If you missed it, the Bank of America’s Merrill Lynch have banned cold calling and that is a big thing.

This article states...

"Merrill on Monday rolled out a revamped adviser-training program that prohibits participants from cold calling and directs would-be brokers to use internal referrals or LinkedIn messages to land clients instead. The decision comes after the program’s 3,000 trainees were told to stop outbound recruiting efforts to find new customers last year after problematic phone calls."


"The revamped program is intended to bring the firm’s prospecting techniques into the digital era and boost completion rates."

No shit sherlock!

But surely cold calling has a better ROI than social selling?  Not according to Merrill Lynch.

"They will also be encouraged to contact prospects over LinkedIn, which has a higher hit rate than cold calling"

This isn't me saying that social selling has a better response rate, which our research shows, this is Merrill Lynch saying it.  Merrill Lynch the multinational sales organization. 

Mic drop! 

I spoke to my person here at DLA Ignite who sells to Financial Services, Mike Garrison, and he shared some great points about this article.

1.  If Bank of America’s Merrill Lynch have made this decision to no longer cold call.  This won't be some "shoot from the hip" decision made at some low level meeting.  Bank of America’s Merrill Lynch will have decided to stop cold calling and move their teams to social selling, based on data.  They will have run a pilot, they will have data, they will have questioned it, challenged it ... this change isn't for shits and giggles, it's for real!

They have shifted all of their internal training to social selling. 

2.  Bank of America’s Merrill Lynch will now be using this as a sales message.  They will tell everybody when they are in a competitive situation, Bank of America’s Merrill Lynch are the "good guys" we don't cold call.  This places all the competitors whether they cold call or not as the bad guys.  Let's not forget, you may not cold call but have you told your clients this?  The fact of the matter is that your ability to social sell is a competitive advantage. 

If you want to hear more from Mike, check out this video and fast forward to 19 minutes and 24 seconds.

3.  Assuming that Bank of America Merrill Lynch will do badly is stupid thing to think.  Merrill Lynch have the resources, the money, the talent to make social work. 

4.  Bank of America Merrill Lynch no longer people that make great cold callers, they are looking for people that have digital skills, people that have personal brands, people that have great online networks. 

5.  In this article by Bloomberg, Bank of America’s Merrill Lynch talk about the Bank having a “moral imperative” and a “commercial imperative” to stop cold calling and focus on digital selling. 

6. With McKinsey announcing in data, those companies that sell digitally are out performers, see article here.  You can see that the market has flipped. 

This McKinsey article states

To summarise the table and write it in plain English

Outperforming companies are digital selling.

Time to join the dots...

With Bank of America Merrill Lynch and McKinsey both saying that digital selling is the way to go, how long will you go keep ignoring this?