Business Networking is still the #1 way to turn cold calls into potential customers. Classic business networking is using contacts/clients you already have to find new potential customers. It can be as simple as asking current clients to suggest/recommend new ones to participating in structured Business Network groups like BNI.com or your Chamber of Commerce or other local Network groups – every town or city has them.
Seek the local Network Groups out and learn what value they have for your business. Importantly members of network groups understand the purpose – to find new business and educate other Network members about their own business so they can find new leads. So when you call a prospect, you can say, Joe of XYZ Business suggested I call – this is much stronger than cold calls – plus it gets you passed the gate keepers or administration personnel who screen your target prospect’s calls.
LinkedIn.com has redefined cold calling. Now, in addition to the local active network groups, you can build a dynamic network of contacts online. Do you have a LinkedIn profile? Have you built your network? From that network you can do much the same as classic networking for within all the contacts that you already know (and should be invited into your LinkedIn network) is someone who knows someone, who knows someone you are trying to approach for new business.
Do not know how to use LinkedIn? There is a ton of great help right on their website.
For New Users: http://learn.linkedin.com/new-users/
For small business, see http://smb.linkedincreatives.com/
or see the links on the left of the above page for more options and help.