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STOP Cold Calling!

Why is it when the economy tanks, article after article, webinar after webinar, sales strategy after sales strategy promote cold calling as the tried and true prospecting method? STOP cold calling. It’s a total waste of time. Your time. The prospect’s time. And wasting time is stupid. So stop, already.

Welcome to my blog. I will tell the truth and give you my points of view. I will speak out as I haven’t before. This is a forum for ideas, conversation, and dissent (you don’t have to agree with me). I will share with you what I know works in sales. If something that isn’t my area of expertise comes up, I will refer you to the expert.

Repeat After Me: I Will Not Cold Call

I want to scream every time I read one of these cold-calling articles – the authors talk about capturing a prospect’s attention in 10 seconds, crafting a message to reach the decision-maker, navigate through screeners, overcome sales resistance, create voicemail messages that get returned, and have a sales pipeline that can’t be beat. Garbage.

Cold calling is a tactic, duplicitous, not genuine, and it doesn’t work. Cold calling is a total waste of every salesperson’s time. And cold calling authors have the gall to call cold calling an “art.”

Consider the following situations:

  • You call someone because you got their name came from a colleague or friend. Cold!
  • You call someone and then follow up with a letter. Cold!
  • The person’s name came from a specific list. Still cold!

These are all cold calls – the person doesn’t know you and is not expecting your call. Even though you think you’ve been able to avoid sounding like a telemarketer, this type of call is still cold. And cold calling is a numbers game. If you make 100 calls, you’ll talk to about 20 people, schedule 10 sales appointments, and if you’re lucky, close one new deal. That’s a 1 percent return on your time.

Whether it’s direct mail, calling on the phone, knocking on doors to make an in-person sales call, or sending unsolicited email, why would you bother with a sales system that gets such dismal results?
STOP Cold Calling

Not only does cold calling have a low percentage return, those who cold call and those who receive cold calls rarely have a positive attitude about cold calls. Research by Huthwaite® surveyed both sellers and buyers about their attitudes on prospecting:

• 63 % of salespeople say cold calling is what they most dislike about their jobs
• 88 % of salespeople work for companies that consider prospecting important
• 91% of buyers never respond to an unsolicited inquiry
• 71% of buyers find cold calls annoying
• 88% of buyers will have nothing to do with cold callers
• 94% of buyers couldn’t remember a single prospector or message they had received during the last two years

Some authors even suggest that if you cold call the “right way,” you will actually enjoy the process.

Others say that cold calling is a necessary part of every salesperson’s prospecting strategy, and we all should be doing it. Some salespeople say they are new to a job and don’t have clients or are just out of school and don’t know enough people. Excuses, excuses…

Want to succeed in sales? Stop cold calling and adopt the only sales strategy where you are pre-sold, have trust and credibility, ace out the competition, shorten your sales process, incur no sales costs, and get a new client more than 70 percent of the time.

It’s called Referral Sales. Why would you work any other way?

83 Responses to STOP Cold Calling!

  1. Dr. Mary Jean Koontz says:

    Hello Joanne,
    I completely agree with you. Cold calling yields dismal results. As an alternative, people with limited funds buy from those they know/trust best. Why not make a list of the 10 colleagues/friends/family you know/trust best, then call them up and ask them about possible projects/needs for your project or people they might know that need your services. Better, yet, ask them FIRST how you can help them increase their number of clients/customers. For example, a friend of mine who has a “women owned body shop” (great work) asked me to simply bring her cards, pass them out at a breakfast meeting I attend and ask that the cards remain in each person’s car or wallet. I did so and this generated a few new customers for my friend….people never know when they might be in a car accident and need her services.

    Are there any trigger events for your product or services? If so, do you know them and do the RIGHT people know about your product or services….this is a great question to think about.

    Have a great day!

    Dr.Mary Jean Koontz
    San Francisco, CA

    • Art Perry says:

      Dr. Koontz,
      I am wrapping up my first year as a Commercial Insurance Producer. I have had decent success, like others I do not have a huge market of people I know etc. I do B2B prospecting and have made 1000 cold calls this year. Some of my co workers use social media but mostly we are to keep calling. How would your referral system work for someone who has placed 15 policies in the entire year like myself?

  2. Cesar says:

    so how do you start with NOT doing cold calls?
    you still have not given us ways to start the referrall processes.

    • Joe says:

      Agreed. This article makes no sense. You have to meet people when you open a business and it is the fastest way to meet a mass amount of people.

  3. Cesar:
    Start by making a list of everyone you know. Organize your list by the people you know the best at the top.

    My Article: There’s No Such Thing as a Warm Call gives more tips http://www.nomorecoldcalling.com/wp/articles/No_Such_Thing.pdf

    • Jenni says:

      That doesn’t help me at all. Not one connection I have is in the position to get me to speak to the person I want. So if I can’t use my database and I can’t cold call, what should I do?

      • Dev says:

        Do NOT listen to this person!!!! I have a startup and we cold call everyday with 40-50% of companies interested in our product. But you have to do it correctly. Follow what Jeb Blount in Fanatical Prospecting has to say and you will do great.

