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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 leading sales training and consulting company. He helps companies around the world unleash the sales potential of their teams. Mike is bestselling author of Rainmaking Conversations: Influence, Persuade and Sell in Any Situation and Insight Selling: Surprising Research on What Sales Winners Do Differently. He also writes for the RAIN Selling Blog.

LinkedIn: Mike Schultz

Twitter: @mike_schultz