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Why Companies Hate Sales People Who Cold Call

Guest Blog by Kelley Robertson

The 6 reasons you should change your cold calling sales behavior.

old wall-mounted telephoneBring up the subject of cold calling with a group of sales people and you are assured of a lively conversation as they lament about the challenges associated with this task.

There is no question that it is difficult to connect with the right person in a company. It can be frustrating dealing with gatekeepers, receptionists, and executive assistants. Not to mention that decision makers seldom return voice mail messages. And, if you happen to connect with them, they often brush you off before you get a chance to tell them about your product or service.

Let’s turn the tables for a moment and take a look at cold calling from a company’s perspective. Here are six reasons why many companies hate sales people who cold call:

  1. The sales person is uninformed. While people in sales will argue that one purpose of a cold call is to gather information about the company, employees in that organization will tell you that calls like this only demonstrate that the caller is uninformed and ill-prepared.
  2. The call is an unwelcome interruption. Virtually every cold call is an interruption and because most employees are extremely busy, the calls are unwelcome interruption. Certainly, some people will say that if you don’t want to be interrupted that you should not answer your telephone. However, when the call originates from an inside extension, the natural impulse is to answer the call. This leads us to our next point.
  3. The sales person uses manipulative tactics to make contact with the decision maker. Because of the challenges associated with cold calling many sales people resort to using a variety of tactics to connect with the key decision maker. These can include asking for a different department and then asking to be transferred or misrepresenting who they are or the reason for their call.
  4. The company has no use for the product or service that is being pitched. Some sales people will say that the purpose of their call is to determine whether or not their product or service is applicable to the company they are calling upon.
  5. The sales person refuses to take no for an answer. Certainly persistence is an essential sale skill. However, hanging on like a pit bull and refusing to take no only serves to piss off the other person. And any chance you had of meeting or connecting with that person goes down the drain.
  6. The sales person is rude to the receptionist, gatekeeper or executive assistant. Too many sales people treat the gatekeeper with disdain or like a second-class citizen. These individuals fail to realize that many gatekeepers can influence with whom the decision maker meets.

So, what does this mean for you, the sales professional? It means that you have an uphill battle if you rely on cold calling to build your business. It means that you should employ alternate – more productive, successful – methods, such as networking and referrals.

Kelley Robertson, author of The Secrets of Power Selling helps people master their sales conversations so they can win more business. Kelley conducts sales training workshops and speaks regularly at sales meetings and conferences. Contact him at 905-633-7750 or Kelley@Fearless-Selling.ca.

Do you know what sales blunders are costing you money? Get a FREE audio program, Sales Blunders That Cost You Money and two other sales-boosting resources by subscribing to Kelley’s newsletter at www.Fearless-Selling.ca or email Kelley@Fearless-Selling.ca

31 Responses to Why Companies Hate Sales People Who Cold Call

  1. I appreciate your insight as our sales people have to cold call to get leads. We call on new business owners and try so hard not to impose, infringe or disrupt their busy schedule. Only knowledgeable sales people are allowed on the phones so that all questions can be answered right there on the spot. I will certainly subscribe to your newsletter for additional information to reach the people we need to reach without making them angry. http://www.accwir.com, thanks, Susan

  2. John says:

    The first point is the main reason why I can’t stand people who cold call me. They will literally call and pitch the exact services that my company provides! Completely uninformed and a complete waste of my time.

  3. Elmarie says:

    Interested to look at alternatives for cold calling.

  4. I cold call Construction/remodel/home service pro companies to sell them business managemnt software. I MIGHT get hung up on once a month (and get upset when it happens too!). All of these cold call errors mentioned can be avoided by hiring sales PROFESSIONALS. People with experience, who understand the dynamics of the businesses they are calling…..

    • Hi Mike:

      I always welcome different points of view on my blog. It’s your choice whether to cold call or not. I always tell people that if what they’re doing is working, keep doing it.

      However, if you tried a systematic process for reaching out to your customer base to ask them for referrals, they’d be glad to help. You would receive an introduction, no one would ever hang up on you, you’d close business faster, and reduce your cost of sales.