        RRRRR this makes article makes me mad. You can also cold email. I started by cold emails and had 36% open rate(dismal clicks though) with 2 out of 50 replied with questions about what we do.

    • Rich says:

      If what you sell is not of interest to those you know, then what is the point? NFL, “No Friends Left” come from people who end up abusing their personal contacts.

      • Rob says:

        LOL do all of your friends own pharmaceutical companies? Mine don’t. The end business ( i.e. your medicine ) is of interest to everyone. His and everyone of his alike comments are legitimate. We can’t all work in real estate Rich.

    • I’m here to say it is easier to close a sale with a stranger than someone you know!

      Jimmy Crimmins

      • CD says:


        Just to completely agree with last comment. Those who can do those who can’t criticise – just like in normal life.

        If you need help with your calling I suggest you grab hold of one of the best exponents of the art who sadly died I think earlier just this year.

        Only found this guy on net last year for first time. Look him up his name is Stan Billue. I have just bought a slice of his masterpiece explaining in detail how to convert over the phone. I was offered it for cents on the dollar and even the retail price was a snip. I believe he mentored the great Tommy Hopkins much earlier in his career.

        Worth every penny.


  4. brad says:

    How are new leads acquired without utilizing some form of cold call technique? Hell, you said it yourself that any new customer that calls in is considered a cold call! So how am I supposed to get new business by sitting on my ass and taking orders from already existent customers. I’m not buying what you’re selling at all. I have activated 7 new customers in the past two weeks via cold calling during my free time. I suppose I should have just sat here and daydreamed instead of making money. idiot.

    • Jack says:

      How many times you got told to go?
      Cold Callers should read this: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-20068927

      • Allen says:

        Obviously… those who agree to this article.. wouldn’t fare well in the real business world… some countries survive on cold calls (Philippines and India). The fact that the person wrote this article shows some truth but not entirely. It is a well known fact that cold calls are not effective. Yet again, it is also another well known fact cold calls need not to be effective to obtain sales but can be effective to get information and to plant ‘seeds’ for future ‘prospects’. I hope the author of this article, or whoever who agrees to him, GROW UP.

  5. Trey says:


    Make a list and ask for referrals, that is your grand advice? What if you are a new rep in a new territory? Then just wait until someone knocks on your door?

    The reason why there are so many bad salespeople is because they believe there is a magic bullet, keep selling those magic beans, the rest of us will actually work for a living…

  6. Randolph says:

    Well, I can certainly appreciate your thoughts, but if all you need to do is speak to someone to schedule an appointment, or qualify them as someone you DO NOT want to work with….I have to agree with Trey, referrals are great, but whenever a Financial Services person calls and says they were referred to me by Joe Blow I wonder why Joe gave them my name, and I ASK Joe why he gave my name out?

  7. To Brad:

    I just posted to Geoffrey James’ BNET Sales Machine http://blogs.bnet.com/salesmachine/?p=4365#comments.

    The way Geoffrey defines cold calling is not the way I define it. I never said that any new customer who calls in is a cold call. That is Geoffrey’s definition.

    I define cold calling as calling someone who does not know you and is not expecting your call. It’s an outbound sales calling effort where salespeople or telemarketers are calling from a purchased list or names they’ve been given.

    If someone calls you through a referral, that’s not cold. It’s really HOT! If they took the initiative to pick up the phone or send an email because someone suggested they talk to you, they’re really interested, and most likely, qualified. (You’ll need to decide on that.) As salespeople, we love this kind of sales call. Keep ’em coming!

  8. To Trey:

    Even if you are a new rep in a new territory, people will refer you because of you. People refer those they know, like and trust.

    Making a list and doing nothing accomplishes nothing. Referral selling is a proactive, disciplined process, with specific goals, skills, and metrics. Like anything else, when you work it, it works. If you wait until someone knocks on your door, you won’t have a job for long.

    • Dw says:

      This is BS and a complete formula for starving and going broke and going out of business
      I’m not depending on referrals to feed my son and put him through college!
      You should NEVER be allowed to publish ANY sales advice again !

  9. To Randolph:

    I wonder why Joe Blow gave your name as well. The referral process works when Joe Blow contacts you, recommends the Financial Advisor (and gives list of reasons) and obtains your agreement to speak with him.

    Otherwise, the Financial Advisor is making a cold call. (No introduction) No wonder you had the reaction you did. Show Joe Blow how to make an introduced referral!Tips here

  10. Jeff Esper says:

    I sell technology B2B. I appreciate your suggestions. It would be great not to have to cold call. What I do to offset the cold call stigma is research and planning. When I call, it is informed and relevant to them.

    I secured the largest initial customer in my companies history by cold calling the Chief Revenue Officer repeatedly. After he finally connected me to the right people on his team, the sales process was underway. As it turns out, my solution has transformed their business and it all started from a cold call. The CRO thanked me for my sales effort.

    I call on some of the largest brands in the world. It’s hard to penetrate their armor, but when you do there’s so much to be gained for both parties if there’s a fit. I choose who I want to go after and that gives me a certain level of control. If you work from referrals or leads alone, someone else is choosing your customers for you and there’s no guarantees that a sale will result.

