How to cold call without pain

Everybody hates cold callers!

Salespeople hate making cold calls but cold calling remains a staple of building business.


Because cold calling works! And, if done properly is not a horrible experience. In fact, it can be a great experience.

B2B cold calling at its worst is calling business from a list and reading a script. This is a straight numbers game. Depending on the quality of the offering and the skill of the salesperson the number of positive responses will be higher but the game is to make the maximum number of calls. I have seen this done well but very few salespeople can do it on a regular basis and eventually it wears most down. Businesses that depend on telephone selling churn through salespeople because the process is simply too daunting for most salespeople to endure.

So, how to make cold calling a pleasant experience?

I have done a ton of cold calling, playing the straight numbers game, and it is exhausting and demoralizing. If, however, you change your mindset it can become a pleasant and energizing process. Think about that last great telephone conversation you had with a friend or even business associate. Great exchange of ideas and a comfortable process of moving the relationship closer – this is what positive cold calling is about.

Perhaps the call starts with, ‘Hello, this is Norman Davies, I was looking at your website and had some questions about your business. Do you have a few minutes?’ The key is to be natural, truly interested in the other person and passionate about your potential solution.

The best description I have read of this process is by Ari Galper’s and his model is called Unlock The Game®, which he describes as “A new cold calling and sales mindset focused on building trust.”

  1. Shift your mindset away from ‘making the sale’ towards whether the fit exists or not. Look for what the other person is thinking and whether there is actually a real possibility of a fit. Do not assume they should buy what you have. Aim to qualify, not force or persuade.
  2. Be a helper not a pitcher. Help your prospect, instead of referring to features and benefits – this centres the conversation on the other person, not you.
  3. Focus on the beginning – not the end. Be sensitive to the early interaction with your prospect – keep your mindset and behaviour stay in the present moment (with the client) and avoid pushing forward (where you want to go – which you can only guess at best).
  4. Stop chasing prospects – behave with dignity. Create an open pressure-free atmosphere – set a tone of equality and mutual respect – strive to be regarded as a helpful human being instead of a typical sales person.
  5. Connect with your prospects rather than work through a list. Focus on how to make a true connection with each prospect – this naturally helps build trust – think about and discuss their issues, not yours.
  6. Creating trust with your prospect is your primary goal – not making the sale. Creating genuine trust is the essence of building real relationships and real relationships turn into more sales.
  7. Diffuse any pressure that you sense in the sales process. By diffusing the tension and pressure in the sales process between you and your prospects, you bring both of you closer to an honest and truthful conversation. Be real and be sincere. Don’t be smooth and polished – this is what is expected and is a turnoff.
  8. Change your language away from ‘sales speak’ to natural language that connects with people. By using phrases like ‘would you be open to’ instead of ‘would you be interested in’, you immediately set yourself apart as someone who is patient, open minded and willing to listen.
  9. Understand your prospect’s problems deeply so that they feel ‘understood’ by you. By having a deep understanding of the problems that your prospects experience everyday, the easier it will be for you to really feel that you know and care about their situation.
  10. Use the Unlock The Game Mindset – both in your business and personal life because relationships are the same in both worlds. By also applying these principles in your personal life, with people you care about, you’ll begin to see a deeper trust being built that can strengthen your relationships for the long term.

Stephen Covey writes in his 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, “Seek first to understand then to be understood.” This is especially true in selling.