When I first started at TRO, I remember my boss talking about his previous team making 1000’s of cold calls a week for several years while watching their metrics dwindle. Having done cold calling before for a large corporation, I can understand the frustration of trying to close customers this way. A lot of companies try everything under the sun to fix these problems:

·        Adding more sales people.

·        Cranking up the number of calls made a day.

·        Doing more of what had previously been done to be successful.

Despite all this effort, revenue would continue to fall and more and more sales people would be frustrated. It wasn’t a matter of simply picking up the phone and making more calls. People were simply answering the phone less and this hurts a company’s bottom line.

Even if you are a rock-star at cold calling, (and trust me, I knew some rock-star cold callers) conversion rates for cold calls are typically about 2%, compared to 20% for solid leads and 50% for referrals.

That means you would typically have to burn through 50 leads (aka exhausting them until they are no longer qualified) before getting a sale through cold calls, and that’s if you even get them on the phone! Not only is this time consuming, it’s exhausting for a sales person no matter how seasoned they are.

Most of the time a cold call is guilty of at least one of these annoyances:



quit cold calling phone

  •  You’re interrupting your prospects day, causing a negative experience.

  •  They use caller ID to screen your calls to not pick up when you dial them.

  •  Their gate keeper won’t work with you or only transfers you to voicemail.

  • When the prospect does pick up, they aren’t ready to buy and they are now annoyed at you.

  •  Your prospect already bought from a competitor and no longer needs your service.


What a pain!

Realistically, more and more companies are finding ways to ignore cold callers. It’s gotten so bad that 80-90% of executives say they will never take a cold call. At the same time however, these same companies are still relying on cold calling as their main source of lead generation and salesThis is because of tradition and the fear of trying anything else new, even if it works for other companies in the same market.

Every good sales person knows that to reach your full sales potential you have to believe in the product or service you’re selling. If that’s the case, why then is the same idea not applied to the method used to make sales? If you yourself don’t like receiving cold calls, why would you justify using them yourself, especially when they aren’t effective?

A Simpler solution

I’m not saying ditch your phone all together. In fact, a majority of deals can be done over the phone! What I am saying is introducing an idea over the phone for the first time can severely hurt your chances of securing a sale. If you want to get higher conversion rates, make sure to target potential customers digitally, either with ads or on social media, so that they are aware of you before you ever pick up the phone.

Try introducing yourself over email or LinkedIn first with a light ask to connect. This way you are not only making it convenient for you prospect, but you are empowering them to reach back out to you. This means your prospects are more likely to be willing to talk and qualify themselves.

This is a better solution than holding them hostage over the phone simply because they don’t want to be rude and hang up or they just disconnect because you annoyed them.Try this method of connecting first, and you will see an increase in conversion rates from potential prospects.

Are you looking for more help with handling digital leads? Check out our post How to Follow up with Digital Leads.

For more on why we quit making cold calls, check out our video “Why we Quit Cold Calls”