      It’s worth a shot if you haven’t tried this approach already.

      • danilo rainone says:

        voice tones,these,are often present in the brainless rep,who nonetheless make base & commission regularly,he paraphrases the script,sometimes lies,,leading some owners to conclude,’anyone can do this job if they want to’,conversely,the guy with less than optimum tones,can try like the devil ,have great knowledge,general talkitiveness,a nice spiel,and seldom make but a few cold closes a day,company turnover accounts for the biological aspect,,in the main sales room where i spent about 4 years,,a fellow with a sales #,,338 separating us,,meant,,338 sales guys were trained,given from a few weeks to 6 months,never fired but quit when they figure out it’s never going anywhere.,,also,,the employer saves himself unemployment claims.
        among those who quit,were reasonably intelligent,, some had no will to do the work,a lot made effort that meant skinny paychecks compared to the high closers.

        the voice,,sells opera,pop music,makes revs for am radio stations,,,likewise over telephone lines,the industry turnover ought to tell owners something’s being missed,your top selling shift managers may be looking at it all wrong.
        rcas’VOICE OF HIS MASTER 78 rpm records of years ago,are the clue..doggies ears perk up,head twists when hearing the boss’s voice,,same in the sales room,same over the telephone,,use a ten octave sound eq between the reps mouthpiece,and the line amplifier

        • danilo says:

          I have worked for private and state ‘certified’ charities,thousands of cold calls,between my sales number,and one guy I worked alongside for a year or so,,were 338 guys,,each
          having been ‘trained’ by a salaried guy who never made a single call,or closed a sale,
          what did the guys do wrong after working a few days,or a week,then no cal no show,
          what did the hard hitting sales reps have,enabling them to earn 5 number bi weekly paychecks??
          chops,voice tones,like guys on radio have,who remain on radio for 20-30 years,
          the turnover in telemarketing ,to the owners ,is a cost of doing business,a matter of course respect to turnover.,the few sales the newhires make,get fed to the closers to bump up & get more money out of.
          It could be kleia,your boss did not want another queen bee in the hive,if the company has a facebook posting,,set your experience down as you put here.

          undoubtedly,my renewals still sit in company filing cabinets,relics from the 90s for subsequent sales reps to call up 2x a year

  5. Larry says:

    Check it out….we can help

  6. Char says:

    I, as Bookeeper for a small manufacturer – get outside cold calls all the time from companies trying to sell A/R collection services.

    Three mistakes 99.99% of these sales people make:

    1. Cold calling to a prospect and opening the conversation by addressing me by my first name. With me, I prefer that people that I do not know address me as “Mrs [last name]” .
    2. Talk a mile a minute in their presentation . Slow down !
    3. Refuse to take “not interested ” as an answer.

    • Lynn says:

      Any good salesman would refuse to take not interested as an answer

      • Dixie says:

        I disagree that refusing to take “not interested” as an answer makes you a good sales person. What makes a good salesperson is one that knows how to generate business in the year 2017. The only calls I respond to are the ones where the sales person is polite and requests an email where they can send their information. I am happy to provide that. If they make an effort to send an email, I make sure it is seen by the relevant party, and if the person is respectful I will actually encourage our people to do business with them. We like to do business with honest, respectful, easy to work with people. I love to see the vendors who are witty and creative with their emails. We have one guy who sends us a joke at the beginning of each email. I always pass it on to give my coworkers a laugh for the day.

