Before I offend anyone who’s built their business around the art of cold calling, I will say that cold calling is a valuable part of selling and should never be overlooked. With that said, the question remains, “As a sales manager, how much time do you encourage your sales force to spend in this area?”

The other day I picked up an old e-mail someone had originally printed for a technician in the field. Somehow it was placed on one of the numerous piles of paper scattered atop my desk. It had the name and phone number of a key decision maker for whom we did a little service work last year. We had tried to up sell the guy on a preventive maintenance plan - since their emergency repair was a direct result of no maintenance - but it wasn’t in their budget. Enough time had passed since then though and I decided it was time for me to ask for the sale again.

Happily greeted by the decision maker Terry on the other end of the phone, a 20-minute conversation ensued as he took it upon himself to counter sell me on what his company had to offer. Touché’ to my fellow sales person as I let him know I was more than happy to listen to his pitch and loved his technique for turning the call. When all was said and done, he agreed to meet me for lunch so that he could introduce me to the new decision maker, as Terry had changed from facilities to sales and promotions.

Now I know that wasn’t exactly a cold call; but what spurred this blog was that during the course of our conversation we had discussed his new role as a sales person and which sales methods he was using. During that discussion we both agreed that cold calling is still a necessary tool in our arsenals but with the change in today’s technology - and the use of voicemail, e-mail, and text messaging - it was easy for people to avoid cold calls.

So with that background information, I’d like to get more people involved in the conversation. How much cold calling are you doing and what other sales methods are working best for you? Don’t be shy. Take this opportunity to connect with people like you and voice your opinions and experiences. Iron sharpens Iron!