During coaching sessions I’m often asked about cold calling, and my common response is to not make them. They don’t work as a rule. Since in my experience 80% to 90% of new business comes from clients (in the form of new work or referrals to others), and referrals from other contacts, such as bankers, real estate or insurance agents, friends, neighbors, etc.
So, my friend Mike O’Horo’s recent piece entitled “Cold calls? Well… sort of” on his RainmakerVT website caught my attention. It’s not that O’Horo is endorsing cold calls, and he does raise the question of ethical issues relating to them. But, he does suggest ways to contact what I would call “strangers” or at least non-clients. His idea involves calling the types of clients you would like to represent and seek their opinion on topics of interest (presumably to them) and/or by conducting a survey. If you can get them to talk with you and contribute, you could develop relationships with prospects that might lead to business.
He goes on to suggest 10 ways to prepare for and undertake such “warm calls” as he refers to them. It is an interesting approach and one that could work over time. Clearly, it involves a good deal of effort and commitment.
In any event, I believe that O’Horo would agree that this strategy is not really cold calling, but it isn’t a bad idea, if you have the time and are willing to commit to it. If you don’t, then you might want to stick with spending time building relationships with your clients and other contacts that could send you referrals. IMHO that works much better most of the time.