    My approach is simply this:
    Care enough to research
    Care enough to call
    Care enough to have a genuine interest in providing value and/or solution

    When my prospects get the idea that I care, they care. It’s a relationship. It may start cold, but there’s always a chance it will heat up. In the example I gave earlier, my client would still be struggling with the same problem had it not been for my persistence.

    If your attitude is aimed at finding those who need you, cold calling is much more acceptable.

    • Hi Jeff:

      Some salespeople tell me they are successful cold calling. If that works for you, then continue. While your cold calling paid off (“transforming” your client’s business), the question stands in how much TIME it took to ultimately close the deal.

      People who use referrals as their Business Development/Pipeline development method close more business in less time. Consider how much more business you might have closed during the time you spent trying to reach the CRO if you were actively working your referral network.

      I disagree with this statement you made “If you work from referrals or leads alone, someone else is choosing your customers for you and there’s no guarantees that a sale will result.”

      Actually, when you sell through referrals, you ask for the introduction to exactly the person you want to meet. You absolutely choose your customers. And, when you receive a referral introduction, that person wants to talk to you. You shorten your sales process, ace-out the competition, reduce your cost of sales, and convert that prospect to a client more than 50 percent of the time.

      It sounds as if you enjoy the thrill of the chase. Most salespeople do, and so do I, but what I love the most is talking to sales prospects when I’ve been introduced. You really don’t have to cold call.

    • Steve McGarrett says:

      Hi Joanne,

      I appear to be in the minority here regarding my opinion of Cold Calling versus Referral Sales and that’s fine.

      I am of the opinion as the old saying goes, “Whatever Floats Your Boat.” If you find cold calling works for you, then by all means stick with it.

      I too know of sales people who are in favor of cold calling as it has produced results for them. Some of these same folks however are admittedly afraid of trying something different as they fear risking losing precious time with a new methodology and being “called out” by sales management if the cold calling sales metrics have fallen off the table.

      In many cases, sales managers will demand cold calling as part of the required prospecting repertoire thus giving the sales person little choice of abandoning it for some other prospecting methodology.

      But for me, being in sales, sales management, business development and channel management for nearly 35 years, “referral sales” is clearly the way to go…I say again…for me. There is no doubt that your comments below, are absolutely correct, and I quote you below:

      “Actually, when you sell through referrals, you ask for the introduction to exactly the person you want to meet. You absolutely choose your customers. And, when you receive a referral introduction, that person wants to talk to you. You shorten your sales process, ace-out the competition, reduce your cost of sales, and convert that prospect to a client more than 50 percent of the time.”

      The shortening of the sales process is one of the key advantages of referral sales. Once you begin your referral sales pipeline, it grows dramatically. It can start with personal contacts, (friends), prior clients and even prior employers when you had worked for those companies.

      Engendering trust and integrity is key in the establishing of lucrative business relationships and referral sales provides one with a “fast track” through this process.

      Lastly, the recession, joblessness, downsizing and abysmal economy has created a business environment making cold calling more challenging. Employees are often now performing the work of 3 or more people thus the reason why when calling and getting voice mail, you rarely get a call back.

      In a complex IT environment it is very challenging to leave a voice mail message which conveys a compelling value proposition and a sense of urgency within the few allotted seconds or minute of leaving a message. Any message longer than 30 seconds and you risk being summarily dismissed via a “click.”

      But when you have the benefit of a Referral Sale, you are far more likely to be engaged in a dialogue. I know this for a fact as I had employed both cold calling and referral sales techniques and for me, there is no contest…referral sales yields the best results…

  11. Hi Joanne…

    Great article….

    would love to read the article that you mentioned a couple of times:


    …..but the link did not work 🙁

    Thanks for sharing

    Bobby Wallace

    P.S. 90% of my production each month comes
    from referrals!

  12. Vanessa says:

    I seem to have inadvertently got on a list somewhere that is being ciruclated as for the past month I have been receeiving about 10 cold calls a week from financial advisers in the UK. Does anyone know how I can get my name and number removed from whatever data base it may be sitting on? the calls a positively frustrating.

  13. Pingback: Planning Your Follow Up Calls | Sales Force Automation Software : Jesubi

  14. Charles says:

    Hey there,

    I just started working in a packaging company as business development and I’m totally new to the industry and the place (where I work). How should do you reckon I kick start my networking without knowing anyone here?

    Thanks in advance


  15. Hello,
    Let me start by saying that I do not believe that strictly working a referral process can work for all sales situations. For instance, I am a car salesman in a new car dealership, and if I waited for referrals to work I would be eating spam or tuna every night for dinner. I am not saying that a referral system is not a very valuable tool in my industry, however I am saying that it would be impossible to only work off one without already being in business here for 5 plus years. After a while, yes you do accumulate a very large client base that branches off and creates many referrals, but you have to start somewhere to get the first clients. Granted, people come into the dealership who are looking for cars and are doing so because they are genuinely shopping, those are the lambs, the easy sell. However, with all the sales people employed here, it would not be wise to only work off who walks in and what referrals they have to give. Therefore cold calling is a must, without doing the necessary cold calls you would never get as many appointments possible. If you find that I am wrong about this then by all means give me some insight focusing on my industry alone. I would love to hear what you have to say.


