Cold Calling vs. Direct Mail Marketing

Cold Calling vs. Direct Mail Marketing

Cold Calling

Cold calling is a marketing technique where you approach the client or prospect, usually on the phone or now through email, without them expecting to hear from you.

With cold calling, you get a lot of “no”s, you get hung up on, you’re interrupting people’s pattern and their day, they’re annoyed by you. Sometimes, you call that lonely person who wants to talk on and on about what’s going on in their life. It’s always good to be a help to others, but this may not be the highest and best use of your time.

Running in a  hamster wheel is a great comparison to cold calling. As long as you’re prospecting, making outbound phone calls, approaching prospects, you’re generating business. When you step off the wheel, your business stops.

Direct Mail Marketing

Direct mail marketing changed my life and changed the trajectory of our business.

With direct marketing, you send out your message, your promotion, your ad, to a pre-selected customer. If you’re a fit for their needs, they pick up the phone and contact you. No more chasing business – let the business come to you.

You can send out postcards, brochures, door hangers, any number of media types and, in the end, accurately track response and modify your marketing accordingly. If you’ve never done direct mail marketing, you’ll find it brings a whole new quality of people.

Direct response allows the customer to make a decision in their own time. When they call, they already know who you are and what you do. The client is raising their hand, telling you they need what you have to offer.

The Results

As for our business, when we switched from cold calling (calling ads in the paper, calling for-sale-by-owners) and began direct mail marketing (post cards, letters, flyers, post-it-notes), our business skyrocketed and our use of time became much more efficient.

Instead of trying to find clients who wanted to work with us, the marketing piece made the introduction so, when our phone rings, those clients are pre-screened. The ones who don’t call back aren’t interested, today. Time saved for us both!

Side note: it’s amazing how many clients call back months, even years, later to say they saved our marketing piece and now need what we have to offer. That doesn’t happen with cold calls.

So, which do you use? Which do you prefer? And, importantly, are you tracking results?

This post has 4 Comments | Would you like to leave a comment?


  1. Hi Jason: Whatever you can afford is a great place to start…

    That being said, 500 is a pretty small number, but it only takes one good response to buy a house, right? I’m just glad you’re working at it. Be sure to check out more of my posts on marketing here:

    Good luck to you and please let us know your results!

  2. Hi Karen,

    I am a seasoned real estate agent who’s core strategy for sourcing new business has been via cold-calling.

    Recently, I have decided to start investing in direct mail marketing. I’ve purchased a list of 500 prospects in the community I’m looking to farm based on very refined criteria (age, years in current residence, estimated equity, etc.). By having a refined criteria I am only targeting prospects that I know I’d want business from, and am able to avoid spending mailing-dollars on households I wouldn’t want to target.

    However, I am wondering if 500 prospects is too small of a number to get a decent response?

    I found your article above during my research and appreciated the insight. Can you share your thoughts on what you believe is the right number to start with in a direct-mail geographical farming campaign?

  3. Pretty useless, Yasir.

    Do you respond to cold emails? Don’t we all get way too many of those and just ignore or delete the ones we don’t recognize?

    Everything you do will work, just some better than others and cold emails is not the best way to make new contacts.

    Thanks for asking!

  4. What about cold emails? Useless?

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