Is Cold Calling Dead?

 I just visited a website that announced that cold calling is dead.  This self proclaimed sales guru promises that if I will read his book, then I will never have to make a cold call again.  That I can “generate an endless supply of qualified leads” just by following his simple formula.  Hallelujah!  I hate cold calling so this sounds wonderful….except I’ve been in sales for a long time and I’ve read enough books and articles just like his and I know that it’s not quite that easy.

Because our virtual tour business specializes in small business virtual tours and healthcare virtual tours (which are more transactional) versus real estate virtual tours (which generally involve repeat customers), our virtual tour business requires us to constantly be attracting new customers.  A person or company pays us to photograph a virtual tour for their business or facility and if we have done a good job, then they sit back and enjoy the rewards of having a 24/7 virtual open house to share information about their business with their prospective clients.  Unless something changes, there is no need for us to go back.  After four years of runningour national virtual tour company, we have a good client base and can count on some repeat business – especially from our vacation rental virtual tours and real estate virtual tours.
We are a small business ourselves and we operate a cash only business and do not use credit.  As with any transactional sales business, this means we wake up unemployed many mornings.  There are statistics galore that will tell you that traditional sales and marketing is becoming obsolete as social media and online marketing become the wave of the future.  If you believe these statistics and the accompaning hype, then those of us who hate making cold calls are going to be happy campers.
After all, “They” will tell you that a great website, online marketing campaign and search engine optimization are the keys to building your business…that if you have the right graphics and buttons and text that people will find you and choose to do business with you by filling out an order form on your website.  I certainly wish that it was as easy as that!!
Don’t get me wrong – I believe that a good website and strategic online marketing campaign are important but there is so much more involved in growing our virtual tour business than just having a good web presence.  My experience with our website is that it’s the place where people go to verify what I have told them in our face to face or phone conversation.  According to a recent graphic from Kuhcoon.com, when it comes to trust in advertising, 92% of people said that they most trusted word of mouth recommendations versus 58% that said they most trusted a company’s website.  
A good website and social media campaign can certainly get us on someone’s short list of potential virtual tour photographers but unfortunately, 99.9% of our sales are still closed via good old fashioned conversations and emails and getting to know each other face to face. 
As much as I wish it was otherwise – cold calling isn’t dead yet!