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How To Mess Up A Cold Call

A cold caller has been trying to get hold of me for a few days with the message, “I would like to invite you to an event?” We finally spoke today and he launched into a series of questions (which weren’t all bad) and then a reasonably well crafted and well presented pitch. This guy should be making a lot of sales but, whether he does or not, I bet that he does a lot of head banging on a daily basis and he could do a lot better…


Lack of research, planning and preparation. You might ask how I know he wasn’t prepared properly? Well, these two little gems to start with…

  1. His opening gambit, “I don’t know much about your company”. For that, read, he knows nothing.
  2. Having the nerve to ask me, “What are the main products and services you sell?” Seriously, can you believe that? And to a sales motivational speaker too. He needs to attend one of my sales seminars!

Intrigued, I asked him how he got my details. The answer was not clear but it was something like, “Well, I have a list that came from research and my manager recommended you and I had a look and…” Oh, come on. No, you didn’t and no he didn’t and we both know that someone bought a list of numbers from somewhere and you rang it without a second thought. You’ve done nothing.

A lot of people think that cold calling doesn’t work anymore. A lot of people think that cold calling never worked. A lot of people think that cold calling doesn’t and won’t work for them. A lot of speakers are making a lot of money perpetuating this myth (watch out for my forthcoming video series where I set the stall straight on that one!).

The truth is that cold calling does not work for many salespeople. And it doesn’t work for several reasons:

  1. They’re not in the right state of mind.
  2. They don’t make enough calls.
  3. They don’t know enough about their prospects.
  4. They don’t personalize their calls for every individual.
  5. They don’t ask enough questions.
  6. They don’t know how they are most likely to be able to help that prospect.
  7. They don’t listen.
  8. They don’t tailor their solutions.
  9. They don’t offer up enough(any)value.
  10. They give up too easily. Cold calling can and does work.

I am not going to bore you talking about the clients that I have helped to explode their sales results, nor am I going to drone on about how I have helped individuals to create and sustain the lives they desire by being able to attend more proactive sales meetings and sell more when they get there. Instead, I am going to share with you the success a friend of mine, Clifton, who led a professional services sales team by running powerful sales meetings stemming from professional cold calling techniques…

They grew a division taking 700 meetings a year and turning 7 million pounds to a team running 1000 meetings a year and turning 25 million pounds within 2 years. On one specific project they had 250 meetings (gained through cold calling) and won 22 million pounds worth of revenues.

Cold calling doesn’t work when coupled with powerful sales strategies? As Bart Simpson would say, “Eat my shorts!”

But cold calling has to be coupled with powerful, proven sales strategies and it also has to be professional, purposeful and legitimate and this requires effective planning and preparation to even get off the starting line. If you review my list of the 10 reasons cold calling doesn’t work you will see that at least 8 of them (if not arguably all of them) could be addressed or massively improved by doing the right preparation in the first place.

I hope my cold caller reads this article. It might help him. It probably won’t as I don’t think he will think to check my blog, certainly not now… I’m just the guy who spoiled his morning and said that I wasn’t interested.

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