Engaging Ideas: A leader’s guide to creating employee & customer commitment

Cold Call Test

This True/False test will help clarify some common myths and misperceptions about cold calling. We've based the "correct" responses on research found in books written specifically on cold calling and on our own experience as a global sales training provider.


Keep in mind that some of these questions could have different correct responses in special cases. So be sure to answer from a general sales perspective rather than from the perspective of a unique selling situation.




1. The only goal for any business-to-business cold call should be to schedule an appointment.


TRUE: Salespeople often make the mistake of selling their solutions when cold calling. This is a deadly error. Sell only one thing at a time. If the person is willing to talk now, focus on getting the appointment.


2. Cold Calling will generally generate results that are just as good as referrals.


FALSE: Referrals tend to have higher closing ratios for appointments.


3. It is not a high priority to qualify prospects when cold calling. The key is to set up as many appointments as possible.


FALSE: Save time for you and your prospects by ensuring you have qualified leads before taking the time to make and attend an appointment with a prospect.


4. You should leave a message for the buyer when you get voicemail instead of the actual person.


TRUE: Never miss an opportunity to leave a positive impression about you and your company. Also, remember that many people use caller ID. They may be wondering why you called and then failed to leave a message.


5. Most salespeople stop cold calling a prospect after four tries.


TRUE: Unfortunately, most salespeople give up after only four tries.


6. After you've made a certain number of cold calls, it becomes less important to keep records of your results.


FALSE: Most salespeople hate paperwork and keeping records, but it is the only way to find out what is working. And just because something works (or doesn't) this year, that doesn't mean it won't change next year...or next week.


7. Always make friends with the gatekeeper.


FALSE: Good relationships with gatekeepers can be a salesperson's best asset. These individuals can give you a positive look into the customer's organisation. So you should always be friendly with the gatekeeper, but you don't need to necessarily befriend the gatekeeper. These individuals may feel that your interest is an intrusion and suspect that you are trying to manipulate them or they just may never have contact with any decision-makers in the company. Be cautious about feeling that you are making great progress when you could be wasting your time and theirs.


8. If a prospect doesn't want to talk to you, it's probably personal.


FALSE: You have no idea what is going on in a person's world when you cold call. Remember not to take anything personally.


9. Less information is better when leaving a voicemail.


TRUE: Thirty seconds is about as long as you can hold someone's attention with a voice mail.


10. Experienced salespeople are past prospecting and develop all their business from current clients and referrals.


FALSE: Over time, we all lose customers because they go out of business, relocate, change their business and for a host of other reasons. Experienced salespeople plan for this loss of clientele and continue to look for new prospects.


11. Experienced professionals use scripts when prospecting on the phone.


TRUE: Scripts help us make sure we are using the words with the maximum impact on prospects. Professionals practice them enough so that they don't sound like scripts.


12. Cold calling doesn't have to be a constant activity. Once your business gets going, you should be able to eliminate it.


FALSE: The majority of your business should eventually come from existing clients and referrals, but if you stop cold calling, you are missing potentially valuable business opportunities.



See more related articles:

Avoiding the Tyranny of the Urgent

Achieving Customer Commitment