To cold call or not to cold call – that’s a question among many marketing and new business people these days.  With many social media tools at our disposal, some argue that cold calling is dead.  Rebecca Rapple is one of them. In “Why You Should Never Make a Cold Call Again,” on the Personal Branding Blog, Rapple asserts that you have many opportunities to build relationships other than cold calls, which she believes “rarely work.”

Social media has certainly paved the way to meet people whether directly or through another connection. Rapple recommends having a Twitter chat for example. Find out if a desired contact is on Twitter; follow them, observe what they are sharing and the conversations they are having and connect

You can do something similar on LinkedIn. Get involved with a group in which your target is a member and join the conversation. Rapple advises if your target is active in the group, contact them directly.  If your target has a blog, follow it and provide commentary

Rapple doesn’t dismiss some of offline, traditional ways to connect with prospects, either. Attend an event to meet prospects – there probably are dozens in your city going on all the time. Don’t overlook the value of an introduction from a current connection.

Cold calling is NOT dead, say others

On the other side of the coin are the cold calling proponents; they believe that cold calling can be effective.  On the Art of Small Business blog, a fairly recent post addresses “Handshakes and Cold Calling Aren’t Dead – Why Overreliance on Social Media is a Mistake for Small Business.”

This writer agrees that social media is here to stay and is effective for sales leads, sourcing, hiring, and more, but says it has its drawbacks. Namely, he says people don’t follow every tweet they get,  they don’t ‘obsessively’ hang on to every share they get on LinkedIn and Google+, and many don’t interact with posts.

Cold calling, the writer, says doesn’t leave you hanging – you get some response. Even if you reach a receptionist or secretary, they will pass on the fact you called, which gives you some visibility into the company. Then, too, cold calling can be efficient, especially with a well-targeted list and a good script —  not to mention the fact that you can conveniently cold call anywhere/anytime using your smartphone and a headset. Also, you can learn whether or not the prospect is interested from the interaction.

The bottom line is that you have a wider range of tools today to use for your new business development. Social media can be powerful by enabling you to connect with a target and build a relationship even before you bring business into the picture. Cold calling is good way to identify prospects. In either case, you need an effective plan to take it to the next step once that door is opened.

Where do you stand on the cold calling debate?