Is Your Best Business Tool…Your Phone? The Art of the Cold Call in a Web-Obsessed World

by David Bullock

This may sounds strange coming from an online marketing expert like myself, but sometimes…you really should forgo the online stuff and just pick up the phone.

Why? Because everyone else is using social media and blogs and trying to capture e-mail addresses and putting white papers out there. And very few are actually picking up the phone and communicating with another human, especially a high-level decision maker.

Now, THAT? Is a competitive advantage.

CEOs of the companies you want to contact aren’t tweeting. They’re not Facebooking. If they have a LinkedIn account, they’re not manning it. So, when they get an actual phone call… it gets their attention.

Sales used to be the profession of bringing information to people about what was available. The tables have turned. People can go online and find just about anything, so everything is already ‘available’ to your prospective partners and clients.

But I have found that the CEO, if he’s running his company properly,  does not have the time to be online, looking for what he or his company needs. He’s hoping his generals and his lieutenants find that information for him.

So lead with that phone call. Get on their radar and then…well, then that’s where the online stuff comes in. If I get you on the phone and get your interest piqued, you’re going to hang up and do what?

You’re going to Google me anyway! You’ll Google me, and then see my active, full LinkedIn profile. You’ll see me on all my Facebook fans, you’ll see my impressive website, my active blog. Then,  when they see all those tracings of credibility, then you call me back. Then we have a real conversation.

So how do you make that compelling first impression over the phone? Here are my cold call tips:

~ Craft a thirty-five word opening line.  Thirty-five words is the time that you have to actually get your message through effectively to an executive. It’s just long enough to get that sound bite across so he can make a decision if he wants to hear what you have to say. If you get long winded in your delivery of your product or service, people turn off.  You’ve lost them.

~ Practice and rehearse this line. Get it to a point where it’s second nature, you can speak it with confidence and without any stuttering, ums, or ahs.

~ Never end with a phrase like “Are you interested?” In sales, people buy what they want. So instead end with: “Is that something that you want?” If they actually want it, they know why they want it. You don’t have to tiptoe around it.

Here’s my sample, starter script. “My name is David Bullock. I’m calling from XYZ Company. I have software that works with your database to reduce costs and waste. It does that in a measurable way. Is that something that you want?”

So…what’s stopping you from making some business-changing cold calls today? Tell me your thoughts and experiences with cold calling in the comments.



{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Rob Keating October 10, 2011 at 6:29 pm

David, good advice if you have the nerve to do so. Will get my wife onto it. She is good with the calls. I talk myself out of it before I even get started.

Now why is that? Must get over it. You ask at the end of your article what is stopping you from making some business-changing cold calls today?

I guess it is fear of rejection. I take it too personally and need to get into the mindset of they are just not ready for what I have and move on to the next person. The human mind can be a complicated thing.

Kaleb Phillips February 24, 2012 at 11:58 am


I think the issue is the fear of failure. What has to be remembered though is that failure is a prerequisite of success. How can you know what works if you haven’t tried a few different options and found that some have higher success rates than others. Even if you’ve only tried one method and it works you should at least try a few more to make sure what you are doing is most efficient.

Life is going to knock you down no matter who you are. Successful people are just the ones that refuse to stay down.

David Bullock May 13, 2012 at 11:45 am

There is alot of wisdom in what you posted here. The basics and the gold nuggets of about business and success will always be true.
– David B.

Stanley Rao August 7, 2012 at 3:35 am

in every business that you do will lead to up and down.. so no matter what ever the situations is doing things in a right manner is what more important

memory scrapbookscrapbooking September 29, 2012 at 5:14 am

Very energetic post, I enjoyed that bit.
Will there be a part 2?

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