Tracey Kieley
Tracey Kieley, Director of Business Development – Sandler Training

My daughter and I were driving in the car last week when my phone rang. My spidey sense told me not to answer, but I did anyway…. and so glad I did. It was a learning opportunity for me. A reminder why cold calling is not loved by sales people nor the prospect.

The call was uncomfortable. Starting with confusion, ending with a hang up… by the sales person! Once again, the traditional sales system fails. If you start with features and benefits, withhold information and use manipulative closing techniques, you are destined for failure.

The salesperson introduced themselves so quickly I didn’t catch their name, understand why they were calling, or who they were representing. However, they proceeded with their sales pitch, never asking if they were interrupting? It was 6:00pm on a Tuesday night.

The salesperson jumped into selling features and benefits. They assumed I was interested in their product and it was a fit. Frustration was setting in and I was losing interest.

Because I am in sales and teach sales training, I was patient. My career started with cold calling and my behavior of cold calling continues to this day. When I receive cold calls, I engage in conversation and if I am not interested, politely decline. However, in this case, the salesperson was not listening to me.

“Most sales people today use techniques that were popular before the advent of jet airplanes” David H. Sandler

Finally, I told them, “I am not interested” and explained why the service did not make sense to me. The next thing shocked me…. the phone went silent, the sales person hung up.

So, what went wrong on this sales call?

First, proper introduction. Start the call with a clear and confident tone. Introduce who you are and the company you represent. Ask the prospect if they have heard of your company. Open the conversation.

Second, ask permission. A cold call is an unannounced call. I often say “ I know I am calling unannounced, did you have 30 seconds”? Perhaps they are busy or not able to take the call because they are truly busy. Respect the prospects.

Third, focus on the prospect. Cold calling is not the time to sell features and benefits. Focus on building rapport and uncovering their needs.

Finally, relax. Cold calling is nothing more than a conversation in an attempt to uncover if a prospect is qualified or disqualified. AND yes, disqualifying is an option. Winging it is not!

Practice. Practice. Practice.

Master your 30 Second Commercial and cold calling will be a positive, powerful, and productive experience. YES, you may even enjoy it.

When the caller hung up, my daughter asked, “who was that mommy?” I replied, “my dear, that was a future Sandler Student”.

©2017 Sandler Training Inc.. ( is an international sales, management training & consulting firm.

If you are uncomfortable with the lost art of Cold calling, struggle getting past Georgina Gatekeeper, or have as much structure in your calls as a bowl of jello, we may be able to help. We’ve got a few seats left in our Cold Call Boot Camp on May 12th.