Cold Calling Reluctance

Most salespeople I know consider cold calling a dreadful, but essential activity in our profession. Even those who are good at it rarely like it. Nevertheless, those who are successful in sales do it regularly because without prospects, one does not sell anything.

If you hate cold calling to the point where you won't do it, you've got a serious problem. Let this go on long enough, and you'll watch your commissions drop from low to zero as you lose your job.

If you truly hate cold calling to the point where it is really hurting your sales, I may know one of the reasons why.

Where's The Pressure?

Too many salespeople take the bulk of the pressure on themselves in the sale. We've been conditioned into it by a society that teaches us that buyers shop, and sellers are there to "serve". You've heard this before... "serve the customer".

In "serving the customer", we feel that we have to do whatever they ask to get the sale. Some prospects act like bratty children that just have to have their way. This can be quite annoying to deal with.

In letting this belief "serving the customer" dominate our attitude towards buying and selling, we give up a lot of power. It's kind of crazy if you really think about it. The prospect is the one who does or does not have a problem to solve. Its not your problem - you are just offering a potential solution.

If your prospect does have a problem to solve, then it is his responsibility to solve it - not yours. What you can do is help him figure out how to solve it, and offer your products or services if they solve the problem.

When cold calling, you are looking for problems that you can actually solve. How effective you are at cold calling is really a matter of how effective you are at uncovering problems that you can solve. It is *not* a game of how good of a "pitch" you can deliver over the phone.

If you plan your cold calling by trying to craft the most interesting, exciting, and sparkling pitch to wow your prospects into meeting with you, then you are putting way too much pressure on yourself. This may just be stressful for you, or it can even be disabling to the point where you can't or won't do any cold calling.

I have a simple formula to take the pressure off of yourself and put it where it belongs - on your prospect.

Cold Calling Formula

  • Introduce Yourself, Your Company, and Your Results.
  • Get Permission To Ask Questions.
  • Ask Questions To Uncover and Amplify Problems and Opportunities.
  • Simple, huh? So simple, it may seem too easy.

    The secret to the cold calling formula is how you do each step. Here's an example:

    "Hello, this is Shamus Brown calling."

    "I am with Jupiter Financial Partners, and using private equity, I help people get high investment returns without the risk and volatility associated with the stock market.

    "Do you have a few minutes to let me ask you a few questions about your investments?

    "What percentage did your investment's increase this past year?

    "Oh, they didn't increase... they declined by how much?... hmm, sounds bad to me, but I am not you - is that kind of performance OK with you?"

    This follows the simple format outlined above. Introduce yourself and your company, and wrap that introduction with a statement of the results that you provide for your customers. This is one of the keys to making cold calling easier.

    The only thing your prospect will likely hear at the beginning of the call is your results. When you are cold calling someone, you are interrupting them in some way. Their attention is elsewhere. When they hear the results that you offer, you will get their attention IF they are interested in those types of results.

    Next, if they are interested in those results, they will more than likely answer yes to your request to ask a few questions and talk further.

    Finally, you immediately get into probing for problems, and amplifying the consequences. Once you are there, you will stir up their motivation and desire to talk further about your product or service.

    Stop using lengthy introductions in your cold calling. If you get that slightly uncomfortable or nauseating feeling in your stomach while delivering your phone "pitch", it is because your pitch is too long. The longer your pitch is, the more you are "at risk" because you do not know how the message is being received.

    Shorten your cold calling opener to just the essential results that you provide, and then get right into probing for problems. You'll sell more this way.

    © 1999-2004 Shamus Brown, All Rights Reserved.

    Shamus Brown is a Professional Sales Coach and former high-tech sales pro who began his career selling for IBM. Shamus has written more than 50 articles on selling and is the creator of the popular Persuasive Selling Skills CD Audio Program. You can read more of Shamus Brown's sales tips at and you can learn more about his persuasive sales skills training at

    In The News:

    This RSS feed URL is deprecated, please update. New URLs can be found in the footers at


    US consumer confidence rebounds; new home sales rise
    Data for January was also revised to show sales unchanged instead of declining 4.7 percent. Economists polled by Reuters had forecast new home sales, which account for 11 percent of housing market sales, rising 1.9 percent to a pace of 630,000 units ...
    US Existing-Home Sales Rise as Properties Draw Quick BidsBloomberg
    Existing-Home Sales Rise But Inventories and Prices Likely to Check MarketWall Street Journal
    US existing home sales rise more than expected in MarchCNBC
    all 79 news articles »


    Texas Instruments Gives Rosy Sales Forecast; Shares Jump
    Texas Instruments Inc., the largest maker of chips that help run most electronic devices, gave a quarterly sales and profit forecast that topped estimates, defusing concerns that orders are trailing off amid weaker demand across the semiconductor ...
    Texas Instruments powers higher as sales, profit jumpFinancial Times

    all 87 news articles »

    FDA cracks down in 'blitz' on e-cigarette sales to kids
    ... from the market until it undergoes FDA review. “Educators report widespread use of Juul in school bathrooms, hallways and even classrooms,” the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids said in a statement. The FDA is not going that far but said it would try ...
    FDA cracks down on sales of Juul, other e-cigarettes to youthsWashington Post
    FDA Cracks Down on 'Juuling' Among TeenagersNew York Times
    The FDA Is Cracking Down on JUUL Sales Because Teen Vaping Is Out of ControlGizmodo
    MarketWatch -Salt Lake Tribune -Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
    all 47 news articles »

