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Long Live the Cold Call

As ESG expands its marketing and social programs, I thought it was timely to blog about the art of cold-calling. It’s too easy to dismiss the cold call as an outdated sales method when we can market for leads and research our target markets so much that we know their likes, dislikes, their birthdays, their favourite drinks etc.

Sadly, only a few marketing programs will generate enough leads to eliminate the need for cold calling. Much as I wish this were not so, but even the richest companies do not have the marketing budget to eliminate the need for sales teams to stop cold calling. Marketing enables sales to occur. It may bring in warmer leads, but they will never convert unless a talented sales person picks up the phone.

It all comes down to making quotas for your sales teams. Firstly, calculate how many initial appointments are needed each year to fill the pipeline to the right size in order to make quota. Then, figure out where those appointments are going come from. If you think you can get all of those appointments just from marketing and research, great. However, if you don’t think those functions will fill your funnel, you need to start closing the gap with cold calls.

As Yoda says in Star Wars, “Try not. Do… or do not. There is no try.” You can try and research your customer for days, weeks, months. But at some point, it is action that makes a difference. ‘Dialing for dollars’ is a smart way to kickstart.

Cold calling is a tough business process; but it is just that, a business process that must be mastered. It is relatively straightforward to become more efficient and effective at cold calling, but there are no shortcuts.

Here’s a compelling reason to become competent at cold calling: statistics show that cold calling techniques, when used to call ‘warm leads,’ will increase the number of initial appointments generated.

Ask yourself these questions about your current cold-calling process:

  • Do you know how many calls you make before you get a conversation?
  •  How many conversations do you have before you set an appointment?
  •  Do you have techniques for improving those metrics?
  •  On best practices, how many times over the next few weeks should you call a given target on your list?
  •  How frequently should you make those calls – hours apart, days apart, or weeks apart?
  •  What messaging will you apply on each attempt?
  •  And, if you don’t reach them, should you throw that name away or file that name away for a future pursuit?


Cold calling is often a necessity. But it does not have to be painful, unproductive or boring; it just has to be cleverly done.