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speakingIn personal selling, cold calling is the process of approaching potential clients by telephone, who have not agreed to such an interaction. The word “cold” is used because the person receiving the call is not expecting the call or has not specifically asked to be contacted by the sales person. It is often very frustrating and difficult for those making cold calls because they are often rebuffed, hung-up on and rejected by those receiving the calls. It could be said that it is equally frustrating for the person receiving the cold call, since they expected something they care about, and instead get a marketing pitch.

Some sales people have come to the conclusion that cold calling is ineffective, inefficient and a waste of their time. Others have tried to develop techniques to lower the rate of rejection. These approaches are based on the idea that the purpose of the call is not to make a sale, but to build trust and discover the truth about whether there is a good match between the potential client and product or services offered.

There are a number of ways in which cold calls can be effective. One is for the selling organization to start with a high quality, up-to-date database consisting of qualified potential clients that have an interest in the product being sold. Another is to use cold calls as a “step in the door”. Rather than using the call to try to close a sale, it is used as the initial contact in a long-term relationship. This has the effect of removing the sales pressure from calls and making the goal of the call to build trust.

Situation 1

Kyle Brant is a salesman who calls two companies to try to set up a meeting. Notice how he introduces himself. Notice also how he find his “way in,” his connection to make what he’s selling more appealing to the potential customer.

Let’s listen in as Kyle first calls a busy customer who has no time to meet with him. How does the customer respond to his request for a meeting? Was the call a complete waste of time or was this the first successful step in building a relationship with this potential customer?