The unsolicited prospecting call, better known as the “cold call,” is an effective sales tool that many lawyers may not feel very comfortable using.
What’s the key word in the previous sentence? Effective.
Legal professionals may feel they are “above” the cold call. They may believe there are better, less intrusive techniques. They may have a personal aversion to them for any number of reasons.
The stats don’t lie, however.
Even in an age of endless digital outreach channels, the cold call continues to bring in sales at a consistent clip. Good salesmen know that 80% of successful prospects will say “no” four times before they finally say “yes.” They study the best times of day to make cold calls (between 11 am and 2 pm). They understand that making a call within five minutes of a prospect filling out a web form results in a 100X higher pick up rate.
If you think about it, this is exactly what you are doing as a lawyer. How many times will you hear “no” in a courtroom before you get what you want? Don’t you study the habits of judges and modify your behavior to their preferences? Haven’t you studied the psychology behind momentum as well – once you get one “yes,” isn’t it easier to get an immediate second?
The reason most people hate cold calls is probably not because of the high rate of “rejection.” You get that all the time in the legal process. Most people hate cold calls because of the fear of rejection. That is something you can get rid of using modern technology.
First of all, you don’t have to make any cold calls whatsoever. This function of business is easy to automate or outsource. All you need is a script and a proper vetting structure to find the right people to speak on your behalf. With a professional team of rejection buffers between you and your prospects, you won’t have to worry about those eight times on average you’ll need to call before getting someone on the phone or the 90% overall first time rejection rate.
Second, if you repurpose the function of the cold call, you will find the results much more encouraging. Cold calls are not to make sales – they are to generate face-to-face meetings that allow you to make sales. It is also much easier to get someone to meet with you than it is to convince someone to spend money over the phone.
Finally, you can use technology to narrow down your cold call prospects. Direct your outreach team to email prospects first and call only those that respond positively. Even before this, the prospecting list can be optimized based on easily obtainable public records that allow audience segmentation (e.g. you can send your feelers out specifically to people who have reported auto accidents).
So yes, give traditional cold calling the cold shoulder. However, don’t give it up. Use the new tools and technologies available to you to make this highly effective technique work in your favor.