The Case Against Cold Calling and Cold Email

Consultant, sending cold emails or making cold calls will do you more harm than good. Here’s my case against cold emails, DMs and phone calls. 👇

Most consulting businesses get off the ground using the strength of their professional networks. Referrals from your network are your only lead generation channel in the early days. 

When the referral well dries up, many consultants are attracted to cold outreach (cold email, LinkedIn DMs and phone calls). The allure of reaching out to a cold audience is pretty strong because you believe:

A.) It’s easy to do 
B.) You’ll get quick results

In my experience, both of them are not true the vast majority of the time. Here are 5 reasons cold outreach is not your best bet: 

❌ Business consulting is usually not budgeted for. Most buyers are not even aware of the need for your services. They’ve got other seemingly pressing priorities. You must first create a compelling need for change before you even ask for an appointment. People change over time. One or two emails to them aren’t going to help. 

❌ Cold calling and email is a volume game. You send out 1000s of emails (or make phone calls) and you may get 1% to respond, out of which a small percentage will give you a meeting. The odds are stacked against you.

❌ As a consulting business owner who’s busy delivering client engagements, how much time can you devote to cold outreach given its volume-focused nature? To do it well, you need to do it consistently for hours day after day. Think about the last time you executed a cold email/calling strategy. Your performance was likely haphazard. 

❌ Even if you outsourced cold outreach, you’d still need a mass market for it to have a chance to work. What if your market is small? You’ll exhaust your list pretty quickly. And going by the typical conversion rate of cold outreach (see 2nd point above), your chances of conversion are pretty slim.

❌ Consulting is a business of trust. Badgering people with cold emails and calls can erode trust and tarnish your reputation. 

There will always be exceptions and outliers to the points above. If cold outreach has worked for you in the past, chances are it’s been a one-off. Or a low fee project. 

High-fee client engagements require a longer-term, sustainable strategy built on affinity and trust. In business consulting, two sales channels have consistently worked for decades and still work exceedingly well even today.  

Interested in learning what they are and what you can do to make them work for you? I hosted a session for my Consulting Growth Hour community recently in which I talked about this. 

Send me a DM or drop a comment below and I’ll send you the video.

Ready to add $100k-$500k revenue to your consulting business in 12 months or less without burning out? Schedule a call and let me show you how.

Image credit: Fine Art America Lucia Stewart