Early in my advertising career, I was an Account Executive, a fancy name for a sales rep, for a local television station. New to sales, I got a “Yellow Pages List” which meant I began my career with no accounts so I had to cold call to find new business.

It was a great job. When I called on the phone and identified myself as “Robin from TV5”, I got the prospect’s attention. After all, it was someone from a television station calling, which was a huge deal back in the day! Television was on the upswing with Must-See-TV-Thursdays and a sports line-up that meant big bucks in my commission check. Television advertising worked for advertisers large and small. It was the golden age of television advertising.

Then the internet burst on to the scene and everything about advertising changed…forever!

Advertisers still purchase commercials for everything from fast food to expensive cars and purple pills. But, the viewers don’t care. Now armed with DVRs and TIVO, they skip the commercials and turn to the internet when they want to know something. This is as true with B2B as B2C.

Just as video killed the radio star, the internet killed the cold call.

Everything we want or need is as close as our smartphone…that mini-computer we hold in our hand all day and keep at the bedside at night. The internet knows everything and it’s open 24/7 so we don’t have to wait for information. It’s there when and where you want it.

Woman Sitting with a Bored ExpressionWant to buy a car? After a bit of an internet search, we can track down the make, model and price. We probably know as much as the car salesman we talk to. Maybe more! Make the deal and drive the car home.

Have a hunger for pizza? We search, click, call and pay for it online. Who cares what the current price of your pizza is, the question is “Do you deliver?” For travelers, the internet is essential to finding the best local fare. You wouldn’t turn on the TV to wait for a pizza commercial, would you? I didn’t think so!

Cold calling is a shot in the dark. You might be able to do some pre-qualification but from the beginning of the call you are in a hole. You are calling the prospect. He didn’t call you. You are interrupting their day with your agenda, not his. Chances are, they probably didn’t wake up in the morning and say “I wish someone would call me today to sell me a widget.” The cold-calling road is dark, winding and without promise.

Internet search on the other hand, puts the business owner in the driver’s seat. Studies show that 90% of all purchasing decisions begin with a search. Most consumers are searching for a local store where they can buy. If you have a solid online presence, these searchers will find your business. If you don’t develop your online presence, they will probably find your competitor down the street!

Cold calling is dead. It’s time to take it off life-support. Smart shoppers are searching online. Put yourself in the driver’s seat and invest in an online presence instead of wasting your time and money on cold calling. It’s better for your ego AND your balance sheet!