Cold Calling Works, You Just Suck At It

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You’ve heard it said before, often with a smug tone and a noticeable air of relief:


All you need is research, a handful of online marketing tools, and a strategy to attract leads to you. Inbound marketing killed the cold call.

But did it really?

Let’s say you’ve identified a company who fits the criteria of your ideal client. We’ll call them “Company A”.

What happens when “Company A” doesn’t respond to your marketing? They don’t see your social media. They don’t open your emails. They don’t click on your ads. They don’t respond to your well-placed content and blogs. They’ve effectively tuned you out. What happens then?

Some marketing gurus would tell you that “Company A” isn’t qualified. They aren’t a warm lead. They haven’t opted in for messaging about your product or service, so they’re most likely not ready to buy. You are wasting time pursuing “Company A” when there are other qualified leads to push into the funnel.

They might even tell you to rethink your strategy and invest in better marketing.


Let’s acknowledge something here:

Marketing and advertising DO produce results.

They work especially well when you know how, when and why to use them. The same holds true for cold calling.

Marketing and advertising bring interested leads into the funnel and enable your sales team to gracefully convert warm opportunities. Who doesn’t love that? But this model takes time, and it’s still not 100% effective at capturing all of your ideal clients. There is no silver bullet.

With marketing, your sales success relies on one critical prerequisite:

“Company A” knows they need something, they want to buy, and they know you have it.

Cold calling quickly solves a tougher problem:

“Company A” doesn’t know they need something, they don’t want to buy, and they don’t know you have it.

Some people call this an unqualified lead. The truth is, it’s an uninformed and misunderstood lead.

Good salespeople assess the market and understand their offering well enough to know which kinds of clients derive the most value from what they sell. They can quickly qualify a prospect during a brief conversation.

Good salespeople also know that the time will come when inbound leads dry up and their network will fail to deliver referrals. That’s when they pick up the phone.


Think about the last time you received a call from a telemarketer.

It interrupted your day. You could hear the sounds of a call center on the other line. The sales rep hastily stuttered through a script, and – CLICK – you hung up on them.

If you were kind enough to stay on the phone, you were treated to a pitch designed to get you to buy something. They may have even told you there was no obligation to buy, but you’d never be able to tell. They goaded you and used pushy techniques to “overcome objections”. Then they tried to “close” you long before you were ready to buy.

At no point was the call focused around your needs. At no point were you given control of the conversation. In the end, you felt annoyed and manipulated.

This approach to cold calling has created an environment so toxic that people today are averse to any kind of direct, unsolicited sales outreach that actually involves talking to a stranger. You can call it social awkwardness or a reluctance to interrupt a person’s day, but more likely, it’s the result of head trash that says, “Cold calling is a nuisance” and “Cold calling is bad”.

Walk into a room of sales people and ask for a show of hands: “How many people like making cold calls?” 99% of the time, no one does.

It’s no wonder why people celebrate the death of cold calling.

Weak salespeople always take comfort in the news that cold calling is dead. They eagerly stick their hands out ready to catch warm leads they can easily convert. These people deserve some credit for doing their jobs, but many companies will struggle without a quicker outreach strategy – especially during hard times.

Anyone with experience closing millions of dollars in new business will know that one of the greatest strengths of an outside salesperson is their ability to pick up the phone and go directly to the Ultimate Decision Maker. It takes very little research, very little time, and it cuts to the chase.


We’ve heard companies say, “We’ve tried cold calling. It doesn’t work for our business.”

Okay. Does your business involve decision makers? Do the decision makers have phones? The answer to both is almost always, Yes.

Most likely, the reason why cold calling doesn’t work for your business is because you don’t know how, when, or why to do it. And when you try it, you’re just not very good.

How do you measure success on a cold call?

What is your success rate on the phone?

Are you calling the right person?

Do gatekeepers constantly shoot you down?

Are you asking the right questions?

Do you have an outreach strategy?

Have you turned over control of the call to the prospect?

Have you ever recorded yourself on the phone?

If you’re confused about any of the questions above, you should call someone to help. There is a time and a place for cold calling, and when executed properly it will create the immediate results you need to see real growth and transformation for your company.

Ready to take your business to the next level?  Contact us. We’re here to help.

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