Cold Calling 2.0?

Since the early days of John Patterson and his NCR sales playbook, “cold calling” seems to be ingrained in the collective sales consciousness as an expected part of the sales process. I still wonder why. Come on. Cold calling doesn’t work (it never has, and I don’t care what that last sales trainer told you).

This ridiculous notion of “dialing for dollars” is so yesterday. Sales people resist cold calling like the plague and with good reason. At some level, they know it doesn’t make any sense to call a stranger and expect them to buy within seconds of receiving their call no matter how charming they may be. Old school sales thinking is that you just call enough numbers and eventually somebody buys. What a waste of time and energy! Not to mention how potential buyers detest this approach. They don’t appreciate your rambling, inarticulate, blathering feature dumps and the evident randomness of the call. As a business owner, I can relate. Maybe I’ll create an audio book one of these days with the “best of the worst” phone calls that I’ve ever received. I save them. Hilarious and painfully sad at the same time. Hint: if you have to cold call then at least do some remedial homework. Make sure I’m in the market for what you sell. Everyone is NOT your customer!

Get over the notion of cold calling. Nobody likes it, it doesn’t work. Instead, what about using social media/social networks, email, Twitter, Facebook, referrals and the like to start paving the way for a great relationship? There is just NO excuse anymore for sales management to think that “dialing for dollars” has much chance at success. Instead, invest time in learning to use social media to augment and extend your sales reach. Insist that your sales people use social tools and social networks to begin conversations that will lead to finding common ground and getting to know each other. Then, when you do reach out to secure that sales appointment there will be nothing cold about it!


  1. says

    Excellent post, Barb. When it comes to cold calling, I feel like that phone graphic.

    My problem has been call reluctance. I’ve connected with someone who’s connected with someone… They’ve paved the way for me to connect. I procrastinate thinking about rejection.

    Finally, after thinking about it and touching the phone and dialing the number and hanging up, I’ll do it. I’m getting better and have been so pleased when every person I’ve called booked an appointment. But then I’ll start procrastinating about the next call.

    Is there any hope for people like me?

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