  16. Hi Anthony:

    Good point. I am a realist. I know that cold calling still occurs, but the goal is to make referrals more and more and cold calling less and less.

    I agree that you can’t depend on walk-ins, but you can sure add them to your contact list and develop a relationship. I encourage you to make a list of everyone you know from all walks of your life. Find out who they know in your area. Make connections. You must actively work the referral process.

    Buying a car today is viewed as a commodity. You can differentiate yourself by the way you relate to your prospects and stay in touch. Set yourself apart from every other car salesman out there.

  17. Joe Blow says:

    You are an absolute fool. I have done so much business through cald calling. I would never be in the place I am in now without it. So please just because it doesnt work for YOU, doesnt mean other people can’t be successful by doing it. Just an example of silly statistics, over 80% of traders lose money, still there are some that make millions. Hmmmmmm……

    If you think something can’t be done, dont stop those who are doing it…..

    • Stacey says:

      I believe you are commenting on something that SHE wrote. I am surprised anyone would do business with you. She is not stopping anyone from doing anything. Instead, she is offering other ideas, which is imperative to business. You learn, you grow, and you try new things. She has said numerous times throughout her responses, that if it is working for you, don’t stop. She is also able to offer thoughtful and polite feedback for anyone who disagrees. Why the name calling? You have offered your opinion, your method works for you, and I’m sure that someone has taken what you have said in to positive consideration. Maybe you should take the time to actually READ responses and be a positive person, rather than name calling. It is not polite to act like a pest, much like cold calling. By the way, I cold call everyday. I agree with her AND you.

      • Kalyan Allam says:

        Her website says “nomorecoldcalling” ! its like saying “nomore child labour” ! it shows a very strong distaste of cold calling. It sends a very very bad message.

        I am a sales man and I never done cold calling in my last job but recently I joined a IT startup company. I have no friends in this city. All the friends I have do not have the kind of contacts that they can just refer clients to me. So there are only two ways of getting clients for my new start up company. One is directly goto various businesses and hope I meet the right person and talk to them and the other option is cold calling. So I am planning to cold call and doing research on the internet. One of the websites I see in the google search is nomorecoldcalling !!! There are STOP signs all over this website about cold calling. And the last sentence in the article

        ” its called referral sales , why would you work in any other way?”

        As soon as i finish reading it, there was such a dread in my stomach ! I was thinking what the hell am I gonna do ? Is this it for this job ?

        But luckily, I was not stupid and read the comments. Now I feel not so stupid for considering Cold Calling. Just because she says its ok once in a while to cold call when somebody comments on her views, doesn’t make her or this website or this article any right. She should just go ahead and change the name of this bloody website to something positive and remove this article all together.

        One thing I don’t understand. How can such a negative person as herself can get any customers ? Looks like she is one of those pyramid scheme person.

  18. I’d personally favor Google. Both FB and Google would benefit from it, but we would possibly benefit more from Google taking it over. In the case of Google+ it is just a matter of time. Facebook was lucky it didn’t seriously really need to compete with something as “good” as facebook, the competition was just lacking a lot of features along with a global approach.Google+ is excellent to Facebook, however it has a bigger challenge to obtain popular.Just evaluate VHS and Betamax. Betamax was better but lost due to bad marketing/licensing.Danny recently posted..Black & Decker NPP2018 18-Volt Cordless Electric Pole Chain Saw

  19. jeff says:

    Of course an inbound enquiry or referral will be more productive than speaking with someone who has never heard of you, but if you dont have any referrals then your statistics above show that:
    • 37 % of salespeople say cold calling is not what they most dislike about their jobs
    • only 12 % of salespeople work for companies that do not consider prospecting important
    • 9% of buyers may respond to an unsolicited inquiry
    • 29% of buyers don’t find cold calls annoying
    • 12% of buyers will have something to do with cold callers
    • 6% of buyers could remember prospectors or messages they had received during the last two years

    When they’re flipped around they don’t look so bad do they? Over 1 in 3 people don’t mind making cold calls, and 1 in 10/11 calls will give you a chance of drumming up some business when previously you had zero chance.

    Enough to make me consider taking on more staff so that we can cold call, thanks for the information!

  20. Tony says:

    I really love how my comment was removed so I will be even more realistic this time…

    My first client was from making cold calls. My second, third, 4th and 5th client were from cold calls. I cold called a business to ask about their point of sale system and they told me to check it out, I sold them a much much much cheaper priced point of sale system, oh yeah that was a cold call.

    I spent $500 for a direct marketing that was very small yet effective to a little area to see how it goes, I got 200 callers that didnt care, between the 300 left, I got 40 calls who were interested, the rest were wanting to waste my time eat popcorn while they tried to agree to a meeting for a demonstration. I called a mere 1000 calls between that time and 40% of my sales came from those cold calls. OH YEAH I forgot to mention how my business was finally noticed was when I started Cold CALLING.

