How to Succeed at Cold Calling


For the purposes of this page, let us define cold calling as when you call on a business and they absolutely were not expecting your phone call.  Many businesses may tell you that the leads that you get are hot.  Maybe they have salesforce and tell you that you are calling a market generated lead based on this persons interest in your product or service.

It’s a numbers game

Sales truly is a numbers game.  You need to know exactly how many dials it is going to take to make a qualified lead.

If they aren’t specifically expecting you to call you need to know

You are going to get blown off (a lot)

You are going to spend many hours of your day speaking with people who are specifically trying NOT to let people like you speak with their boss.  Here are some helpful hints to get you past the gatekeeper:

Do not obfuscate or otherwise hide why you are calling them.  Gatekeepers hate that, and will see right through it.  Many companies and sales managers are going to ask you to ask for the decision maker like you two are old buddies.  They’d have you say something like this:

“Is Tom in.”  While that may work on some gatekeepers, it’ll often get you hung up on.

Instead what you want to do is give them a firm instruction.  Nearly all gatekeepers are used to taking instruction.  They are not leaders.  They will respond to a command.  I’m not saying be rude, because that’ll get you hung up on quick as well.   Here is a good intro: “Hi Jan, It’s Jay calling with BRP Company.  Tom had filled out a form on my website.  I’m trying to get in touch with him regarding that.  Could you put me through please?”  You let the decision maker know who you are, a little bit about why you are calling, and a clear order to put you through.

The phrase “could you put me through please” has a ton of benefit.  You’ll be amazed at how many people will put you just go ahead and put you through.  Instead of saying that though, you could say:  “Would you tell Tom that Jay from BRP Co is holding please?”

There are a lot of sales people that would describe themselves as “sharks” or “cold blooded killers”.  I’m not saying there is anything wrong with that, but it is a good idea to lock that portion of your personality up when trying to get a decision maker on the phone.

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