Some people say that cold calling is dead. However, thousands of salespeople use the phone to successfully qualify prospects, set appointments and open sales conversations. When you don’t use cold calling for lead generation, here’s the impact on your effort.

Lower response rate. Regardless of industry, engagement rates using the phone are higher than response rates using email and social selling. One study shows that 57% of people who receive prospecting emails believe them to be spam without even opening the email*. The majority of people that you send emails to likely won’t even end up opening them.

Lost competitive advantage. When you rely on email and social media to reach out to your prospects, you are lost in the sea of emails and social media posts. So much sales communication has shifted to email and social that phones are not ringing nearly as much as they did in the past. Cold calling lets you stand out. Even if you gather all the social intelligence available on a prospect, that information isn’t going to give you much of an advantage over your competitors, who have access to the same tools and information.

Loss of relationship intelligence. A personal phone call allows you to learn through conversation the prospect’s pain points and goals. Conversations allow you to uncover nuances about their business and their challenges. Not only does email not enable you to do that, but the tone of emails can result in complete miscues.

Less meaningful connections. Emails don’t build relationships. Calling can give the prospect a sense of importance and a sense of immediacy. Phone calls allow you to customize your points based on what the prospect says. Prospects are more likely to do business with people that they know, like and trust.

Opportunities left on the table. Believe it or not, the success rate of cold calling has actually proven to be higher than many people would think. One study has found that cold calling outperforms emails by a significant margin (8.2% vs 0.03%)**.

Social-selling tools are great for research, identifying trigger events, and finding mutual connections. Emails help keep you and your business top of mind, but no lead generation method builds relationships like, or is as effective as, cold calling.