The Good, The Bad And The Ugly Of Cold Calling

Jamie Shanks
Jamie Shanks

Sales professionals: I need to get something off my chest. The following post may read like a rant, but this has been bothering me about cold calling. Here’s the good, the bad, and the ugly.

The Good

At Sales for Life, we’re extremely fortunate that our business has grown exponentially over the last few years. This means I now receive cold calls daily. This is great, and I appreciate people reaching out to me. But as someone who has made my living from teaching cold calling techniques to sales reps over the years, I know what makes a good cold call. And I’ve noticed a troubling trend with the calls I’ve been getting.

The Bad

What’s wrong with these cold calls? Quite simply, the fundamentals of selling are being lost on the millennial generation. When I get a cold call from one of these young SDRs or BDRs, I’m shocked that instead of building a rapport with me and trying to make a connection, they’re immediately jumping into their sales pitch, and asking me right away if I would like to look at a product demo or have a meeting. If this isn’t bad enough, the story gets worse.

The Ugly

In addition to jumping immediately into their pitch, these young reps have also conducted no research about our company—or about me. They certainly haven’t looked at my LinkedIn profile to find out about my professional life as well as other interests. In fact, I often get asked who in company would be the best person to talk with, with no awareness that I’m the owner! I find this lack of preparation astounding.

What can sales leaders do to ensure that their teams are better prepared? It’s critical that sales leaders take a step back and look at their lead generation team. Help your younger teammates to learn the fundamentals of building rapport, call profiling, and call preparation. A great resource is the concept of 3×3 research by Steve Richard at Vorsight. As Steve says, 3×3 research means “3 points in 3 minutes.” In other words, in three minutes, you should be able to find three relevant pieces of information or research about someone that you will use in a conversation. By spending just a few minutes on research, your sales reps will be much more prepared when they connect with a prospect.

Social Selling helps sale professionals understand their buyers, make relevant connections, and have calls that don’t feel as cold. According to LinkedIn, only 4% of buyers have a favorable impression of reps who reach out cold. However when reps reach out through a mutual connection, favorable impression rates jump dramatically, to 87%.

Here’s more data on what buyers care about during their decision-making process:

linkedin Cold Call Infographic Snippet
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