7 years ago
February 21, 2017

7 Cold Calling Mistakes to Avoid

With these seven mistakes eliminated from your process, you’ll greatly improve your ability to keep your prospect on the line and warm that call up!

Claire McConnachie Recruiter
Claire McConnachie

Cold calling is an art rife with pitfalls. You’re fighting an uphill battle from the very start-no one likes getting cold calls, so you have no margin for error. Your first mistake when¬†cold calling is likely your last, so know the common mistakes going in and avoid those pitfalls. With these seven mistakes eliminated from your process, you’ll greatly improve your ability to keep your prospect on the line and warm that call up!

#1: No Filtering of Prospects

When at all possible, you don’t want to be cold calling at total random. Time spent refining your list–and familiarizing yourself with the individuals you might call-will rarely be wasted compared to the hours lost making calls at random.

#2: Lack of Preparation

Know who you are cold calling before they pick up the phone. This seems obvious, but too many sales people stumble on names because they’re reading them on the fly-and names are the bare minimum you should strive to know in advance.

#3: Losing Track of Goals

Don’t get lost in the conversation and forget why you’re cold calling-it can be easy to allow a conversation to lose focus and drift. This can be an egregious waste of time even when the call ends in a sale-more likely, your unfocused conversation will end up a complete and total waste.

#4: Being A Pushover

Cold calling puts you in the ‘bad guy’ seat with a lot of potentials, so there’s pressure to be as nice as possible to keep them on the line-but that can backfire, especially in business-to-business calls. You are a professional with something to offer, match your tone to theirs and keep a backbone. If a criticism of your product comes out that you have an excellent answer for, don’t hold it in to avoid conflict; argue your case, just do it nicely!

#5: Lack of Flexibility

Being well-prepared makes the difference between good and bad cold calling, but being a slave to your outline (or worse, a script) doesn’t do you any favors. If you learn something useful in a conversation, or see a different route to the end you seek, take it. You might make a few missteps but you’ll come out ahead once you develop a feel for improvisation.

#6: Not Pushing for Commitment

Even if a call ends on an up note, you haven’t won yet. Get a commitment of some sort from your prospect, or you’re likely to find yourself in a perpetual limbo where your follow-up calls only annoy an individual who ‘hasn’t gotten around to it yet’.

#7: Getting the Details Wrong

The simplest mistake of cold calling. The quickest mistake of cold calling. The mistake that ends calls before they even begin.

If you put in even the bare minimum of effort, it’s simple to avoid getting names wrong. Cold calling a business? Look them up online. Don’t call and ask for ‘whoever deals with X at your company’, ask for ‘Jim Winners in Accounts Management’. Even if you don’t get an immediate hang up, you’ve set the level of the conversation to ‘amateur hour’.

If you’re making calls so cold you don’t have names or anything else handy, have something handy so you can get that information as quickly as possible and start using it.

Claire McConnachie Recruiter

Claire McConnachie

Claire has 4+ years of experience in sales and recruitment. As a Director of Client Services, her main objective is to connect great people to great companies by building strong relationships with both top clients and candidates in the sales industry. She specializes in sales roles of all seniority levels for both enterprise and start-up clients North American wide. When Claire isn't networking with top talent, she enjoys being outdoors, traveling and spending time with friends & family.