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Cold calling is a time-honored sales technique of the driven, proactive salesperson. You’ve got persistence, determination, and the energy and ability to communicate and connect with people. Why not just pick up the phone and start making calls? You won’t sell to everyone, but you’ll surely sell to someone, right? It’s a classic means of generating leads and making sales.


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7 Alternatives to Cold Calling for B2B Sellers

Cold calling is a time-honored sales technique of the driven, proactive salesperson. You’ve got persistence, determination, and the energy and ability to communicate and connect with people. Why not just pick up the phone and start making calls? You won’t sell to everyone, but you’ll surely sell to someone, right? It’s a classic means of generating leads and making sales.

Sometimes “classic” means “timeless.” In this case, it might just mean “outdated.” In 2022, cold calling might be more trouble than it’s worth. The telephone used to be the lifeline of a community, connecting friends, families, and businesses, but a deluge of unwanted calls, along with the convenience of texting, has practically rendered the phone an obsolete nuisance. So if cold calling is out, what’s in for generating leads?

It’s not all that different from searching for a job these days. You can’t just blast your email out to 100 prospective employers and hope for the best. If your resume and cover letter isn’t precisely tailored to the needs of each employer, your application is going straight to the trash, just like those cold calls will go to voicemail. In both cases, it’s better to find the right fit, the right people to connect with. Here are a few tips for doing just that.

Do Your Research. Before picking up the phone, learn about the person or business you are calling. Browse their social media, read through their website, take account of what they have for sale. Understand where they’re coming from and who they are serving. That way, you’ll be better positioned to show them how working with you can benefit them, and how you can offer something different from what they already have. If you’ve done some research, the cold isn’t all that “cold” anymore, as you have an idea of who you will be talking to and what you could do for them. And if you can position your call that way—what you can do for them—they may be more receptive to your message.

Send a “Cold Email.” No one likes talking on the phone anymore. A 2020 Pew survey found that 80% of Americans won’t answer a call from an unknown number, and businesses and individuals alike receive so many spam, telemarketing, and robocalls that just hearing the phone ring at the wrong time can put them in a bad mood. Instead of starting off on the wrong foot, try cold emailing, instead. You won’t have to worry about catching someone at a bad time, and you’ll give them the courtesy of getting back to you when it’s best for them.

Try “Warm Calling.” A “cold email” could lead to a “warm call.” Before picking up the phone, connect with your lead through your business’s social media or email, or through a colleague, to establish interest.

Let the Leads Come to You. Rather than go out in search of leads, use strategies that bring leads to you. Most people turn to Google to help them solve problems and answer questions. It’s no different for retailers looking for wholesalers to do business with. Make sure you have a business profile on Google. Fill your website with content that potential clients would find helpful, such as blog posts that address their pain points, answer their questions, and demonstrate your expertise and quality.

Be an Expert. That last point deserves a paragraph of its own. It is a bit more of a long-term approach and must be used alongside rather than instead of other methods, but you could generate leads by becoming known as an expert or leader in your field. You can accomplish this by giving talks at trade events, publishing articles in a trade publication, or publishing articles and blogs on your own website. You could even write a book on your area of expertise. As self-publishing becomes easier than ever, an ebook sold at a low price on Amazon or even given away for free to newsletter subscribers could establish your credentials, raise your profile in the industry, and convert leads.

Offer a Referral Discount. Another way to bring the leads to you is with a referral program. Offer discounts to your current clients when they refer someone to you.

Network at Trade Shows. Maybe cold-calling worked for you in the past because your talents lie in verbal, rather than written, communication. If you enjoy the social aspect of forming new relationships with new businesses, you might find success in generating leads at industry events. Retailers are there to find wholesalers, and vice versa, so there’s little worry of wasting your time with people who aren’t interested. It’s the perfect environment for connection on a more personal level.

List On the VDB Marketplace. Listing your inventory on the VDB marketplace is a fantastic way to put your company and your products in front of thousands of retail jewelers 24/7. 

Cold calling may still be working for you, and reports of its demise may be greatly exaggerated. Even in that case, some of the above strategies, such as conducting research and connecting with potential leads online or through colleagues first, may enhance what is for you an already successful approach, and maybe help save you some time. Overall, think of cold calling as one tool in an ever-expanding toolkit of sales strategies, one that is best supplemented by some of the strategies mentioned here.