that are independent but fundamentally drive the same message, while grounded with fundamental sales skills (and telling isn't selling).
One of the fundamental laws in sales is that most customers only buy on the 7th engagement, so even if a customer says no its not always a no, its a "no not now", benefit is if you engage them correctly you...
Increase your knowledge about their business / need, Build your brand, Build Trust, Increase Creditability, Increased their knowledge of the solutions you provide, Move up their list as a potential preferred provider to name just a few.
Before you start at the very very least make sure you have a good e-pitch.