Tweak Your Biz

Home » Sales » If We’re Not Selling When Making Cold Calls, Why Are We Making Them?

If We’re Not Selling When Making Cold Calls, Why Are We Making Them?

If Businesses are viewing ‘cold calling’ as a sales activity that they don’t wish to do they are gravely mistaken… If they are not doing some sort of sales activity in the genre then they are missing an important part of their business growth..

Cold calling is a term that sends shivers down most sales peoples spines. And since my last blog it has become apparent that businesses and consumers alike find it horrific to do and horrific to receive.

Mindset needs to change!

It needs to be seen as Business Development and needs to be given serious time or at some point your business WILL stagnate. It was argued to me that ‘almost all prospective clients will contact you’… REALLY???


The how here is how do they know you are there? Yes you advertise, you have your website, you have your Facebook Page you have your Twitter account, your newsletter, your marketing and previous clients/customer lists. Business is great… It can always be better…

I will take the example of a business that is in the maintenance industry. They have contracts with several business/clients… Contracts go to tender… Including theirs when the time is up. They could sit and not cold call, [by the way I prefer the term business development], wait for the prospective clients to come to the door. Sure, that could work?!?!


As I have previously written, make these calls to introduce yourself as a business that could be of use to that prospective client. Clearly, if you fix air conditioning there is no need for you to call someone who doesn’t have air conditioning. This is where you have put research in before you make calls. Ask questions that could help you and them in the future.

Who does your air conditioning? They will tell 98% of the time

Do you have a direct number? Again happy to give a good percentage of the time, the person on the other end will be happy to pass call onto person equiped to deal with call.

When would be a good time to contact them? You are showing you are interested to call them at an appropriate time

When is your current tender up for review? If you are speaking with the person who deals with the tenders, they will be happy to give you a date, usually 3 tenders are necessary for contractual work so it makes their job easier than having to look you up… This is my personal favourite, why wait for them to contact you… You could be 4th on page one of Google, so the day they do their business development looking for contractors, the first three agree to tender and they never get to you on the list…

Now, another Science bit!

Are your staff trained to take these business development calls? When we answer a phone we have a few natural reactions, we respond to differently to who ever is on the other end, our mum with love, our accountant nervously 🙂 a client with care, you get the drift here… When we get a voice we have never heard before we can be defensive and forget we are in business, we think we are handling the call by gruffly moving the conversation as quickly as possible, not listening and ending it so we can get on with our days work… Possibly missing vital information that could save your business money and get you better service in the future.

Social Media Vs Cold Calls

Recently Social Media  has made making initial connections easier for you, once you have connected appropriately  but you need to take those connections to the next stage. You could be told everyday on Twitter that your Business is great and “we must meet for coffee” but it never actually happens. Your employees need to know how to move these connections on effectively, usually a Warmish/Cold Call is the next step.

Business Development Vs Cold Calls.

We are in Business to grow Business, the average ‘cold call’ [business development call] takes between one and five minutes, if its going to the five+ minutes a business connection is being made… How bad 12 calls in an hour, conducted politely and effectively, our caller and prospect have been part of mutual business development.

We need to change the term of cold calling to business development… This isn’t coming from a sales person this is coming from a business owner, it’s very short sighted to see cold calling as not necessary for business… It has to be undertaken effectively, it must be partnered with research to get qualified results, and those results are not necessarily sales, but information to give you basis for future business. We need to train our employees and ourselves in effective methods of research & business development…

Cold Calling has become a dirty word, a put a coin in the swear box word… But it is necessary for business, we need to accept that to grow as businesses we must reach out and connect in a relevant, researched and effective mannor. Do you think you could make those calls now?

Image: “man making or ending the call/Shutterstock

The Training and Up-Skilling of your team, whether it is just you a Sole-Trader or you and a team of 200 is vital in the development of your Business. I have worked for over 15 years in Traditional Sales & Direct Sales spheres; I advanced from being a Direct Sales Agent to becoming a Business Development Manager involved in the Recruitment and Training of other Direct Sales Agents. I have developed Sales Training Programs that are effective and fun, bringing Sales Teams together up and down the country. Because I have worked in a Sales and Customer Service capacity for over 15 years, in both the retail and direct sales environments, I have learned vital techniques that can establish Customer & Sales Agent behaviors. This has allowed me a great understanding of Sales Processes. I have gained valuable experience in all aspects of Sales, Sales Training and Customer Service: Sales Pipeline Establishment and Development, Objection Handling, Closing Sales, Business Development, Networking, Customer Service, Complaint Handling, Complaint Resolution, Training and Education of Sales Agents.

Similar Articles
  • Hi Tori, I find Twitter great for introductions and starting to build the relationship, but as you say, unless you are prepared to take online connections into a real world setting (meet up for coffee etc), their value remains limited.  

  • Tori Hawthorne

    That’s so true Niall,

    It is brilliant Niall, twitter introduced me to you 😉 Its the moving it forward that takes the time and skill. Everyone is so determined to have Social media as part of their Business Plan they need to be sure they know how to get a return on the time spent Tweeting and Facebooking 😉

    Thanks for your comment Niall


  • Steve Fitzpatrick

    If you’re making statements like “it has become apparent that businesses and consumers alike find it horrific to do and horrific to receive.” Then businesses really need to think about how much they are annoying people – more than helping them. Cold calling could be damaging your business more than building it.

