There’s nothing like a good, old-fashioned public humiliation to illustrate the difference between cold calls and hot referrals. What are you doing to make your sales efforts matter?

Picture this: You’re at a sales conference. You don’t believe in cold calling. You’re participating in a conference breakout session listening “live” to a sale rep cold calling into a company. Guess who’s uncomfortable?

You guessed it: Me. I was in the audience—feeling so embarrassed for the poor sales rep, and angry that any manager would put a member of his team through such a visibly humiliating exercise. It was so painful.

Still Wasting Your Sales Time Dialing for Dollars?

With the sales rep’s accounts and connections projected on a large screen, we listened as he cold called from the top down—starting with the president of the prospective company and making his way to the sales VP. In between, the calls, the rep was back and forth with the receptionist—using slimy tactics to get her to confirm email addresses. He hadn’t done any advance research. None.

The result—well, there was none. He left voicemails for at least eight people and spent 20 minutes dialing for dollars, and didn’t come up with a penny.

(Read: Why Cold Calling Is the Bottom of the Barrel)

Cold Call Messages Are “Direct to Delete”

Worse, the sales rep’s voicemail messages were even more embarrassing than the repetitive cold calling. He began by introducing himself and his company and then followed with, “I was hoping to schedule a meeting with you next week. Would Tuesday or Wednesday work best? My topic is to help you be more effective at creating demand for your solution. When you have the opportunity, please return my call.”

Imagine you’re an executive. Would you return a call from a message like that? Executives I’ve interviewed for my new book tell me they don’t take cold calls, and they delete at least 150 emails a day.

(Read: Why Companies Hate Sales People Who Cold Call)

Referrals Are THE Sales Solution: Make HOT Calls Now

How do you want to spend your time selling? Wasting time by cold prospecting or gaining an introduction from a trusted referral source. If your answer is referrals, then stay with me a minute…

More than 650 people registered for my “Turn Cold to Gold” webinar earlier this month. Not only is referral selling HOT, but everyone who turned out either knew me or was referred by someone they knew and trusted.

The group told me their biggest business-development challenges were:

  1. Getting the meeting at the level that counts—34%
  2. Too many unqualified leads—13%
  3. Converting prospects to customers—35%
  4. Overcoming objections—4%
  5. No money now—14%

What does a referral introduction do?

  1. You get the meeting at the level that counts
  2. You convert prospects to customers more than 50% of the time

Yet, 90% of the group did not have a referral strategy or plan.

Are you one of this 90%?