The Art of Cold Calling

by Larry Chiang on August 4, 2009

By Larry Chiang

Palo Alto, Calif, Tuesday, 4 August 2009 9:17:59 (PDT)

Cold calling is defined as an out-of-the-blue phone call that interrupts a person in the middle of a business day. It is one of the most difficult tasks in business. Its like making a mid-day booty call to a person you’ve never dated :-]

Because I cold call, I can recognize the secret fraternity of people that can pick up the phone and call strangers. MBAs (just like freshly minted West Point or Star Fleet Academy officers) sometimes don’t want to get in the trenches. I have this theory that in order to get ahead you have to do the difficult and socially challenging work of getting new revenue. Cold calling is a critical skill set. Here’s a behind the scenes look at the lost art of cold-calling.

-1- Hack the Phone System.

Knowing the ins and outs of the phone system are like getting the keys to every room in the castle.

Once you have your keys, the map of the castle is The google + The voice mail ‘dial-by-name’. I love when voice mail system girl says, “would you like to dial by name?”. It’s like business foreplay for me. I just google the Plant Manager or the VP of Operation, dial their last name on my keypad and let the good times roll.

-2- Something is Always Sold.

Either you sell them on staying on the phone, or they sell you on why they’re getting off the phone. True story.

-3- Email Me a Proposal.

It is really hard to get turned on via an email pitch. Even of Anna Feris emails me to meet up, I’m happy, but not turned on. A cold call phone conversation resulting in email work is a sign that the deal isn’t moving forward.

They might tell you to email them but they just “sold you” on why they’re getting off the phone.

Its nearly impossible to close a deal over email.

-4- Time Extension!

Do you ever play those video games where you get rewarded with extra playing time?! Well, that’s what cold calling has as a goal. Your goal is a one minute 20 second phone call or longer.

The ideal amount of time to talk is 2 1/2 to 4 min.

-5- Mentor Marketing.

I sell one thing over the phone to get a time extension. Mentorship. Keeping a person on the phone is tough to do. Selling a person after they hang up on you is impossible. Mentorship makes them want to take your call.

I also set aside my need to sell them something when I do mentorship flavored sales calls.

-6- Learn To Love No.

No mater how good you are, you’re gonna hear a lotta no’s. Learn to love ‘no’ because sales is a numbers game. If you make $3k per sale and need to hear 9 no’s per one ‘yes’, then you’re getting paid $300 per ‘no’. If you hear 100 no’s by Wed, you’ll be cracking $100k by the middle of your sales year.

-7- Get a Mirror.

Look good in the mirror to come across well on the phone. If the image in the mirror is smiling, your voice is smiling too.

-8- Read and Re-read “Cold Calling Techniques”
My phone sales mentor, Steven Schiffman, wrote the book, “Cold Calling Techniques”. It’s good.

-9- Physiologically Sell.

Tonality is 38% of communication. Words are 7%. Physiology is 55%. True story, so physiologically sell.

A great tool to help you do this is to use a hands-free head set. I use a double ear one where the microphone toggles to the front. People make fun of me for looking like the drive-thru order taker. Well, a good drive thru manager can do as much sales volume as three in-store registers. No lies, get a vs worx headset.

-10- Get A Magic Number.

Caller ID can be your foe or friend. I make it my friend. How?! I have a very sexy number. When people google “650-283-8008″ it shines.

Even if you don’t have a sexy number, you can make it sexy. There are three ways to do this… leave me a comment in the post below and I’ll email them to you.

-11-More Phone System Hacks

“*”- deletes your voicemail and lets you start over
The add-a-number manuver:
The one number off manuver

Voicemail and close a deal via vMail
Collect cell phone numbers.

Bust Through the Receptionist

There are people in this world who get paid to say no. “I’m at a conference and if you need to reach me my cellie is…”

My mentor on this topic is Steven Schiffman, author of “Cold Calling Secrets”. The book is definitely teaches stuff they don’t teach in B-school.


I founded http:/www.duck9.com, which educates college students on how to establish and maintain a FICO score over 750. I testified before Congress http://www.creditcard.org/testimony.htm and World Bank in Beijing on credit http://www.ucms.com/Larry-Chiang-World-Bank-Beijing-Presentation.htm

I blog at Business Week

** Duck9.com **
125 University Avenue, Suite 100,
P.O. Box 1000
Palo Alto CA 94302
Office: 650-566-9600 x1111
Fax: 650-651-1555
Cell: 415-720-8500
PDA to sms: 650-283-8008

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