5 Hints Cold Calls Aren’t Productive

  • 5th March 20155/03/15
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Have you ever received a cold call? Sure you have, although, it’s not so common anymore. How do cold calls make you feel?

Have you ever received a cold call while you’re at work? Well, I recently have. It led me to a conclusion: Cold calls are no longer productive.

Allow me to set the scene.

My Cold Call Experience

Pretend for a moment you work in an office. You’re sitting at your desk with your co-worker quietly doing his thing at his desk next to you. You’re completely concentrated on, let’s say, typing out a blog post for your website.

The phone rings. Your boss in the other room picks it up, “Good morning,” while you continue typing.

“Yes, she’s available. May I ask who’s calling?” You start to wonder if your boss is talking about you. Who could be calling you? “One moment please.”

“Kelsey, The phone is for you,” my boss says to me. Confused, I immediately stop my train-of-thought and pick up the phone, “Hello, this is Kelsey.”

“Hi Kelsey, my name is so-and-so. How are you?”

“I’m good, how are you, so-and-so?”

“Good thank you. I’m calling from such-and-such because I noticed you’ve recently been on our website and enjoyed some free content. Is this a bad time? I’d like to discuss how we might be able to help you market your business?”

My eyes roll and rage begins to fill my chest. “Oh, I’m not interested.”


That’s right. So-and-so hung up on me.

I place the phone back on the charger feeling a combination of disbelief and anger. So-and-so called me and then had the nerve to hand up on me. Is this real life?

Then, I realized, I basically asked for this cold call. My boss had forwarded me an email from such-and-such offering free high-resolution photos in which I was required to reveal a number of personal details, including my telephone number.

I walked right into the trap. Now, not only do I feel disbelief and anger, I feel violated.

1. Cold calls are a violation of privacy

‘Cold emailing’ is illegal in Canada because it’s a violation of the receiver’s right to privacy. A phone call is a more personal experience than emailing. Therefore, cold calling should be seen as an invasive, unacceptable practice.

2. Cold calls waste your time

You have no idea if the person is actually interested in the products/services you offer. You’re shooting blanks. Usually, individuals do their own research on their own time to source a product or service they’re in need of.

3. Cold calls waste my time, too

I can’t hire you anyway. I’m not the decision-maker of the company. I’m also not likely to transfer you to speak to that person if I feel you’ll be wasting their time.

4. Cold calls alter your brand’s reputation

By invading someone’s right to privacy, interrupting their day, and forcing your product/service down their throat, you’re ultimately altering the viewpoint that individual will forever have on your company. Pair that with the power of word of mouth and an online reputation, you’re traveling down a slippery slope.

5. Consider alternatives

Consider a follow-up call from an initial point of contact or a Google AdWords campaign instead of cold calling. These methods ensure you effectively target your leads at the right stage of the buying process.

What’s your opinion on cold calling?

Kelsey Vere

Social Content & New Media Specialist at Digital eMspace
As the Social Content & New Media Specialist for Digital eMspace, a division of Inc, Kelsey is the sole contributor to Digital eMspace's Blog and a fellow contributor to Inc.'s blog, with Samantha Collier. Kelsey also manages Digital eMspace, Inc., and's social media networks. Kelsey graduated with distinction from the Advertising Program at Conestoga College and won the Outstanding Achievement Award of 2012/13.

Kelsey - I am assuming this is your personal opinion and not a sales professional opinion. Cold Calling is not illegal. Again I assume that is your opinion not based on fact. I do not know of anyone who enjoys cold calling but it is effective and profitable. Though you appear to remember this one call there is not allot of cold calling done especially B2B. When you measure time and money spent on marketing and sales process to gain a new client you will see that cold calling is low cost compared to other forms of attracting new clients. You should have 4 sources to gain new business. Certainly repeat and referral are the best but they do not always bring in enough business. so other forms are needed. I would not call someone calling you after you visited their website as a cold call. You initiated it. It is more of a warm call. Now if a cold call is done properly it will be brief and cause you no stress. If it is done poorly, I can see why you are upset. If you would like to learn how to cold call properly, I call "No pressure prospecting" , please give me a call: 519-572-6111

Kelsey Vere
Kelsey Vere moderator

Hi Patrick, @potoole, thanks for your comment!

Yes, this is my personal opinion and I am definitely not a sales professional. :-) 

I apologize if you misunderstood what I meant when I said "cold calls are a violation of privacy". I didn't mean that it's against the law, but that in my opinion, it's more invasive than email marketing, which IS illegal.

It's hard to say that cold calling is an effective method of your sales budget as it depends on each unique business and a million other things. I agree that other forms of marketing are needed in order to ultimately convert leads, however, I don't believe that cold calling is one of them. But hey, this is definitely based on the number of poor cold calls I've experienced and my own research on the topic.

I do believe that a follow-up call, after an initial contact, can be effective. No, I don't consider this instance where I input my personal details in exchange for unrelated free content, is considered an initial contact.

I appreciate your feedback, Patrick! Thanks for the "No pressure prospecting" opportunity - I'll keep that in mind!

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