Cold Calling vs. Social Prospecting

No Cold Calling Zone

Image by markhillary via Flickr

I read a question today on LinkedIn that asked if the Traditional Cold Call was still an effective means of growing business.  One of the responses that was recorded basically refered to cold calling as an ancient tradition that had little place in todays marketplace, I believe they said it was a huge time sucker.

This torments me a little as I continue to learn and understand the power of social media.

In a Business to Business (B2B) sales world, has Cold Calling really become that out dated. I know I still make 30-40 cold calls each week in order to introduce myself and my business to new clients. In the last month the only contacts that I have made that resulted in sales were from Cold calls that turned into relationship building (face to face) and then the sale.

Now I do understand the time Sucker mentality, Cold calling often has a low rate of return and you must have a thick skin in order to take the rejections that come with the practice. It does take time and commitment.

Social Media can be used for prospecting and if you have a specific target I can see how you could capture huge groups of leads quickly with a basic search on your favorite social site. But it also takes a committed amount of time building that relationship to a trust level which creates sales. They don’t know you and if they are going to buy you are going to be building a relationship based on what? The written or video word, not a handshake, or conversation that relates interest and value.

So what do you prefer?

Are you still using cold calling, door to door, pound the pavement tactics? Are you spending adequate time daily prospecting targets in the social realm?

As I see it a B2B business must commit to both.  I know for a fact that business professionals in the majority of businesses still today do not have the time or the aptitude to build social media relationships. Face to face still has value to them. I also know that if I am targeting anyone under the age of 35 that if I am not in the social realm, I have little chance of earning their business. Social activity is mandatory collateral to this age group.

So tell me, what methods  do you use to build new business?