As I've said in past postings, referrals are the way to go as much as possible. It is incredibly important to ensure that your contacts are as best as they can.
"Passively relying on word of mouth is too often a cop-out for entrepreneurs who are intimidated by the thought of having to sell," says Jeff Cornwall, Director of Beltmont University.
By relying on passive word of mouth, you are losing significant capabilities and contacts. But by optimally using your word of mouth referalls and "cold calling" them, you have more success. Personally, I wouldn't consider them cold calls — I call them referrals, even if they're not calling you.
His post references an article in Startup Journal called "Warm Up to Cold Calling To Find New Customers". Its an article that certainly rings very true. "This is not the end of the world; you're only making a phone call." says Norma Siciliano, president of Cold Calling for Hot Sales, a sales-coaching firm in New York City. How true that is!
If you're wary about truly cold calling prospects, there's companies out there that can help as well as sales people that can be hired who aren't as trepidacious as you.