Interesting discussion on Facebook right now about the benefits (or not) of cold-calling. Smiling and Dialing is a term I have used.

Conflicting opinions have emerged. Could advances in technology be killing the Cold-Call?

The original post espoused the positive results of cold-calling using the example of  more work for a repeat client who had initially been the result of a cold-call. This is, of course, cold-calling people who you KNOW are interested in the kind of work you do. Marketing 101 – pre-qualify your leads.

An immediate opposing viewpoint was posted – with face-to-face networking indicated as the key to conversion.

I think that as with so many other things in our business life these days, the times they are a changing.

Do the networking thing first if your potential client is in your physical area. If you are touching someone remotely, then you have three practical choices – email, social networking, and the phone.

My phone results have slowed down lately and my social networking results have gone up. The emailing results have stayed about the same. These are not scientific results, your results may vary.

Where a few years ago, I would leave messages on a cold-call, today, if I can’t reach someone in person on the phone, I choose not to leave a message – if it is a company voice mail. If it is a cell phone that tells them that someone has called, well, that is a different story, then I feel compelled to leave a message – usually saying that I will follow up with an email so no return call is expected. 

So my marketing efforts are shifting – away from cold-calls and relying more and more on networking, referrals, and social media. However, I still use use the phone to RECONNECT with someone IF I have something very specific to say.