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2 Cold Calling Mistakes That Are Undermining Your Efforts

John Burleson | September 11, 2015

Cold Calling


Cold calling may not be the most fun part of your job, but it’s still a necessity. Sure, it’s a great way to prospect and start a conversation. But it also leads to some potentially awkward phone conversations, which could spoil future business.


Unfortunately, too many people don’t think about a cold call before they jump into it. Sure, they’ve got their script, but do you know about your prospect or are you prepared for when the conversation makes a left turn into unscripted territory?


Today, let’s look at two of the biggest, most common cold calling mistakes that are undermining your entire strategy.


1. Lack of Information


Often, sales reps will call a company they know nothing about. Even your most experienced reps go into some of their cold calls without having a clear picture of who the prospect they’re calling is. That’s not necessarily the problem.


The best sales teams are coached for this situation, and the reps know they should start by explaining who they are and asking about the organization. This is a smart start. The worst that happens is you’re talking to the wrong person, but you still gain valuable insight that preps you for the next call.


Unfortunately, not everyone takes this approach. Too often, sales reps miss out on planning a more customized, on-target approach to their sales calls . . . all because they didn’t ask a single question about the prospect.


Remember, people are self-centered. Your prospect doesn’t want to hear about you, your company, or your product, especially not in a cold call. They’re only interested in helping themselves.


It’s your job to identify how you can help them.


2. Relying Too Much on Mail


A big mistake sales reps have a habit of falling into is assuming that mail or email is a magic wand for making a sale. Email can be a great tool, but you can’t fall into the trap of thinking it can do everything for you. Otherwise, would you really be needed?




It’s also important to remember that your prospects are receiving a lot of emails every day. Don’t assume that just because you wrote something, they’re going to read it with interest. In fact, most emails never make it further than a trash bin.


A smart salesperson understands that email can help you introduce yourself to a prospect before you cold call. It’s a great tool, yes, but it also requires some understanding on your part. You need to know something about your prospect.


Then you can leverage your knowledge to make a smooth introduction to both yourself and your value proposition.


Yes cold calling is hard, but get used to it. It’s one of the most basic, simple, and (surprisingly) successful tactics in sales. Plenty of sales reps have used prospecting and cold calling to land the big sale. However, it’s critical to understand where you’re making mistakes and improve your skills before you pick up the phone.


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