    Point is, dont go telling people to stop cold calling. It may have not worked for you and just because this a new millennium does not mean cold calling is a dead factor. This article makes absolutely no sense and does not provide any help to any business owners by no means. So if you had a glass of tea from a restaurant and you hated it, would you tell the whole world not to drink Tea period?

    I used to drive around to the “high market” areas and park my car and walk the whole city going to businesses and they hated that to the fullest.I wasnt even selling then, I was just introducing myself and I would get kicked out the door, threats for calling the cops. I was even cussed because some low life before me walked in and tried to sell stolen goods so how that look on me? Well I decided to start picking up a phone book and calling Dallas, Texas and sure enough I have clients and built my trust towards them and vice versa OVER THE PHONE FROM COLD CALLING!

    Now I wake up every morning, pick up a phone book and call businesses in the market of interest for what I do. I now provide DVD demonstrations AFTER TALKING TO THE ON THE PHONE FROM MY COLD CALL to promote my product via this DVD to send them for which they give me the address and go from there.

    I’d appreciate it if this message stayed and get a response back not deleted because you hated it like you hate cold calls.

    • Dhiraj Chawla says:

      Hi, hi really found your comment to suitable and motivating. After reading the article of the author, I got demotivated. Thank for your post… Could you please tell me about some other low budget though beneficial ways for selling of any product/service? (Apart from cold calling and pamplet selling)

    • Right on! I’ve landed Huge accounts from picking up the phone and connecting.

      I love the fact that they all keep spreading that word that Cold Calling doesn’t work.

      What do you call a person who hates to Cold Call?

      Hopefully your competition!

      Jimmy Crimmins/Rockin’ Selling Secrets

  21. cd says:

    Have to agree with last comment. It is not the marketing method but the implementation that is at fault.

    Cold calling is one of the lowest cost forms of marketing there is. It can yield extraordinary results. It works in b2c and b2b marketing very well indeed.

    Problem comes when no or little proper training is given to the one engaging in the activity.

    Sure it has a very bad press indeed but again that is due to it being carried out in a way that creates negativity on the recipient.

    Of course referral marketing is extremely effective as well – when it is organised and used in a systematic approach.

    Cold calling is same – it must be practiced in a strategic way to yield top results.

    I have recently tried to outsource this to outside caller companies with very poor results indeed. Reason is they really were not up to task. So have gone back to using my system and it yet again yields excellent practically zero cost with huge time saving.

    It is easy to get on a hobby horse and deny what others find works. A bit of balance would not come amiss here. Cold calling is effective in business today. It just needs to be handled with care and attention to detail for the results to speak for themselves.

    • Tony says:

      Agreed. Phone call is absolutely free.

      The thing is, people need to get rid of the corporate level written scripts they are used to and write a very very short, to the point 100% TRUTHFUL script speaking in English and use effective and words that benefit their business and what your product does to benefit.

      Never fails, you start to get more qualified contacts not popcorn eaters pretending to want and watch you show off your stuff for an hour and never had intentions to buy.

    • Tony says:

      I also forgot to mention this whole social media mess is out of hand and so washed by the real media… do you really think you will get anywhere with 3000 likes? Does writing a blog pay bills? Jumping on Facebook and LinkedIn never brought me a check. Showing how smart you are(not in a rude way) does not make any business owner in this planet make them want you more.

      Soon as I picked up a phone book and shared my product, I started working like a business should

  22. anthony says:

    this is pretty weak. ask grant cardone if he recommends cold calling. if you’re scared and afraid of rejection don’t do cold calling if you don’t have the nerve to get over it.
    otherwise cold calling is the way to grow a business because persistence pays off

    • Tony says:

      “persistence pays off”

      ^ The Winning Comment in My Book…

      When you are selling something truthfully and not following some sort of corporate script, having persistance and CONFIDENCE and knowing when to shout your mouth and speak up during a sell, it pays off. That comment I quoted wins hardcore! Because of cold calling is why I am darn near doing a large mall full of stores as in one call to the right client from calling everyday turned into 4 clients with multiple stores.

      Anthony you should be the social media blogger, you speak truth!!!

      • cd says:

        dead right here.

        Cold calling is the weapon of choice in any marketplace where the phone is still sitting on the business owners desk or in someone’s home.

        The phone is a direct precision instrument that needs the skill of a surgeon to bring home the bacon in a seriously profitable way.

        Those who can – use it – those who can’t – talk about referrals, social media or go networking!

        • Tony says:

          Agreed, now social media, FOR ME, does not work but im not like this guy saying it doesen’t work for everyone. I’ve tried social media and never got anywhere so I dont even bother and I don’t have the resources to do it so instead of my right a blog trashing about social media not working for no one in the world as I nor anyone knows if it does or not… I choose to be on the phone.

          Networking – Works like a heaven sent charm for me though. I put both of those together(Referrals and Networking) during my sales and even on-site with my client. HENCE, this all started from being on the phone! I make a mere 100 calls a day(because i go out and network too) and it’s a half and half thing and I get results both ways. If I was on the phone making 200+ calls a day “I would be in a new corvette with a cam and headers by now” figure of speech but you know what im saying.

        • Fred Flinstone says:

          Cold calling is for suckers. Both the callers and the respondents.

