Cold Calling - 10 Techniques that Really Work

Bette Daoust, Ph.D.

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Even the word Cold Call will send shivers down anyone's spine. Most of the people I deal with do not like them and will avoid them at any cost. I do not blame them and most often cold calls will not yield very high results. You are only likely to gain ten percent of your business (at the most) from cold calling. So why do we do it? First, there is a myth that cold calling is necessary to gain new business. Second, it seems to be a challenge to many salespeople to make the cold call. All of this is totally unnecessary if you can change the cold call into a warm call.

Here are ten things that you can do for cold calling:

  • Find out who makes the decision for the company through the receptionist (sometimes called the gatekeeper)

  • Ask who they currently do business with for your particular product or service

  • Put on a seminar and ask who the correct person would be for sending the invitation

  • Find out what organizations a decision maker attends and see if there is an opportunity for you to also attend

  • Find an opportunity to be introduced to the decision maker from someone you already know

  • If you see an announcement in the newspaper about the company you wish to do business with, send a note with congratulations to the new person or to the person in charge of the project, then follow-up with a phone call

  • Find the right people to talk to and get the first appointment; this is more easily done at a networking event.

  • Do not simply call all the businesses on the block with a memorized script

  • The aim of a cold call is simply to get to an appointment and nothing more; you are not trying to sell on the first call

  • Do your homework and know all about the company you are calling before you ask for the appointment

  • Cold Calling will come into play more often than you will like. If you want to read a book on Cold Calling techniques there are a few authors that are good on the subject. I would suggest Stephan Schiffman's “Cold Calling Techniques" fourth edition.

    Bette Daoust, Ph. D. is a speaker, author (over 170 books, articles, and publications), and consultant. She has provided marketing, sales, business development and training expertise for companies such as Peet's Coffee & Tea, Varian Medical Systems, Accenture, Avaya, Cisco Systems to name a few. Dr. Daoust has also done extensive work with small businesses in developing their marketing, training, and operational plans. You may contact Dr. Daoust at You may also view her latest publications at Dr. Daoust also writes for the National Networker


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