4. Plan Your Cold Call

Thirty seconds of planning—before you pick up the phone—is all it takes to help ensure a more successful call. Many sellers don’t even take that short time to prepare. This is the fourth of several tips from Joe Friedman on how to make more effective sales calls.


I'm going to talk a little about the cold calling or prospecting process. The very first thing you need to do is some level of research. Is this a company that has a need for what I sell? Do they have the capacity to buy it in the volume that I’d like? Can I find the people that I ought to be talking to? And I'm going to leave that to you.

It’s obvious when a caller hasn’t prepared. Thirty seconds of preparation is all it takes to improve that.

I want to talk about a piece of the process that is the most frequently ignored—30 seconds of preparation before you even pick up the phone.

I’ve been in sales a long time. And because my name is on our company, I am the recipient of a fair number of cold calls. I can tell when people haven’t prepared for their cold calling. The way I tell is by what happens when I actually do pick up the phone: “Uh... uh... it's you?!” or "[unintelligible mumbles]... is this Joe?" That type of thing can be handled by 30 seconds of preparation before you pick up the phone.

What do I do during those 30 seconds of preparation? What am I going to say if someone actually picks up the phone? What if I get their voicemail? Do I leave one? Or not? By the way, we’ll talk about that very issue of voicemail at another time. What resistance do I expect? How will I respond to that resistance? If I pick up the phone and I’m not prepared, more times than not I hang back up, jot a couple notes to myself and pick up the phone again.

Thirty seconds of preparation is all it takes to help ensure that what happens from that moment forward goes successfully.