As service and technology firms begin to awaken from a long, recession-inspired hibernation period, they are again beginning to think about proactive lead generation. If your firm is stepping up outbound marketing, your first step should be to re-examine your firm's thinking about what works and what doesn't.

Consider the following seven service lead-generation misconceptions. Destroying these myths can lead to more production and better return-on-investment for your marketing time and dollars.

Myth No. 1: Cold-calling doesn't work

Time and again we encounter an aversion to cold-calling from service firm leaders and rainmakers. Most service firm gurus argue that cold-calling doesn't work—inconceivable, even, that you might give it a second thought.

Many professionals have tried cold-calling, and it hasn't worked for them. Another subset of professionals believes that cold-calling can work, but because they find it so distasteful they neither engage in it nor advocate it.

Service lead generation misconception no. 1 steers many service firms completely away from cold-calling. Yet, applied correctly, cold-calling can be an amazingly successful lead-generation tactic that can return excellent results, often very quickly.

True, there are many ways that you can try cold-calling and fail, but there are also—if you're willing to seek them out—cold-calling strategies that consistently yield above-average ROI.

Myth No. 2: Web sites don't affect lead generation

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image of Mike Schultz

Mike Schultz is president of RAIN Group, a global sales training and performance improvement company, and director of the RAIN Group Center for Sales Research. He is the bestselling author of Rainmaking Conversations and Insight Selling. He also writes for the RAIN Selling Blog.

LinkedIn: Mike Schultz

Twitter: @mike_schultz