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June 12, 2022

Cold Call Selling. The Truth. Really.

I hope this helps someone.

Cold calling is selling. It isn’t what you do before selling…it’s selling.

The vast majority of people are terrible at it. Just like the vast majority of people that try acting…or stand up comedy…are terrible at it.

Cold calling has no built in crutch. Are you calling past customers? That isn’t cold calling. Are you calling people who gave you their phone number for further information? That isn’t cold calling either. In these situations you have a huge crutch that helps you out.

Cold calling on the phone is the process of calling highly resistant people…that are used to hanging up on cold callers…and are busy, and don’t want to talk to you.

Sound like fun?

I’m going to give you two truths that you may disagree with. But you would be wrong.

You need a great script written by someone who knows how to sell at high levels.

I know…I know….you don’t like scripts… Then you will fail, and blame the cold calling process. All great salespeople use scripts. No, they aren’t reading the script into the phone. But they know exactly what tey are going to say, the inflection and tone they will say it in, and know exactly how to answer the few most common questions they will get.

Top phone people use scripts. Why? Because nobody is at the top of their game 24 hours a day. And a script will keep you from saying the 99% of statements that will kill a sale. Believe me, you aren’t as fascinating as you think you are. We simply can’t be consistently brilliant by winging it.

I’ve been selling at high levels for 40 years. I always know exactly what I’m going to say before I say it. No, I’m not reading it off a page…it’s memorized and internalized….just like actors do…just like stand up comics do.

Here’s something else you should know. The vast majority of people that try cold calling..are going to fail. Why? They sound terrible on the phone. Are you engaging? Can you sound completely interested in what the person is saying, even though you have heard it 10,000 times before? That’s acting. And you don’t get that skill on day one. It takes quite a lot of practice…with a proven script written by a high producing salesperson…..and then you’ll probably fail still.

When you call, all you have is;

Your script.
Your personality (or your ability to produce a fake personality)
Your tone, cadence, and ability to be interesting…and interested…or at least be able to fake that convincingly.
Your list, and any relationship you have to that list.

Sure, selling is a “numbers game”. But if you are terrible at it, those numbers are soul crushing. And the default position is always “Terrible at it”.

Please….please don’t come to this forum with a sales script you just made up…and ask us “What am I doing wrong?” It’s just too painful for us salespeople to read.

It’s like trying to save a man that has been stabbed in the chest, and you are using a plunger…and you are asking us “What am I doing wrong?”….Well, to start with, you have no medical training, a plunger isn’t going to help you.

And we say “You need to become a doctor before you treat people” and you say “I don’t believe in all that “medical training”…saving lives is a Numbers Game. And I don’t feel natural doing rehearsed medical procedures…so I’ll just wing it”.

Does this mean you cannot make money cold calling prospects that are completely unaware of who you are? No.

But if you start out with no training, …no script (a professionally written one, not one you cobbled together from forum posts), and no connection to your list, you’ll almost certainly fail. By that I mean you’ll quit pretty quickly.

If you really want to learn how to cold call, get a job at a company that sells something over the phone. Do it for 6 months. You’ll either get good at it…good enough to make it work on your own…or you’ll quit.

I actually talk about cold calling, and other methods of highly productive sales prospecting in my book...Sales Prospecting. I hope you read it.