The Sales Lie I Wish Was True

The Sales Lie I Wish Was True

“Cold calling is dead.”

If you’re around sales people, you hear this sentiment a lot. You hear it at the water cooler. You hear it at networking events ⎯ it’s frequently a thesis statement for blogs and articles.

And maybe it’s true. After all, you’ve been in sales for six years, and you’ve never closed a piece of business from a cold call. Not one! The leads you get from the website close. Inbound leads close. Referrals close. Cold calls just don’t.

But what if you’re just not any good at making cold calls? Or worse, maybe you don’t even make them in the first place.

The truth is, it would be nice if they didn’t work.

Who likes making cold calls anyway?

Almost no one.

We spent our entire childhood hearing statements like:

“Don’t talk to strangers!”

“Stop asking so many questions!”

“Don’t be so nosy!”

“It’s impolite to talk about money!”

And so these statements became beliefs.

Fast forward many years later, and you hear: “Congratulations, you’re hired! You start Monday as our new regional director of business development. Here’s your office, there’s your phone. Now call a bunch of strangers, ask them a bunch of questions, and find out if they have any money.”

Now these beliefs have become self-limiting. So we show up to work on Monday and are surprised to find that the phone weighs 600 pounds and we’d rather clean our desk twice, organize the paper clips, and restock the copier than to do our prospecting behavior.

I’m going to let you in on a secret: I don’t like making cold calls. But, do I still make them? You bet. Why?

Because they work. And they work well. In fact, they now work better than ever.

80% of your competition has bought into the belief that “cold calls don’t work.” And the 20% that are making a few cold calls are not good at it.

Your prospects are sitting around, counting their money and they either don’t hear from your competitors at all, or they get bad cold calls. And best yet (for us, at least), the cold calls they do get are usually from scam artists!

So, how do we get those prospects to listen?

Place the cold call. Set an expectation of time up front (at most, you want five minutes of their time). Disclose the topic. Give the prospect the option of hanging up ⎯And all the while, remain emotionally detached, actively listen, and don’t beg.

Do this, and you bet they’ll listen.

(And if you’re not doing this, maybe it’s time to talk to someone who could help with that?)

Although I have lived a relatively charmed life, I have been in several serious car wrecks. I have broken bones, dislocated joints, and had surgeries. I have even been punched in the face by a stranger.

But do you know the worst that’s happened to me on a cold call? I heard the word “no.”

Guest post by Rob Lime, Lushin

Rob Lime is a sales/sales management consultant, coach, and trainer. He helps entrepreneurs, CEOs, and individual sales professionals achieve greater sales results. Rob typically assists in the areas of prospecting, shortening the sales cycle, improving closing ratios, margin protection, and account retention.


  1. Reply

    Cold calling isn’t dead. But the practice needs to evolve. If you’re still dialing random people, you’re probably not going to do well.

    First, try to identify a person that you know at the company. If you can’t, try to get a name. Look them up online. See who you know in common. Figure out if there is something you can say that will help build rapport.

    Second, make sure you have an objective for your call. If it’s to get an appointment, then state that clearly. If you want permission to send material, that’s fine as well. But you can’t be calling just to call.

    And third, recognize that the purpose of a cold call is ultimately to make future calls to that person warm. Smile, be kind, and accept what happens!

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