There is a long-standing debate about the great downside to cold calling prospective clients - and you can do a search to find many websites encouraging you to never cold call again.
I agree that mailing or picking up the phone to reach an unknown person is definately the long road to prosperity, but it IS a road.
Recently I met a woman named Debra Long, who is a local realtor. Debbie recently became a realtor after years in the corporate world. She was interested in running her own business and charting her own course.
Real estate is a hot industry, and has been for some time. I assumed that when Debbie told me she had closed nine deals since the beginning of 2005, they were probably all referrals.
Debbie smiled and said that none of them were - that she pounded the phones - receiving some incoming calls but also religiously blocking out hours on her calendar to make lots of dials and "talk-tos" (when you actually talk to someone rather than voice mail) She also drove around doing research - working hard and putting the hours in. She took most of June off because she got a bit burned out - and now in July booked her ninth deal.
I write about this because it is so easy to just scratch off an idea or an approach because others didn't have success with it. Continue to be creative - when someone talks about cold calling, think about all the possible ways it can look. It could be a drip mailing campaign to key people you don't know, while you continue to prospect by phone and other ways to clients for referrals.
Keep an open mind - a blanket "write off" of cold calling could be a mistake.