          It is for people that have no decency or respect for their clients, potential or otherwise. There is no way around it.

          If I could, I’d shove my phone up the cold callers arse when they bother me.

          And, by the way, I’m a C Suite executive, a decision maker, that you all want to get to. I’m free with my words and cutting off the cold calls whenever some slime bag salesman starts with their scripted BS.

          Do yourselves a favor: Get a real job. Or go sell used cars to clientele too stupid to blow you off at the first encounter.

          If you really like sales, and have any respect for yourself, your company, your clients, even your own family, you might want to consider a better approach. Like needs based selling.

          And, if you’re selling to businesses, forget the “get to a decision maker” adage. Large purchase business decisions are usually made by consensus which is most likely based on a cost benefit analysis by several people within the organization. A “decision maker” may bless the purchase. But they didn’t get to their position by making whimsical purchases from sleazy cretins that call pretending to be something they aren’t.

          Sometimes, I think when I retire (soon) I’m going to set up an internet website that publishes the home phone numbers of cold calling sales sleaze like those that have responded here. A good dose of their own bother would do them well.

          Change or die!

  23. Dave says:

    This is really a non informative piece. I am not a big fan of cold calling either, but all this article tells me is the negatives, and offers no solutions. As someone that gets all types of leads to http://www.getfoundmarketing.org in both calling, email and person to person referrals. I say that cold calling is rough, but not dead.

    • cd says:

      just found this post on http://wealthmanagement.com/forums/prospecting-marketing-and-selling/cold-calling-motivationcall-action

      It puts some balance back into this argument doesn’t it?

      Hay – Happy 2013. A lot of you have been reading about and posting notes about cold calling. There are a lot of individual threads and lonely battles going on out there. It’s not easy – but it’s really not hard. As some of you know, I’m knocking out thousands of dials every year. This year will mark my 6th full year in; and I haven’t stopped calling. I get lots of referrals now, but still don’t stop calling. It’s the lifeblood of my practice. The basis of the pipeline. In my practice, I see the pipeline as the single most important asset.
      I see a lot of guys looking for angles. There are no real angles. You have to have a list, a phone and script. What is the best time of day to call? The time of day when you pick up the phone. Who has the best list? You do. If you have a list; it’s the best. Call it. What is the best script? The one that includes your name and asks the prospect if they are interested. Doesn’t the DNC get in the way? Used correctly – the DNC can be a powerful tool. When you find a good prospect is on the DNC – cold walk them, mail them, or ask people for an introduction/referral.

      Today, I knocked out 150 dials – residential. Looking for people who may have interest in a seminar later in the spring. I ran across 4 people who will take the “next step”; accept literature, email, ongoing calls. Took me 2 hours to make the dials; about 20 min to do the follow up. 4 prospects or potential referral sources in 2 hours. Tell me again – please – how cold calling does not work, even in the age of DNC?

      It does work. You have to be disciplined, do it routinely (I did 300 calls during the business week this week and developed 5 other people who will take calls, ongoing drip, etc.).

      Calling back or emailing at least 10 people on your drip list daily – and making 150 cold calls a day is a great way to start your New Year. I have the biggest pipeline I’ve ever had coming into this year – mostly developed from cold calling. You can have your best year yet. Pick up the phone and dial.

      Over the years, I’ve routinely knocked out 3000 – 4000 dials a month. My goal this year is to make 5000 dials a month. I dropped a networking activity that had little result and think I have the time to add the dials. So – I ask you Who would like to join me in making dials? We can make this fun and really gain some headway.

  24. This is one technology that I would love to be able to use for myself. It’s definitely a cut above the rest and I can’t wait until my provider has it. Your insight was what I needed.Thanks

  25. Rebecca Grundy says:

    Many, many cold sales callers do NOT speak up enough ! or slow enough !

    Being hard of hearing, I frequently explain that I cannot hear well and ask the callers to speak up. Guess what ? The cold sales callers hang up on me…the potential customer ! Yes, in this day and age- they hang up rather than speak up and make a sale . Shows the callers’ total ignorance about people with disabilities.

    And for those that do not hang up…why do they talk a mile a minute out of a script ? I cannot hear well enough to catch what these super-fast talkers are trying to sell. They lost me with their verbal speed – and lost the sale.

    Cold sales callers – please think before you call.

  26. Larse Morrison says:

    It’s important to remember that this isn’t a how-to article. It’s a landing page pitching Joanne Black’s products. The irony is that the excellent readers’ comments have motivated me to become a better cold caller. Thanks Joanne!

  27. Devbrath Gautam says:

    Hapy for a min,bt the we dnt ignore actual fact cold calling work and depends on the marketer ability n presence of mind.
    It works if u start it…..

