Cold calling is the sales practice of contacting target customers with whom you have no prior relationship or personal contacts or references to leverage. Within marketing and sales, cold calling falls into a category of activities called “lead generation.”

From a sales perspective, cold calling presents one of the greatest challenges because the chances of success are lesser than in those cases where you can benefit from referrals or personal relationships. However, for new businesses, especially those attempting to grow outside their geographical home market or enter a different industry, there is often no alternative to cold calling for lead generation.

Typical results from cold calls

The following metrics illustrate what business-to-business cold calling typically involves— and the results you can expect.

Activity   Typical metric
 Maximum number of cold calls (“dials”) from one individual in a day:  80
 From those 80 calls, number of voice messages left:  40
 From those 40 voice messages, number of calls returned:  1
 From those 80 calls, number of conversations held:  15
 Number of calls needed to reach a potential customer:  5–6
 Number of “not interested” responses:  13
 Number of meetings booked:  1–2
 Number of orders generated over a year:  15–20










The numbers above may seem low, but if the product is a big-ticket item, then 15 to 20 orders may be considered a success. More than anything, what these numbers show is that persistence is essential to succeed when undertaking cold calls. To understand how to further develop effective practices, read the article entitled  Cold calling: Nine effective steps.

Finally, if identifying your target customer and booking a meeting can be done through a fairly straightforward process, consider hiring a third-party call-centre/telemarketing firm to contact potential customers and book the meetings for you.

This will require that you complete steps 2 and 3 of our nine-step list for effective cold calling and develop a phone script based on your elevator pitch that the call-centre staff can use when booking meetings. In this way, you can focus your time on attending meetings and developing personal relationships.

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