The Fail-Your-Way-to-Success Method of Cold Calling

The Fail-Your-Way-to-Success Method of Cold Calling

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


Here’s a new way to view the cold call.  A cold call is not a place to make sales. A cold call is an opportunity to learn to sell.

Why not start the cold call fail your way to success method? Here’s how to get great at selling by failing at cold calling. Identify the skills you want to practice. Dedicate an hour or two a day to learn, and understand that it’s not about making a sale, it’s about learning how to sell. With that mindset you don’t mind rejection, because it’s part of the learning process and, as you improve, occasionally, you’ll get paid for learning.

Select one skill you want to perfect. Let’s say, finding the decider. Then make ten calls, and goal yourself to get in to see (through to talk to) five.

Below is a list of the 12.5 lifetime sales skills you can develop through the fail your way to success method of cold calling:

1. Develop a fast opening that grabs attention and gets you to the next step. What can you invent that gets immediate attention? Something that creates a smile, gets in the door, and gives you that 30-second opportunity with Mr. Big. What can you create that’s innovative and gets you in every time? Long term benefit: Teaches you to get to the point faster in your face-to-face presentations.

2. Build instant rapport. How fast can you put the other person at ease? How quickly do they warm up to you? How quickly do they like you? Long term benefit: Teaches you that rapport is the jumping off point to begin the sale. The faster you can gain it, the smoother your path to sales success.

3. Gain acceptance. Being real. Having your words be believed. Long term benefit: Teaches you that rapport leads to acceptance. If I like you, I’m more likely to accept what you say. The cold call leaves very little time to gain acceptance.

4. Find the decider. Being in front of someone who can say yes to you. Too many salespeople give a great sales presentation to the wrong person. Long term benefit: Teaches you that selling the non-decision maker leads to a non-sale.

5. Qualifying the decider. Finding out if the decider has the need and or money to buy what you sell. Long term benefit: Teaches you to be certain you’re speaking to someone that can buy AND spend. (CAUTION: “qualifying” is not to be mistaken for its evil twin “prejudging.”)

6. The power of questioning. Being able to ask questions that make the prospect think, evaluate new information, and that separate you from your competition. Long term benefit: Teaches you that questions about them leads to answers about you that leads to sales.

7. Gaining prospect interest. Having useful information and ideas. Having information about market and the ability to make your prospect’s business grow and profit. Long term benefit: Teaches you that the ability to gain the prospect’s interest in your product or service stems from your interest in theirs.

8. Fast persuasion. Getting others to say yes in a short space of time takes talent that can only be developed by practice. Long term benefit: Teaches you to practice at, and be effective at, presenting a compelling message.

9. Persistence: the breakfast of winners. The cold call will usually not generate a sale. It will generate a followup opportunity. Long term benefit: Teaches you that most sales are made after the seventh “no,” or better stated the seventh follow-up. Your persistence is in direct proportion to your level of success.

10. Thinking on your feet. You’ve got three seconds to figure it out. Cold calls are not about fast talking, they’re about fast thinking. Long term benefit: Teaches you to “think solution” and “think question,” instead of spewing out a bunch of facts and figures that will be forgotten two seconds after the door has let you out of his office.

11. The value of (and need for) creativity. Cold calls are all about creativity. The opening line. The gatekeeper block. The decision maker treasure hunt. The sale. The cool part about creativity is that it can be studied and learned. Long term benefit: Teaches you that creativity (which leads to memorability) is at the core of your sales success. The more creative you become the easier it is to differentiate yourself from the dreaded competition (and their dreaded price).

12. The joy of rejection Most people take rejection as a negative. I have always thought of it as, “The pathway to yes.” Try this. Add a dose of humor to rejection. For example: Start thanking people for telling you no. Tell them that they’re helping you get one step closer to yes. Tell the prospect that only one out of four people buy. Ask them if they know anyone else that might not be interested, because you still need three more no’s before someone says yes! Tell them you need people to tell you no, because it helps you get to the yes quicker. It’ll blow them away and it’ll make them laugh. Humor. Make me laugh and you can make me buy. The problem with rejection is that most people take it personally: big mistake. They’re not rejecting you, they’re just rejecting the offer you’re making them. That feels better now, doesn’t it? Long term benefit: Teaches you that rejection is part of the success of selling. The more you can learn why they rejected you, the easier it is to eliminate the next rejection.

12.5 It tells you if sales is for you. If you can find the fun of cold calling, and view it as the fail your way to success method to sales mastery, you will ultimately succeed at sales. If you can’t, sales may not be your best career choice. Long term benefit: Teaches you to do something you love, have the attitude to have fun at it, and dedicate yourself to be the best at it by learning something new every day.

You don’t get great at sales in a day you get great at sales day by day.


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