  28. Edward says:

    The blog is flawed and lacks basic common sense. Most referrals are a product of an initial cold call. Any successful person becomes successful because they do things that unsuccessful will not do, that is an undisputed fact. No one enjoys making cold calls including successful people but they do it because it is effective and and an absolute necessity in sales. If you are unwilling to do it you will never be at the same level as the person that does. It also has and always will stand the test of time. A good example is a pharmaceutical rep they build their business by 100% cold calling why? because it works better than anything else. They could and would use other methods but there is nothing more effective. Everyone tries to find an easier less painful way but newsflash..it doesn’t exist. As I write this reply I am looking out at the city skyline from my penthouse and I’m here as a result of cold calling. Of course I work referrals but even after 20 years in sales I still cold call on a regular basis, not because I like it, because it works and because I will do what unsuccessful people won’t do. Not a rocket science by any means, but it is science, the laws of numbers, they work 100% of the time and the only investment is your effort and determination. Remember when you make that sale from a cold call that person respects you because you had the fortitude to show up and made that initial contact and make things happen.Good luck to all.

  29. Leigh-Ann says:

    I cold call a lot and some of my best clients have come from cold calls. It’s all a matter of who you talk to and what you say. Cold calling has built my business?

    • cd says:

      100% agree. In fact have just reconstituted my calling list to continue more effective contacts from here on.

      I call it hot prospecting rather than cold calling and have gained big success relative to time and money ever spent in other less productive directions.

  30. Eric says:

    This is by far the most destructive form of marketing, and destructive form of advice I have EVER seen in sales. Telling people that cold calling is bad and ineffective just so you can market your product is awful.
    1) Jordan Belfort
    2) Grant Cardone
    3) Stephen Schiffman

    Please tell me how these people have made most of there wealth… Which without being too blunt the amount of money they have made off cold calls is more than likely greater than you and all the people who you have trained together….
    this blog should be taken down..

  31. Eric says:

    Also, I may add.
    Your one program is almost $6000.
    I make NOTHING off of recommending this but Jordan Belfort’s Straight Line persuasion program, which is by far the most effective training method I have used (I ACTUALLY increased my sales about 300%) costs one third of her product and he has made more than likely 100x or more what Joanne Black has… and his method includes cold calls.
    Please I am begging no one take this womans advice seriously on cold calls. it will ruin your sales career and remove your ability to have no ceiling on what money you can make.


  32. lucy says:

    100% of my sales have been through cold calling. If we didn’t do cold calling I wouldn’t have a job!

    • Joanne Black says:

      Hi Lucy:

      If what you’re doing work, keep doing it. That’s what I tell everyone. Congrats on your success.

  33. Mark Huffman says:

    I think to article is completely wrong because if your sales pipeline is empty then referrals simply will not work. You need to do a combination of networking, advertising and cold calling to get the sales results that each sales rep is looking for.

  34. Hamish Mackay says:

    This article is a little stupid. How should any new salesman start in a business if he doesn’t build his base up with some cold calling. Of course cold calling is not the only thing you should do in your tool bag but it is definitely needed. People who do not like to cold call say that it is not worth their time. Get on the phone for an hour a day and make cold calls, I guarantee it is worth it.

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    alternatives please?

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  43. Ivan Kennedy says:

    completely absurd i am a registered commodity broker for almost 20 years and in my mid forties only the laconic and distracted looking for shortcuts would adhere to the notion that cold canvasing is ineffective you specifically have had no success cold calling is a more accurate assessment that’s the simple fact I insist you not project your inadequacies toward the unsuspecting novice who simply seeks guidance I have raised an inordinate amount of money in my time soliciting over the telephone in fact I boast about how I’ve never had a real job meaning I’ve only had jobs that involved cold prospecting via the telephone and my dear fellows I can’t guarantee investors make money but I assure you cold calling when done properly is flawless and seamless telemarketing is a disciplined most methodical activity that requires the highest level of concentration I’m right out of the army no college into finance and have supported my family to an acceptable extreme next you’ll be saying is that strictly commission work should be beneath you too I’ve never had a job that involves receiving a base salary nor would I lower myself cheat myself into being lured into taking one I’ve averaged a handsome income per annum most of my career once I familiarized myself with the most effective way to achieve time management and mastered my tactic don’t place less value on the less seasoned less nimble phone solicitors for they set the perfect stage to allow the masters to be distinguished as such in terms of relativity I’ve been a telemarketer for over twenty years but my poor unfortunate insipid incompetents cold calling is the essence of free enterprise do yourself a favor boyos actually take advice from one whose field experience in this arena justifies an informed opinion on this subject matter how dare you you depressed introverts with all your breeding and social agility some may say I’m the aberration or perhaps possess an extraordinary amount of talent I am neither I am driven maybe relentless maybe and perhaps even admittedly clever or conniving I dare say but the fear to address conquer the statistical mean should be overcome for dignity’s sake bottom line is the unsolicited approach is the most facile method one can utilize towards building a business and by the by it’s actually a grand time if you let it be so so believe in yourself like the fly said if you put your mind to it you can accomplish anything so in essence building a business and empire should be difficult once you’re lofty then you can complain about bad service and lack of selection at your favorite restaurant please pardon my trite and bombastic candor and contemplate to action philosophizing is wasteful incidentally for your own edification no one with acknowledged cold calling experience or a background in math has proffered an opinion in this forum so beware I wish you all the best in your endeavors peace and love to the low people and burnouts and if you don’t like my stream of consciousness you are not on my level I leave a white and turbid wake pale waters pale cheeks where’er I sail the envious billows sidelong swell to whelm my track let them but first I pass the whale chapter 37 sunset abhor or adore my vacuous profundities gentlemen…

  44. I could NOT disagree with this article more. I am in wealth management and cold calling is the most #1 effective way to build any business. We brought in $350mm in net new assets in a 5-6 year time frame. If we can be successful getting high net worth individuals to turn over assets they have worked their entire life for and trust us to take care of them, their family and their legacy I would think that cold calling a business can be done as well. Cold calling is more effective, has less overhead cost and more opportunity cost for the rep. Most importantly is learning to reach the decision maker. Take the time to do the research and go the extra miles needed to be successful and contact the right person.