    This whole article seems to be written about how businesses who are doing well using new mediums shouldn’t throw out old redundant ways of selling. Perhaps in your next article you may want to write about “increasing market share by paying for a much larger ad in the Yellow Pages for the 10 people left reading it”

  • Torihawthorne

    Hi there Steve,

    I am not for one minute suggesting Businesses that are doing well using new mediums should drop them for what you are suggesting is old and ‘redundant’
    This is about adapting methods that traditionally worked (and still do when done correctly) to working within a new faster paced environment… 

    Business and customers alike have difficulty with Cold Calling because some of the aggressive manors and approaches that cold callers have decided to use in recent years. Cold calling isn’t redundant it has evolved into Business Development, which is something that I know many still do.

    And It isn’t that Cold Calling doesn’t work this is about remembering that we still need to move from initial contact to meeting prospective clients. As I stated in this and the last blog post, this is Business Development that is still needed. I know many small Businesses that cant afford a small advert in the Yellow Pages (or similar), let alone a large one! So they chose Business Development calls. I am addressing the point to go about it correctly so it isn’t ‘horrific’.
    Thanks so much for your comment…

    Much appreciated

  • You’re missing a key point here.

    Regardless of the point of your cold call (and I’m limiting that term to mean “picking up the phone to reach out to a stranger”), it’s become nigh on impossible to get to people that way. Even people you know don’t pick up the phone any more.

  • Torihawthorne

    I believe calls are being answered. Businesses are afraid to miss possible business opportunities. The point here is we need to gain the skill set to make Business Development Calls and how to receive them. We have to get their attention and that’s where a good online plan can help taking prospects and making them sales.
    Thanks so much for your comment

  • A hugely interesting read, especially as posts like this can bring out the best and worst in us as business owners. Certainly for me today, your points are very valid and make a lot of sense.

    I do believe that in todays world of business in Ireland, it certainly makes sense to meet and greet, even if that is initially online. If we can get from cold to even luke-warm, that is the beginnings of a relationship (which is a 2-way process) and veers away from polite spamming or perceived stalking 🙂

    Thanks Tori 

  • Tori, your point is well put; to be good at sales you need to actually BE good at sales. But … I’m afraid I disagree with the base principle. Seriously, think about it; we ALL say “email me”, and only answer the phone live if we think there’s something in it for us (and rarely do)

  • Torihawthorne

    Maybe Jeff,
    But in my experience we need to take that “email me” further… I’m not advocating pestering pointless cold-calls, I’m talking about Researched Business Development. I believe we cannot build Business on email alone..
    Its a great topic for discussion, thanks for responding back
    Tori 😉

  • Torihawthorne

    Hi there Elaine,
    Online mediums have made connecting so much easier, but that’s where we as Business owners need to move them on to building a business relationship.
    I like “polite spamming or perceived stalking” 😉 My next Blog is about how peoples perceptions have a lot to do with how Business Development is being received.  

  • What a great post, Helen! Talk about making me see spreadsheets in a new light 🙂

  • Helen – you make me smile. I’ve too many horror stories to share:).  I realized some time ago the necessity to have my formulas checked – and then the input performed by those who love to work on spreadsheets and accounting software.  You have a great talent for this and I applaud you for it – as well as explaining in layman’s terms how to monitor otherwise simple errors.  Thanks.

  • Lewis

     Elaine, I don’t really get your example 🙂 Of course 50 is the right answer to the formula. So that would be an incentive in the use of spreadsheets, or what? 🙂
    We also get LOTS of mistakes with spreadsheets. I mean, mistakes are bound to happen, even with the best of us. Everybody gets distracted or tired sometimes and either you get someone to double check somebody else’s work and someone to triple check that or you have to deal with a margin of error. That said, basic training should be required in every company where Excel or such are largely used (the most of them, actually), which unfortunately doesn’t happen very often.

  • Hi Lewis,
    You are reading the formula one way. Imagine if you wanted to add 20 and 15, and then multiply the result by 2? Basic mathematics and understanding the syntax of a formula would alert us to apply brackets to the aspect of the formula we wish to have calculated together ie. =(20+15)*2 this will return the correct answer of 70. However, if someone does not know or understand these simple principles, they will receive the incorrect result (50) and may not think to check it at all.

    This is such a common yet fundamental issue, I see it in training every day. Precedence in formulae needs to be taught, thankfully this is becoming less of a problem over time. You have hit the nail on the head “basic training should be required in every company…” the very ones to slip through the net are small business owners.

  • Thanks for your illustration and comments Elaine. Maths does indeed let a lot of people down. However, it should be noted almost all of the mistakes I have cited in my article were made in very large organistions by highly trained people. In fact, one of the mistakes was made by a person holding a degree in Maths and Computer Science and who is a trainer at expert level in MS Office Products including Excel.Scary isn’t it?~ Helen

Featured Author
© Copyright 2009-2018, Bloggertone LLC. All rights reserved.