Make Cold Calling Part of the Plan

There will always be a place for cold calling in any sales strategy and knowing how to do it is a critical differentiator in all market segments.   For many sales people, cold calling can be the best and most effective way to build a pipeline but only through determination and polite persistence.

To be a good cold caller it’s key to understand the environment.  Cold calling is interruptive and not permissive.   Therefore from the second the call is placed, the people on the other end of the line have their defenses up and are NOT receptive until you give them a reason to let you in.

Because cold calling is interruptive and not permissive it requires 4 things to be executed flawlessly:

1. You have to know who you are calling – have a list.

Before you pick up the phone and start making calls, you have to know who you are calling and why.  Let’s call this pre-qualifying.  Pre-qualifying means creating a key customer profile that outlines the traits of a company that is the best possible fit for what you are selling.   Build a list of pre-qualified companies to work from and make it as long as possible before you start calling.  Don’t do research while you call, it slows down the process and makes it difficult to get into a rhythm.   A calling list is the most valuable asset a cold caller can have and spending the time upfront building it will make all the difference.

2. Know what you are going to say

You have less than 10 seconds to capture someone’s attention.  If you don’t know what you’re going to say, you’ll look sound like a rookie.   I’m not a big fan of “scripts” and actually I consider them constricting, impersonal, and don’t always align with the flow of the call and what the person on the other line wants to hear.  I prefer improvisation and agility.  This doesn’t mean wing it, it means you have a set of key messages you know you must get out, but how you communicate them and when is driven by the person on the other end of the line.

Create a set of key messages you think are critical to your customer and to make sure they impact the key business elements of my target customers.  I don’t talk about my services, but rather how my services can positively affect their business in the next 30-60-90 days.

3. Set Goals

Set daily cold call goals since the hardest part of cold calling can be just making the calls.  Setting goals you know based on past success will ensure you can make your numbers. Know how many new calls you need to make in a day and know how many return calls you will make.  New calls are calls made to someone on the list you’ve never called before.  Return calls are someone on the list you didn’t get a hold of the last time you called them.

Overtime, as you call more often, your call back list is going to be as equally as big as your new call list and the most important thing to remember is to not quit until you reach someone.  Make the call, leave a message, set a reminder to call them back, but never quit calling.

4. Don’t stop until they say “NO!”

This is where determination and stamina come into play.  Do not stop calling until you get a no.   Without a no, you don’t know why they aren’t calling you back.  My rational is this; if they’re not interested, they’ll let you know because they may be too busy to do otherwise.   For every prospect that will tell you to stop calling,  I bet that you will have five that will thank your for your persistence and were glad you kept on them as they wanted to talk but were so busy they never got around to calling you back. – Don’t stop until they tell you to stop.

Cold calling is not dead.  It maybe warping, but, regardless of what it’s doing or not doing, doing it right matters and will have an impact on your income.

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About Peter C. Rathmann

Pirate Captain at Allis Tool & Machine Corp. and Warrior for The Neurodiverse in Manufacturing.

3 responses to “Make Cold Calling Part of the Plan”

  1. Dan Creinin says :


    I completely agree with your philosophy. I have built a pipeline that is a mix of cold calling and networking, but, cold calling is responsible for the bulk of the activity. It is a skill that can be taught, but, the motivation to do the work is not.

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