Is Cold Calling Worth It for Busy Founders?

Posted on June 29th, 2023 to Uncategorized

I’ve noticed a growing trend of sales coaches urging consultants and service providers to embrace cold calling as a lead generation method.

I’m not going to lie. It’s been getting under my skin.

Now, before I start receiving hate mail from the cold calling advocates out there, let me clarify — I’m not saying cold-calling never works. 

It works, but only for specific industries, specific products and business models. 

And it’s the least efficient way to generate new business for busy founders with subject-matter expertise who sell premium services in the B2B space.

There I said it!

In this blog post, we’ll explore why cold calling isn’t the ideal approach for busy founders selling high-ticket services. 

I’ll share alternative lead generation strategies that feel more aligned, empowering, and produce higher ROI over time.

So, if you’re ready to discover more efficient ways to generate leads, let’s get going.

But first… 

I’m Really Good At Cold Calling

I’ve been in sales for more than two decades, and when I started my career, cold calling was the name of the game. 

Picture this: I was a wide-eyed 22-year-old, fresh-faced and eager to make my mark in the world. 

So, I took a commission-only job selling newspaper ads to local businesses in Vermont. 

Yes, you heard that right! No base salary, just the thrill of the chase and the promise of earning money if I could seal the deal.

Surprisingly enough, I ended up at that job for a whopping nine years!  I admit, I found a fair amount of success through cold calling. 

I’d hit the road, show up unannounced, and hope to catch the owner’s attention so I could give them my spiel. 

Of course, almost no one said yes right off the bat. 

Building trust took time, and it didn’t hurt that the newspaper’s reputation and popularity soared year after year, making us a household name in Vermont.

But here’s the kicker: If I were to compare the number of business owners I cold called with the number who actually bought advertising, it would be downright horrifying. 

Thankfully, as a full-time, 22-year-old salesperson with no other duties, I had the luxury of investing my time in building these relationships from scratch. 

Needless to say, my reality as a sales person was very different from the busy founders selling high-ticket services that I work with now. 

And if you’re a busy founder running your business, you don’t have to hear that from me!

That’s why I’m here to tell you that cold calling, while it may have worked for me in the past, is not the best approach for accomplished subject-matter experts and their discerning business clients.

In the following sections, we’ll explore why cold calling falls short, and we’ll delve into alternative lead generation strategies that are aligned, empowering, and will deliver you better results over time. 

So, enough about me. Let’s focus on effective ways you can generate leads and build meaningful connections.

The Realities of Cold Calling

When it comes to cold calling, the conversion rate can be dishearteningly low, especially for busy founders who have limited time to spare. 

While some sales trainers and consultants may argue that perseverance is key, the reality is that handling repeated rejections takes a toll on even the most resilient individuals.

Sure, cold calling can work under certain conditions. 

If you have ample time to dedicate to contacting a high volume of leads, and if you’re willing to compete solely on price, you might find success. 

Or you could outsource your cold calls and emails to a team, but that requires budget and the technology to clone you!

Plus, even if you/they have success in getting someone to return an email and get on a call, it’s not likely to be the high-level decision maker you seek — they don’t have time to get on the horn with strangers. When they need support, top leaders turn to their network for referrals — not their junk mail folder.

Furthermore, time is a luxury that busy founders simply can’t afford to waste. Their schedules are packed with pressing responsibilities, leaving little room for email and phone prospecting.

Let’s face it — cold outreach doesn’t align with your needs as a specialized service provider targeting high-ranking buyers.

Busy founders like you need a different approach. 

You need to position yourself as a subject-matter expert, not simply offer the best deal, because your target audience seeks expertise, not just the cheapest option. 

And that’s saying nothing of the trust necessary for high-ranking buyers to commit.

In the next sections, we’ll explore alternative lead generation strategies that align with the specialized expertise and time constraints of busy founders. 

We’ll discover empowering methods that focus on building strong relationships, positioning oneself as an authority, and generating leads more efficiently. 

Alternative Lead Generation Strategies:

When it comes to lead generation for busy founders selling high-ticket services, there are alternative strategies that can deliver better results while respecting your limited time, energy and budget.

#1. Align with your values and highlight your expertise.

Instead of chasing leads through impersonal, generic emails, founders should focus on methods that allow them to showcase their expertise and establish themselves as subject-matter experts. 

No sleazy and ineffective methods for you! 

Tip: Position yourself as a trusted advisor, not a vendor — this approach resonates with discerning buyers who prioritize knowledge and industry insights.

#2. Meet leads powerfully.

Leaning on your network for referrals is another powerful strategy. 

According to the Hubspot 2023 Sales Trends Report, the best quality leads come from referrals. 

And what’s more, establishing trust and rapport with prospects is even more crucial given the downturn in the market.

Hubspot 2023 sales tend report shows referrals and trust building trump cold calling.
*Image Source: Hubspot. 

The good news is that you probably have an extensive professional network that you’ve built over the years that you can tap into.

Leveraging these connections can yield high-quality leads, as recommendations from trusted sources hold significant weight in the decision-making process.

Tip: By nurturing relationships with existing clients, industry partners, and even personal contacts, you can tap into a network of warm leads that have a higher likelihood of converting into loyal customers.

#3. Work smarter, not harder.

The beauty of these alternative strategies lies in their efficiency. 

By focusing on your expertise and leveraging your networks, busy founders can streamline the lead generation process. 

Rather than spending countless hours chasing uninterested prospects, you can invest your time in targeted efforts that yield a higher ROI.

Building relationships and nurturing existing connections requires dedicated effort, but the payoff can be significant in terms of both quality and quantity of leads.

Over time, these strategies often require less time and effort compared to the volume-driven nature of cold calling. 

Yes, Business Is Harder to Come By

There’s no denying that as of this writing (July 2023), business has slowed down for many. Sales cycles are longer. People are far more hesitant to invest and make financial decisions. 

But that doesn’t mean you should be out there kissing frogs! 

Instead, double-down on building meaningful connections with prospects who are genuinely interested in your specialized services. 

You may have to wait longer to hear the yes — but, you’ll maximize your productivity, impact and return on investment.

Don’t go cold!

Cold calling proves to be limited and ineffective for busy founders selling high-ticket B2B services. 

The time required makes it impractical to achieve significant results through cold calling alone.

And fielding constant rejection by people you likely don’t even want to work with is hard on the psyche. 

Instead, it’s essential to adopt lead generation strategies that align with your values and goals.

By positioning yourself as a subject-matter expert, you can attract discerning buyers who prioritize expertise over price alone. 

Leveraging your networks for referrals adds credibility and taps into warm leads that are more likely to convert. 

These alternative strategies offer a significant benefit in terms of efficiency, requiring less time and effort to achieve desired outcomes.

While cold calling may have its place in specific contexts, it is not the optimal approach for your clients. 

By staying true to what you know works, you will build stronger relationships and get you to the YES with your high-ticket B2B clients.

Have questions about how to reach out to ideal clients or ask for referrals from your network?

 Join me for the FREE Sales Roundtable. A monthly discussion for founders with subject-matter expertise where I teach on these strategies and take your questions.

Copyright © 2024 Allison Davis

Privacy Policy