I was listening to a discussion about how the Big Three U.S. automakers, who seem to be perpetually in financial trouble, don’t hesitate to spend hundreds of millions of dollars each on television advertising that simply doesn’t work.

As an example, after Ford Motor Company sponsored American Idol and ran their commercials endlessly during one season of that show, 90% of viewers surveyed couldn’t even remember which car company it was running the commercials!

Nevertheless, they continue anyway, thanks to whatever crap they learned in MBA school about “building your brand” and other such rubbish.

What they’re missing is a key rule of business – and one that’s especially applicable to sales. And here it is:

“Nothing speaks like results.”

Instead of focusing on what gets results – and using methods of marketing and advertising where results can be measured in the first place – Ford was doing what they’d been told they’re “supposed” to do.

(Interestingly, I also recently learned that many of the big Madison Avenue advertising agencies go to great lengths to prevent their clients from seeing the results, even when they are measurable.)

And just what do sales managers tell us we’re “supposed” to do?

“Make 100 cold calls a day! Smile and dial! Pound the pavement!”

The good news is that those methods are measurable. The bad news? The return on any type of cold calling techniques are consistently 1% – in other words, they don’t work!

I even had one particular nutjob sales manager who had a big “Wheel of Fortune” style wheel in the office. Everyone got to spin it each morning at the absurdly early 7:30am sales meeting to find out if you’d be telemarketing, canvassing door-to-door, calling a list of old worthless leads who no one else had succeeded with, and so on.

But, as I said earlier:

“Nothing speaks like results.”

When you’re bringing in sales – and sales are all that matters in the end, because that’s how both you and your manager get paid – no one will really care how you’re getting them.

The moron with the “Wheel of Fortune” game every morning started leaving me alone a few months after I was hired, when my sales numbers reached a very high – and very consistent – level. He didn’t care that I wasn’t cold calling, as long as I pretended to play along with his dumb wheel game every day.

Here’s the bottom line:

If you’re bringing in high sales numbers, and doing it consistently, your sales manager WON’T CARE how you’re doing it – as long as you’re doing it!

If you’re NOT doing that now, it means that what you ARE doing isn’t working.

When something isn’t working, the solution isn’t to do more of it. It’s to change your activities and your behavior to something that does work.

And guess what? Cold calling DOES NOT work, not anymore, not in today’s economy!

The solution, therefore, is to STOP cold calling and START doing something that works instead!

And just what are those things? The answers are endless. Not long ago, I sat down to brainstorm ideas with another sales author, and within 30 seconds we had come up with over two dozen methods to effectively get leads without cold calling. In my sales training business, we teach sales teams everything from how to use Facebook and LinkedIn to generate a massive business network and endless supply of hot, qualified leads, to good old-fashioned stuff that still works today, such as effective in-person networking. In between there’s everything from social media to lead-generation websites to free public speaking to become an authority in your community.

No matter what methods you choose, nothing will change the reality that cold calling consistently has the lowest percentage of sales call success, so stop cold calling immediately!