        Here is what will get you banned from ever doing business with us:
        1. Talking down to the Gatekeeper. In response to “What can I tell them the call is regarding?” if you say I want to have an executive level conversation” (as if to say the gatekeeper is unimportant and I will not be speaking with you, clearly you are not worthy) I will tell you what I have been authorized by management to say. “I am making the executive decision to have you remove our name from your call list” Do not ever disrespect the gatekeeper!!! He or she has more power over whom the company will do business with than you realize.
        2. Be evasive about who you are and why you are calling giving one word responses and end every reply with a dismissive “Thank You!” as though to curtly try to intimidate the person into transferring you. This is 2017-no man or woman will be intimidated by you, no matter what position we hold in the company. We are a team and function together. Do that to me and you are guaranteed to be blacklisted (and yes we have lists!)
        3. Start your conversation with some chatty conversation about the weather, vacation, it’s Monday whatever. No one likes to be schmoozed, no one! Quit treating us like idiots. I answer phones for almost two hundred people. Be quick and to the point. I don’t know you, I’m not your best friend, I have to move on quickly because answering phones is only a microscopic piece of what I have to accomplish in my day. I’m managing banking, shipping, and any number of things that you feel are unimportant. Respect the other person on the other end of the phone and they will respect you.
        4. Lie. I had a man call and lie that he was installing cabinets for my boss and that he was told if he ever lost his cell phone number that he should call me to get it. Wow! again do you really think I’m that stupid? Even if I had been dumb enough to be unsure of the truth in it, if I call my boss and tell him his cabinet guy is on the phone and he doesn’t have a cabinet guy, he will blacklist this person forever. You have shown that your business practice is to be dishonest. We won’t do business with someone who will lie to us.

        In short, if your techniques would annoy you, then they probably annoy us. Why would you want to annoy the person you want to do business with? If you must call, then show us you understand how busy we are and ask for the best method to reach out to us.

  7. I got really annoyed with 4 to 5 calls a day. Then I tried this for free and found out who it was. It works! http://bit.ly/129psSr

  8. Andrea says:

    I can’t stand the cold callers that I get at work. Misrepresent is a polite way of saying they lie. I have had people claim everything to they are delivering a shipment to using bogus names of employees who don’t work here. I had one this morning trying to get transfered to bogus extentions and then oh so politely asking what the correct one was. Even though I was courteous and polite she hung up as soon as she dragged a tidbit of information out of me.

    I have other things I need to be doing and actual calls that I need to take. I shouldn’t have to give all my callers the third degree so I can help them.

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  10. Tom says:

    Come on guys. Yeah, I know getting business through referrals and networking is the ideal way to get contacts, but that will only get you so far. Cold calling is a necessary evil when trying to grow a business. Your selling a different process, and if cold calling does work, then it devalues what you are selling.

  11. Kleia says:

    Regrettably, as an immigrant aged seventeen with few job prospects in a steadily declining economy, I was once forced to take on a job as a telemarker, making cold calls. I was actually really good at it. On my first day, I booked five appointments on my first day. But on my third day there I was fired – because I’d failed to beat my first day’s “record” (at the time, the supervisor told me that she’d never seen anyone make five appointments on their first day without prior experience). I have no idea why she then fired me – everyone has their bad days and I was working on commission only, so I wasn’t being paid a salary – but fortunately I found a more secure job that very same day.

    During my postgraduate studies I partook of some warm calling work. I was rather good at that, too. You have to think on your feet and be prepared to answer any objections truthfully and openly with the aim of steering the employee back to your initial request. It’s hard work – even warm calling is hard – and it’s definitely not for everyone. If I begin my own business in the future I certainly won’t be engaging in cold calling unless I can afford to hire sales professionals to do this work for me. Although I was good at it I did not find it enjoyable at all.

    • danilo says:

      I have worked for private and state ‘certified’ charities,thousands of cold calls,between my sales number,and one guy I worked alongside for a year or so,,were 338 guys,,each
      having been ‘trained’ by a salaried guy who never made a single call,or closed a sale,
      what did the guys do wrong after working a few days,or a week,then no cal no show,
      what did the hard hitting sales reps have,enabling them to earn 5 number bi weekly paychecks??
      chops,voice tones,like guys on radio have,who remain on radio for 20-30 years,
      the turnover in telemarketing ,to the owners ,is a cost of doing business,a matter of course respect to turnover.,the few sales the newhires make,get fed to the closers to bump up & get more money out of.
      It could be kleia,your boss did not want another queen bee in the hive,if the company has a facebook posting,,set your experience down as you put here.

