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Is cold calling a thing of the past?

For every agency, New Business is an important aspect of daily life, especially for agencies with growth plans. Yes, for the Account Team, the majority of our working life is to service… ahem, over service our existing clients – making sure that everything is consistently delivered to a high standard and on time. We all know the importance of retaining clients and we do everything in our power to make sure this happens.

But, as the old adage goes, nothing lasts forever. Unfortunately this is true of brand and agency relationships. Inevitably, clients move on to pastures new and when they do, you hope as an agency that they’ll take you with them. But, the flip side to this being that when new clients come in, they may want to bring their ‘trusted’ previous agency with them, irrespective of your performance before their arrival. 

Marketing Directors typically have a short shelf life and a tendency to try and ‘shake things up’ to make a stamp on their new role. The stark truth is that agencies can often be the first neck on the block when they do so. 

So, even agencies with excellent client service and creative output still need to drive New Business, as you never know when a brand client will call time on your relationship. But how does an agency go about winning New Business? Is there a set formula to success? Is cold calling the answer, or is it a thing of the past?

Other than a face to face conversation, there’s no doubt that speaking to someone is the best approach to building a relationship. A phone call will always be more personal than an email, letter, tweet, LinkedIn connection, or anything else. Perhaps until technology allows us to send life-sized 3D holograms to our contacts anyway! But here I’m referring to an expected phone call from someone known by the recipient – this is very different to a cold call.

Over recent years the invasion of our privacy with automated, telemarketing and scam phone calls has resulted in us having the shortest of shrifts with callers we don’t know. Our first instinct is that unknown callers will be a nuisance and to get rid of them as quickly as humanly possible.

So what does this mean for cold calling, is it dead?

In my opinion cold calling is not quite dead, more battling to stay alive. You can still gain New Business this way, if the cold caller has the thickest of skin, a silver tongue and a back like a duck! The best sales people can still turn a cold reception into a warm lead, certainly. But in this day and age I would argue that cold calling is not the easiest form of acquiring New Business, not for the majority of people anyway. 

In our industry especially, I’d like to think there are better and more creative ways to approach new business than cold calling. I do think that speaking to people is vital in acquiring New Business, but this should be more of a ‘lukewarm’ approach. Clients are busy people, bombarded with New Business approaches and I believe a cold call is the last thing they’d want. If they receive a creative approach first, this is a good way to impress and provide background info on your agency. Then, when you do call, your initial creative approach can be used as a good ice breaker and they’ll be aware of who you are too. This makes for a much more receptive response.

So, if you’re client side, keep an eye out for a creative approach from Cunning Plan Marketing. We’d love to speak to you about any Marketing needs and if you call us first, I promise we won’t give you a short shrift 😉

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