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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


  • 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

  • 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.

  • Elmarie says:

    Interested to look at alternatives for cold calling.

  • 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

  • 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.

  • 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

  • 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.

  • Why Companies Hate Sales People Who Cold Call…

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  • 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.

  • 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.

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