The best way to cold call is not to do it. Almost.

The best way to cold call is not to do it. Almost.

Written By Jeffrey Gitomer

KING OF SALES, The author of seventeen best-selling books including The Sales Bible, The Little Red Book of Selling, and The Little Gold Book of Yes! Attitude. His live coaching program, Sales Mastery, is available at

The best way to cold call is not to do it. Almost.

The three word definition of a cold call is — waste of time.

No one likes cold calls. Not the salesperson who makes them. And surely not the prospect who receives them. They are also the lowest percentage sale.

“Cold calls are a necessary evil of selling” is a false statement. “Cold calls are a necessary evil if you don’t employ the correct selling strategies,” is a true statement.

Salespeople who don’t network or use referral selling have to make cold calls. But cold calls as a mainstay of building your sales can — and should — be eliminated.

If you were a big time consultant, and you wanted to add a few new clients, would you be making cold calls? No way. I mean, how would you justify your “stature” by making a lowly cold call. I mean, shouldn’t you be on top of the world, just taking “selected referrals?”

And as a consultant you’re supposed to be smart, and there’s GOTTA be a smarter way to make a sale. How do you think a prospect perceives a cold call from a consultant? The prospect is thinking, “Who is this guy? Why is he calling me? If he’s so smart, why isn’t he working?”

If you look at the “cold calling” industry, most of it leaves a bit to be desired. I think cold calling is a fading process — partially because as customers we’re getting to be smarter and more selective, we’re tired of it, we’ve got voice mail, and we’re more relationship oriented. We want to do business with someone we “know.”

In sales it’s not who you know, in sales it’s who knows you. That’s one of the three primary rules of selling. The other two are: People don’t like to be sold, but they love to buy (my registered trademark), and all things being equal, people want to do business with their friends. All things being not quite so equal, people STILL want to do business with their friends.

All three of these rules fly in the face of the cold call.

But since the reality is, that most sales forces still operate with the cold call as a mainstay — as a sales trainer I say: “A cold call is a lousy place to make a sale, but it’s a GREAT place to learn how to sell.” And if you, as a sales consultant, want to get better at selling, there’s no better place to learn.

But let’s look at the intellectual side of the process of prospecting and building your business. The first example is my cold call on you. This column. I don’t know you, but I’m providing you with enough value that you’ve read this far. And who knows, at the end, you may be spurred to contact me for more sales information.

My column on selling skills and customer loyalty has been my cold call for more than ten years. It works.

And just for the heck of it, if I decided to cold called ANY sales force in any city my column runs in, and described myself as, “The guy that writes the weekly article on selling skills in The Business Journal” — not only would I get in, but the prospect would run and tell other people I was there!.

But who cares about me — you want to know more about what you can do. What are other ways for you to make a “Professional Cold Call?”

Here are 6.5 ways to professionally cure the common cold call. The principle behind each way is simple — put yourself in front of people who can say yes to you, and deliver value first. Value that generates attraction to get them to call you.

1. Write an article (one that gets in front of your key prospects and customers).
2. Get on a talk show (call in if you have to, but it’s better to be interviewed).
3. Give a speech (at an association meeting or trade show).
4. Send an e-idea of the week (to your customer, prospect, and influence list).
5. Hold a free seminar (make the topic compelling, and the content dynamic).
6. Network at a business function (be seen by those who count and those who decide, get to know your customers personally).
6.5 Get a referral from someone who loves you (referrals beat cold calls 100 to 1).

I challenge you to become better known.
I challenge you to become more valued in your business community.
I challenge you to create a better marketing outreach program than the one you have.

If you do, they will call you. And that call is hot!

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Jeffrey Gitomer, author of The Sales Bible, and Customer Satisfaction is Worthless, Customer Loyalty is Priceless. President of Charlotte-based Buy Gitomer, he gives seminars, runs annual sales meetings, and conducts internet training programs on selling and customer service. He can be reached at 704/333-1112 or e-mail to