Relationships and trust are two key variables in a sale and it takes a lot longer to build them up from a cold call than it does from an introduction from someone who already has a relationship and the trust of your prospect.

Lets say that John is an interim project manager working alongside Sally, the Marketing Director of a consumer products company. Sally and John are having lunch in the canteen and Sally is telling John about the planned packaging makeover taking place. John remembers someone he knows who is a specialist in consumer packaging design and asks ‘Who do you have working on the design? I know a great packaging designer if you need one.’ John proceeds to explain a bit about some of the things his designer contact Teresa has done. Sally trusts John’s judgement and asks to be introduced to Teresa. At the appointment Sally immediately warms to Teresa and has mentally made the decision that she would like to try out Teresa on a project.

Compare this with a telemarketing agency introduction. Terry has paid a telemarketing agency to call consumer products companies looking to redesign their packaging. Terry has won awards for his design and is very creative. The telemarketing agency find it easy to get him lots of meetings. When he meets Sally it is quite formal even though Terry is a very personable character. He shows Sally some of his work, which she cannot deny is good, but then so is Teresa’s work. Sally finishes the meeting with positive words and Terry leaves thinking he has probably got the work. Sally, however, wants to work with Teresa and Terry actually never stood a chance.

It is too simplistic to say that if you get an introduction then you stand more chance than from from a cold call. I am not saying that cold calling does not get results, as it clearly does. What I am saying is that it involves a lot less work to convert a sale where you have a head start on the relationship by arriving pre-sold.