Cold-calling is a waste of time

The quest for finding new clients and increasing sales is a reality for any commercial business. There are many different ways to attract new clients to our business. The practice of cold-calling has been and still is part of the sales strategy of most businesses. But is this practice worth our while?

Cold-calling can be perceived as a waste of time for the following reasons:

  • The client receives an unsolicited and unexpected contact (e-mail, phone call, sales visit).
  • Clients might be contacted who are not in the target market of the business – a waste of effort and money.
  • It destroys the “status” of the sales person as a “business equal” of the client.
  • Valuable time is wasted because the success rate is very low (less than 1 to 5% in most cases).
  • It puts the sales person on the back foot, as the client will, in most cases, be uncomfortable with the unsolicited contact.

The perfect sales scenario: When a client has a need for our product/service and we are present in that moment to solve the need.

The following client procurement practices are proven to be more productive than cold-calling:

As business owner you firstly need to identify the niche target market most likely to buy your product or service.

The second step is to develop a marketing mix of elements that complement one another and ultimately lead to a directed call to action.

The marketing mix may include one or more of the following elements, depending on the allocated marketing budget:

  • Radio advertisement(s) – call to action directed at telephone number, e-mail or website
  • Advertising – call to action directed at telephone number, e-mail or website
  • Public relations – vest yourself as a knowledge resource and solution to (a) specific client need(s) – call to action is usually not allowed, but you will be recognised as the author of the content, linking it back to your brand and business name.
  • Client events – vest yourself as a knowledge resource and solution to (a) specific client need(s) – call to action can be directed at you, telephone number, e-mail or website.
  • Website – the basic elements to be included in any website should be:
    • What we do and who we are.
    • How we can resolve your need as client.
    • Where you can get hold of me/us.
  • Google AdWords – bid on words and phrases that speak to client needs and direct enquiries to the contact number or e-mail of the business.
  • Campaign pages – develop a single webpage (hosted on the back of your website, not part of the visible navigation) which addresses a single client need and positions your solution. The call to action is directed to the telephone number and e-mail address of the business.
  • Email campaigns – work with pre-selected and targeted datasets which are POPI compliant (i.e. clients gave permission to be contacted). The focus is on a client need and how you can resolve it.
  • LinkedIn – repurpose the articles which you wrote for Public Relations application and post it on the LinkedIn page of your business.
  • Blog – the same content used for LinkedIn can also be published here. The underlying assumption is that people use different media and communication platforms to inform themselves.

The underlying philosophy is to apply procurement practices which will result in (a) qualified clients and (b) solvable needs.

Some food for thought – The definitions of “Buying” and “Selling” as presented by Frank J. Rumbauskas Jr. (American author, businessman, and satirist).

Buying: The act of willingly acquiring for money something that you want or need. The buyer generally leaves the transaction feeling happy and satisfied.

Selling: Attempting to convince another that they want or need your product or service despite the fact that they may not. The purchaser typically leaves the transaction with a strong feeling of “buyer’s remorse”.

To support business owners with the important task of business planning, Sanlam gives you free access to the book Your Annual Business Game Plan for Success, which provides an easy and straightforward framework needed to draft a well-crafted game plan that will create the positive change and growth necessary for business success.

Go to to download your free copy.

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