      undoubtedly,my renewals still sit in company filing cabinets,relics from the 90s for subsequent sales reps to call up 2x a year

  12. Cheryl says:

    I am a busy manager on crazy deadlines. I get interrupted by these phone calls at least 5 times every day. On top of that, I get at least 2 or 3 emails from sales people. You can’t say if I don’t want to be interrupted, don’t answer the phone. When the phone rings, I have to stop what I’m doing and look at the callerid to make sure it isn’t someone I actually need to speak to in order to, you know, do my actual job. Every time this happens, I then have to then go back and try to get my head back into what I was doing. Every interruption breaks the concentration needed when I’m trying to research something or figure out the solution to a particular problem. This can take 2-5 minutes to really get back into the groove. Multiply that times 5 and that’s nearly a half hour a day wasted on this.

    If we need something. We will come looking for you. Also, don’t ask me what the problems are at my company – I’m not going to tell some guy on the phone something like that. Don’t ask me for my company’s major initiatives – most likely, those aren’t even shared with me. If you are legitimate, leave a message. If you leave me 5 messages in a month and I don’t call you back then for gods-sake, leave me alone. Don’t tell me you just need 15 minutes of my time. 15×5=75 minutes a dayx5 days = 6+hours a week to talk to someone just to hear them out and then politely decline.

    As for the emails – half of them are from one of those people who “has been trying to get in touch” so I like to respond that I am either not the right person, or am not interested. Our entire year is booked up for projects by November of the previous year, so I am not looking to implement anything new or find the next new product that would result in yet another project to do. I have one guy who refuses to stop trying to sell me industrial equipment. I have told him in writing 10 times that I have absolutely nothing to do with that and to contact our purchasing department. Does he really think he is going to force me to buy a tractor by relentlessly emailing me?

    A Very Frustrated Never to be Customer

    • I’m the Sales Director for a company called Corporate Access Online. We understand how disruptive calls of this type are, whether they are answered or not. We solve this problem instantly and permanently by enabling a 95% reduction in the time spent dealing with prospecting sales reps to your business. For more, please visit our site and request a demo. I’ll be happy to help!
      ~ Jamie

  13. Bubba Gump says:

    I will NOT do business with cold callers.

    End of story.

    Deal with it.

    • Joanne Black says:

      Cheryl, thanks for taking the time to write this thoughtful post. You’re as frustrated as I. The main reason I resist downloading whitepapers or registering for webinars is because the follow up email and calling is relentless. Strange, isn’t it? We should be sharing and learning, and we’re being accosted by pesky telemarketers.

    • Joanne Black says:

      Same here. When you think about, it’s really not their fault, is it? Management is making them do it. If they don’t cold call and meet their metrics, they won’t have a job. I guess you could say they shouldn’t have taken the job in the first place.

  14. Elizabeth says:

    I cold call all day as a requirement of the job- it is an economical way to advertise for many reasons. What amazes me about cold calling is that

    1- sales reps are doing their job but those answering those calls are just as rude to sales reps. Which is funny because most the time sales reps are local and it could lead that company they called to lose customers/clients. It is a two way mirror.

    2- Most the companies have their own sales reps cold calling and trying to drive in business. It is funny they train their sales reps to get to the right person, and how to start a conversation. When they don’t make their numbers they are upset because of the bottom line. Theses same companies do not take the time to talk to in coming cold calls where sales reps are using the same methods in general.

    • James says:

      How convenient that we all forget that without sales, we will still be in the dark ages. There are various methods of prospecting to get to the decision maker, but all in all it is tenacity and grinding that gets through the tough thick skin of the gate keeper and eventually to the decision maker. We all do business with people we like and we all hate to be sold but love to buy. We in the sales world need to help with the buying process of the prospect.

      Rather you like it or not or annoyed, we are all sales reps, selling our thoughts, wants, services, and skills to someone that either signs our paychecks or stays by ourside.

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  21. Yea sales is hard. Too bad there isn’t a more efficient way for people to connect. Networking and referrals are great, but it’s sometimes hard for new businesses to get off the ground or expand into new markets that way.

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