The reason that businesses use cold calling is to canvas for new business, that is basically the reason. However unsolicited sales calls are a nuisance to any business, in any sector. Sales (as a process) has been around for thousands of years, it is just the ‘vehicles’ that have changed over the course of time with technology. As technology has grown, the diversity of sales related tools has diversified; now including more subtle methods such as marketing tools (e-marketing, direct mail, advertising) that preempt the sale.
Ask any business and they will answer ‘no’; no-one likes sales calls, unsolicited unexpected calls that interrupt the business from their job. The recipient business may be doing cold calling themselves, after all businesses operate by selling and doing business with each other. For this reason, the TPS (telephone preference service) was set up to prevent cold calling. This includes going onto a list of ‘do not call companies’; however if all businesses in the UK were registered (as all businesses dislike cold calling) then cold calling and telemarketing would die out. Sales would be a very different beast and world would indeed change as a result.
Getting unsolicited sales calls is an irritation. It interrupts receptionists from dealing with legitimate enquiries, staff from their jobs and most sales calls are not relevant. Cold calls are either not relevant (from companies selling electricity to businesses in managed offices for example) or come at the wrong time (for a product or service that is not needed at the time of the call) meaning that most cold calls are wasted and just take up time and resources.
If there was no cold calling, most businesses would be faced with the problem of how to generate new business. This could mean more marketing (such as more junk e-mails, more mailings to our houses and offices, longer advertising slots on TV etc. Some businesses may start sending out grinning sales people turning up at the door doing cold knocking – probably worse than cold calling.
The definition of ‘cold calling’ is a call out of the blue, unexpected and unprompted. However there are ways around cold calling that are a little sneaky, used by telemarketing companies for lead generation reasons. By sending an e-mail to a named contact in a business, a follow up call is not necessarily a cold call, it is natural (especially if the e-mail mentions a follow up call, or the prospect responds to the marketing e-mail). Getting the contact names is a little trickier but with a little research, the contact names can be found which does sidestep the cold calling issue.
No matter what guidelines are put in place, businesses are still going to keep selling, and as the UK economy slows, this will only intensify. Some businesses are plagued by cold calls, getting dozens a day (which is extreme) however most are tolerant to the off sales person calling up to do their job (as long as they are polite then most businesses are accommodating to any telemarketing calls).
Love it or hate it, cold calling and telesales does generate new business – so the question is, does your company do it? Sadly unsolicited sales calls are going to be with us for the foreseeable future.