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Posted: April 10, 2012

Eight cold-call “don’ts”

You don't have to like it -- just do it!

Gary Harvey

I know many of you are thinking, cold calling?  No one does that anymore what with social media, networking events, referrals etc. But if these efforts aren't filing your pipeline, maybe it’s time you revisit some cold calling.

First, let me share a rule we have in our training about cold calling: you don’t have to like it  – you just have to do it. With that rule in mind, here are the eight “don’t’s” when you’re doing something you really don’t like, but acknowledge you have to do.

1. Don’t act like the traditional salesperson. You all know what this means and looks like, right? If you have ever received a cold call from this type of salesperson you know very well what it looks and sounds like, so don’t be that person. I can spot a traditional cold call a mile away when they call me.

2. Don’t answer questions so quickly. Find out why they’re asking before you’re so willing to answer. I call it the “why” behind the “what” they are asking. Why are they asking what they are asking? Sometimes you’re willingness to answer might put you in a box with your answer and end up doing what I call ”unpaid consulting” with your answers. I’m not saying never answer questions. Just don’t be so eager all the time.

3. Don’t talk/tell so much, listen. No salesperson ever listened themselves out of a sale. Need I say more about this one? Remember what Mom said about two ears and one mouth.

4. Don’t assume, instead ask questions. No mind reading. We all know what “assume” means we you break down each letter, right? Assuming never takes you to the bank and I never saw a successful salesperson assume their way to success.

5. Don’t hang up from the cold call first. Rule: Salespeople don’t get thrown out, they bail out! I'm not suggesting you be aggressive and abrasive, but don't  “wimp out” so quickly when you get some push back from the prospect. How to handle this push back from the prospect is another article.

6. Don’t beg the prospect for the appointment. You must be invited in. See #1 about being a traditional salesperson. Traditional salespeople “beg” for appointments and it makes you look “needy” as though you haven’t closed anything in a long time and I “need” this deal. Prospects have radar to detect this and if they think you’re needy, they “own” you!

7. Don’t be anxious. Relax and be playful.  I’m a believer in putting the focus more on your sales process (assuming you have one) than worrying about the outcome. Relax and have some fun. The University of Kentucky did not worry about the outcome of the NCAA championship basketball game last Monday night. They focused on the “process’ to accomplish the outcome they wanted of winning the game.

8. Don’t book appointments with prospects that have no compelling reason(s)/pain to see you. No social calls in sales. Stop being a professional visitor! Some prospects say yes to see you because they are just too nice to say no. We teach a concept called "finding pain," and when you know how to find that and relieve it, I assure you your prospects will have a compelling reason to see you.

Gary Harvey is the founder and president of Achievement Dynamics, LLC, a high performance sales training, coaching and development company for sales professionals, managers and business owners. His firm is consistently rated by the Sandler Training as one of the top 10 training centers in the world. He can be reached at 303-741-5200, or



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Readers Respond

Gary, Do you think the #s 6, 7 and 8 needed to in place in the mind of the cold caller before they pick up the phone? Its all about getting the "QUALIFIED" appointment. WalkingBear By Abe WalkingBear sanchez on 2012 04 23
I would love for you to write more about between point 1 and 2. From the moment you say hello to the moment you talk to the right person. I assume, point 2 is when you are reaching the right person. So what is your technique to get through the gate keeper first? Thank you. By sandrine on 2012 04 10
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