Telephone Prospecting — Is It a Waste of Time?

by Jacques Werth, Founder of High Probability Selling.  © 2006

Whenever I speak to a large group of salespeople about the enormous success that can result from telephone prospecting, I get several immediate, impassioned rebuttals from members of the audience.  The typical rebuttal is, “Cold calling is a waste of time.”

Cold calling *is* (mostly) a waste of time!  As we all know, cold calling is an onerous task.  It is unpleasant and loaded with rejection — personal rejection.

Why does cold calling inevitably lead to rejection?  It takes lots of determination and motivation to call a large number of strangers and try to get them to give you an appointment, so that you can try to sell them something that they don't already want.  When you prospect that way, you're putting a great deal of pressure on yourself, and you're pressuring most of the people you call.  It's natural that most of them reject you.  We refer to this as “cold calling,” because most of the people you call never want to hear from you again.

However, when I say Telephone Prospecting, I am not talking about cold calling.  Yes, the first call you make to everyone on your list is a cold-call.  However, that call is extremely short, and creates no pressure.  You make an offer, the prospect responds with either 'Yes' or 'No', and you gladly accept whichever answer you get.

Every call you make after that first call is a “warm call”: none of them is likely to result in rejection, as long as you change the wording of your prospecting offer each time you call.  They'll either respond “Yes” or “No” to your offers.  Your response to 'No' is just a quick “Okay, goodbye.”  No pressure, no manipulation, no Rhetorical questions.

Keep calling your list every few weeks with an offer, until they are ready to buy.  When a prospect is ready to buy, they become a High Probability Prospect.  If you're calling a precisely targeted list that contains people likely to want your type of product or service, prospects will become High Probability Prospects for their own reasons, in their own time.

Telephone Prospecting:  Time Well Spent that Gets Results