  45. Hey, nice article. I respect your opinion about cold-calling. Well I must say that others have their own opinion on to use cold-calling or not. This is their way on how to generate leads. Nevertheless, everyone’s opinion must be respected. Thanks for this insight.

  46. Steve I says:

    Interesting article, I’ve relied on referral marketing for a long time for my design agency have never really tried cold calling. I think for most non-sales staff there’s more fear in doing it and therefore adopt more modern practices such as Social Media, emailers which I personally think have become saturated and bothersome for most company owners.

    When I initially read this I thought maybe cold calling wasn’t the best idea but having read through some of the comments I think it’s obvious so see that it works for some and not others. I think it makes sense to try both referral and cold calling and at least know wether they do work for your business or not.

    I’m actually really keen to try now!!

  47. Ron Anderson says:

    I agree with the originator of this article, and even moreso because i personally consider sales to be one the lowest forms of human endevour. These people have not created a product in any way, no design, no testing, no development. no manufacturing, no stocking and no shipping. I was once hired by a company to do nothing but tag along with our sales people to client meetings so as to keep our idiot sales staff from promising things to the customer that our products couldn’t deliver. I would really like to put a 45 to the temple of these people and make pretty brain splatter paintings on the wall beside them!

  48. Bharath Gopalan says:

    Wonderful post! We will be linking to this particularly great article on our website. Keep up the great writing.
    make better sales calls

  49. George says:

    If cold calling was stopped then you’d put 3% of the working population of the UK out of work, and for most it’s all they know. I don’t know if the percentages are similar in US but it would still be a hell of a lot of people out of work for what is only a minor nuisance. Your website/ campaign is totally stupid/ unrealistic. I know it’s probably a hard concept for a lot of you to grasp, but it’s the 21st century and there is work outside of the coal mines now. So my point is… Get over it you selfish bunch of miserable sad people. Little pointer for you though, be polite, take 30 seconds to listen to them and tell them how there service isn’t applicable to you and you won’t receive the call again instead launching a scathing attack and treating them as subhuman. Any good cold caller will only see you as a challenge for a sale if you are abusive, as would I, I would personally return the call to the maximum possible amount before it is considered illegal, which for my company is 15 times.

  50. so sorry says:

    These stats are great! Those are huge margins supporting why cold calling is so effective

    • 91% of buyers never respond to an unsolicited inquiry
    • 71% of buyers find cold calls annoying
    • 88% of buyers will have nothing to do with cold callers
    • 94% of buyers couldn’t remember a single prospector or message they had received during the last two years

  51. James Vincent says:

    You nailed it dude. The person who wrote the article doesn’t know how to prospect. If you have a good understanding of the customers most likely to benefit from what you’re offering, and you can deliver a customized value proposition that shows you understand their organizational goals and industry, and you’re talking to the right person, they WILL talk to you and are likely to meet with you as well. People don’t respond to BAD calls, but GOOD, relevant, and skilled phone calls are absolutely essential to grow a business. Done properly, it produces a predictable and consistent revenue funnel. It’s not a numbers game like she said.

    She’s trying to sell her own sales system by tapping into the fear and call reluctance of most sales people. Notice how there are no factual statements in the article, just her opinion. Certainly not a basis for backing up her claims about the ineffectiveness of calling or the repeated admonitions to stop, or else you’ll be committing career suicide. Absolute rubbish. If you rely on networking and referrals exlusively, esp at the beginning stages of a sales position, you’re gonna starve.

    Networking is great as a way to find prospects; but even with that, there’s a greater chance that the referrals aren’t a good fit. Warm, cold, doesn’t matter!! If you can’t solve their problem, they won’t buy. Instead, find the ones who are most likely to be a great fit and call them.

  52. Barry says:

    Totally disagree, Ive been a salesman in the financial industry for 20 years. Ive built amazing client relationships by cold calling complete strangers. Yes, it is not a balanced ratio of success….but it absolutely works

  53. Erin says:

    I’m glad to see that people are disagreeing with this post. It makes no sense and is a discouraging piece if you’re starting out. You have to start getting clients somehow and convincing friends to use your “new” services can be uncomfortable. Yes, cold calling has a lower conversion rate than referrals, but you need at least a small base to start getting referrals. I think after you have established yourself, asking for referrals is an effective thing to do and eventually you may not even have to ask, but until then I’m pretty sure cold hard hustling (pun intended) is what needs to happen.

  54. toxinhead says:

    No you don’t, you tell them to stop cold calling?

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