Sales and Sales Management Blog

December 25, 2008

Top 12 Sales Articles of the Year–September: “Why Decision Makers Hate Cold Calls,” by Paul McCord

The September monthly winner at Top 10 Sales Articles was my article, “Why Decision Makers Hate Cold Calls,” originally published at EyesonSales.  My article is one of 12 monthly winners vying for Sales Article of the Year.

Top 10 Sales Articles selected the 10 best out of the thousands of articles published each week.  The weekly winners then went to head to head competition with each other, the best being named the Article of the Month.  Now, out of the over 500 articles nominated, the 12 monthly winners are now competing for Article of the Year honors.

Each day I’ll be posting one of the monthly winners.  Read them and then head over to Top 10 Sales Articles and vote for your favorite.  Better yet-go there now, read all 12 and cast your vote (for my article, of course).

Why Decision Makers Hate Cold Calls
By Paul McCord

The simple answer to why decision makers hate cold calls is cold calls are one of the biggest time wasters for them.

Decision makers hate cold calls and have no interest in taking your call because all you do is waste their time.  Period.

Now, you don’t see it the same way.  You believe you have something of value to offer the decision maker–actually, you want to see if you have something of value for them. You have to qualify them and that’s one of the things you’re hoping to begin to do while speaking with them.  All you want is a couple of minutes of their time to set an appointment and learn a little something about whether or not they’re a qualified prospect.

To you, all you’re asking is just three, four, maybe five minutes of their time and a short little 10 or 15 minute appointment.  No big deal–just a moment of their time.

But look at what you’re asking from their point of view:

1. You’re not the only call they’ll get that day. They’ll get 5, 10, 15, maybe more cold calls on any given workday.  You only want 5 minutes of their time?  Well, that 5 minutes can add up to a half an hour, an hour, two hours or more if they spoke to everyone who called.  Everyday.

2. You only want a short 10 or 15 minute meeting. Sure.  They understand that you’re asking for 10 and intend to stay 45.  They learned the BS about the 10 minute meeting their first week on the job.

3. You just want to ask a few questions to gather information to grab their interest to set an appointment. You sound like every other salesperson who calls.  That’s what they all want.  They want the decision to educate them about why they called, that is, to give them a reason to try to set a meeting with the decision maker.

4. When they politely say ‘no,’ you won’t accept it. Instead you try to probe, to flush out the objection, to give more reasons to meet with you.  Finally, they get mad enough to slam the phone down or tell you in no uncertain terms ‘NO.’

5. When you call, you have nothing of interest to them. They’re not thinking about your great new copier because they still have 2 years on the lease of their current copier.  They’re not thinking about replacing their phone system, they’re thinking about the server that just crashed.  They’re not thinking about a new accounting system because they’re thinking about the big deal they just lost that morning.

How would you like to go through that 5, 10, 15 times a day? Everyday?  Without fail? What would be your resolution to the problem?  Would you take those calls?  You would do the same thing they do-not take any calls.

And decision makers have made it as obvious as possible that they don’t want your call.  They’ve put gatekeepers in place to keep you out.  They’ve got voice mail to filter who they want to talk to and who they don’t.  They put signs on the door that say ‘no soliciting.’  As soon as they discover you’re a salesperson they say ‘no,’ and hang up.

Yet, you think-you hope-that you’re the exception. That they’ll take your call.  That they’ll want to speak with you despite the signals they’ve given.  That you’re different from other 5, 10, or 15 salespeople who will call that day.

Cold calling is viewed by many salespeople, managers, and companies as the quickest, easiest, and cheapest way to find prospects. It isn’t. It is in many ways the most difficult and expensive because when you cold call you’re trying to connect with someone who has already indicated as plainly as they possibly can that they don’t want to speak with you.  In order to overcome that, you have to make massive numbers of calls in order to find someone, anyone you can corner.

If you choose to cold call, you’ve a hard road ahead of you.  Few top producers waste their time cold calling because it is so ineffective and costly.  However, if you do choose to cold call, invest in getting the best cold call training you can.  Your investment will pay off with greatly increased results-you’ll still waste a lot of time; you’ll still face a tremendous amount of rejection; you’ll still have to eventually find better ways to connect with prospects; but at least make your efforts as profitable as possible.



  1. I strongly agree with this article. It is very important to warm up a cold prospect through passive means. Using multiple media types all tied together tends to work best. Imagine sending a fax with some information, followed up with an email. Followed by a call just to make the prospect aware of the next fax or email you are sending. Your call should be only seconds long and non intrusive. If you work it right the second time you call, the prospect will recognize you and be willing to give you thye time needed.

    Comment by Troy Bingham Dialer — December 31, 2008 @ 2:45 pm | Reply

  2. No one likes to cold call so you have to warm them up…If you want to make cold calling easier, use It’s all about getting to the right prospect fast with data, tools, service.

    Comment by Jonathan Brickman, VP Sales and Service — February 3, 2009 @ 8:25 am | Reply

  3. Just noticed the reference to Rain King Online. We recently adopted this service and consider it to be very strategic to our continued success in 2009 and beyond.

    Comment by Nate Llerandi, Director of Sales — February 3, 2009 @ 4:51 pm | Reply

  4. You should also check out DiscoverOrg – if you are trying to connect with Key IT Decision Makers at Fortune 2000 companies. They provide In Depth IT Department Org Charts and Contact lists including name, job title, email address and direct phone number. They are truly the Bentley of the IT Data Industry.

    Comment by Joel Castor — June 10, 2009 @ 2:48 am | Reply

  5. Good tips, esp since I need to sell recruitment services to schools and find the main decision makers are very hard to get hold of.

    Comment by Charles Knight — February 3, 2011 @ 6:18 am | Reply

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