    New York Times

    Sales Figures for Comey's 'A Higher Loyalty' Dwarf Recent Political Best Sellers
    New York Times
    The early sales figures for Mr. Comey's book dwarfed other recent political best sellers. Hillary Clinton's memoir, “What Happened,” sold more than 300,000 copies in all formats in its first week on sale. And “Fire and Fury,” Michael Wolff's explosive ...
    Comey book sales top 600000 in first weekThe Hill
    Flight Records Illuminate Mystery of Trump's Moscow NightsBloomberg
    Nobu Moscow - Donald Trump and Emin Agalarov at... | FacebookFacebook

    all 311 news articles »


    These 4 Things May Be The Reason People Delete Your Sales Emails
    Nowadays, a prospective customer immediately knows when they're part of a mass email blasted to hundreds of other people. And since these potential buyers have no hangups about trashing an email like that, salespeople need to be doubly sure their ...


    US sales of new homes shot up 4 percent in March
    Sales of new U.S. homes jumped 4 percent in March, propelled by a surge of buying in the West. The Commerce Department says sales last month were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 694,000. The two prior months had their sales revised upward with ...
    New-home sales roar to a 4-month high in MarchMarketWatch
    Sales of new homes shot up 4% in March; 28.3% in western

    all 21 news articles »


    Why The Spotify Of Background Music Could Boost Your Sales
    Heather Farmbrough , Contributor I write about business, big and small, in the UK and Scandinavia Opinions expressed by Forbes Contributors are their own. Tweet This. Sensory marketing is a big thing for brands, but for some reason, music was never ...
    Spotify beefs up its free tierTechCrunch
    Spotify — Personalized Discovery: Listen to Music You Love with All-New Free on SpotifySpotify
    Music label sues Spotify over playlists -- and might have a case | FortuneFortune
    all 140 news articles »

    Wall Street Journal

    US New Home Sales Rose in March
    Wall Street Journal
    “The other big driver is that millennials are reaching a point in their lives when they're beginning to get married, start a family and are looking to buy a home,” Mr. Vitner said. Data on new-home sales can be choppy from month to month, and March's 4 ...
    New Home Sales Rose Four Percent in MarchABA Banking Journal (blog)

    all 17 news articles »

    Mansion Global

    UK Sales in March Decline 12% Year-Over-Year
    Mansion Global
    U.K. home sales fell nearly 12% in March from the previous year, according to government statistics released Tuesday. Residential transactions across the United Kingdom totaled 92,270 in March, according to the data from HM Revenue & Customs, which ...


    Sales of New Homes in US Advance to a Four-Month High
    U.S. new-home sales increased in March to a four- month high, mainly reflecting a surge in the West, and upward revisions to prior months showed stronger first-quarter demand than previously estimated, according to government data released Tuesday ...

    and more »
    Google News

    The Problem With Technology At The Point Of Sale In Financial Services

    BackgroundThere's a conundrum that currently exists between the customer and... Read More

    Sell With KISS, As In Keep It Simple, Stupid

    One of the most useful and fundamental communications lessons that... Read More

    Health Insurance Lead and Health Insurance Leads

    Health insurance lead generation systems provide a stead stream of... Read More

    Improve Your Sales Closing Ratio

    Occasionally EGOPOWER readers send me questions or topic suggestions that... Read More

    Why Should I Buy From You?

    Virtually every business you contact has this question in their... Read More

    A Stupid Question, but it has to be asked

    This is a stupid question but it has to be... Read More

    YOUR Future Profits -- Protect Source With CARE

    At 21 years, just out of Business College, I went... Read More

    How to Blow Rapport Really Fast

    Do you have 5, 10, or 20 years of sales... Read More

    Eighty Percent of Success is Showing Up

    The above quote, "Eighty percent of success is showing up."... Read More

    3 Ways To Sell and Have Fun Doing It

    There are many ways to sell and have fun doing... Read More

    Revenue Growth Through Alliances

    Any company in today's global economy must eventually face the... Read More

    Do You Know When You Are Being Sold To?

    Britney Spears has recently caused controversy with suggestions that the... Read More

    The Damaging Admission - A Persuasive Technique

    We would all like to think that our product or... Read More

    Selling Your Way To Success

    I wonder when we decided to become a sales person.... Read More

    Sales Training from the Ghostbusters

    Picture this scene from the 1984 smash comedy movie from... Read More

    How to Build A Steady Stream of Customers--Step One

    The success of a small business depends upon a steady... Read More

    Before They buy What You Say - 10 Steps To Selling Yourself

    You are the productWe're all in the selling business whether... Read More

    How to Sell Your Products Without Competition

    Selling your products at shows can be difficult when you... Read More

    How A Simple Greeting Or Post Card Can Turn Into Cash ? Guaranteed

    I've been using a technique that has helped me to... Read More

    10 Amazing Product Selling Formulas

    1. Sell your products at a wholesale price to retail... Read More

    Define Your Best Customer

    To be more effective at developing relationships, one should always... Read More

    Telephone Techniques

    TELEPHONE TECHNIQUESSelling face to face is different from selling on... Read More

    Open Source Selling? The Next Evolution? The Next Revolution

    "Open-source" is typically found in the Information Technology area as... Read More

    A Look at Child Mannequins

    Not all mannequins are made to look like full-grown adults.... Read More

    Sorry, But Im Not Buying From You!

    Former General Electric CEO and legendary manager, Jack Welch, nailed... Read More