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We make 40,000 cold calls every week – this is what we’ve learned

Cold Calling is, by some distance, the most controversial topic in the sales community right now.

There’s been a lot of articles written about it and everyone has strong opinions. Most people are talking from personal experience and some with the benefit of having run a team.

I work for a company that makes more than 40,000 cold calls per week, to all parts of the globe. Does that give me more insight than most? I’m not sure, but here’s my tuppence worth to add to the debate, tell me what you think once you’ve read about what we’ve learned.

First the good news – it does still work – no matter what anyone tries to tell you.

Now the bad; cold calling isn’t easy and never will be…period. But the worst thing about it? The time it takes.

Does that time make it a viable way for an expensive BDM to spend their time? Again, things aren’t as black and white as most arguments I’ve seen and read. The genuine answer is; it depends.

On what?

Geography is, perhaps surprisingly, one of the biggest variables. Both where you are calling to and from. Brand recognition is huge. Having an engaging story is way more important than your product. Saturation plays a part – we know this more than most as a telemarketing agency – I’m not sure there’s a marketing or sales director (our usual KDM’s) who hasn’t been called a thousand times by telemarketing agencies. Timing is more important than people give it credit for. Data is the essential fuel required for cold calling. Ability is important, experience less so. What you say isn’t nearly as important as how you say it (despite the endless articles about what words to use). But attitude is, by some distance, the biggest single determinant of a successful outcome.

Before I go any further – we need to define what I’m talking about when I say cold call.

I went to see Joanne Black give a talk this morning (thanks John Smibert and Tony Hughes for inviting her Down Under) and I agree with Joanne’s definition as; someone who I have never spoken to, who doesn’t know me and whom I’m now calling out of the blue.

Everything else has caveats.

Talking of caveats or perhaps disclaimers – I had better cover some of those before I go any further. These are my personal observations made from watching, hearing and getting results on the more than 40,000 cold calls we, as in the company I work for, make every week to various parts of the world. What I’m sharing are generalisations. But I won’t share data, as my boss wouldn’t dream of letting me, and I doubt our clients would be very happy if I did. I see exceptions to everything I’m about to say… every single day.

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Sivana Dee

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