Top 10 Classic Cold Call Blunders

Cold calling is a difficult art to master. However, before you can master it, you need to avoid the worst blunders. This post contains 10 recordings of telephone calls illustrating the 10 most common errors that sales reps make when cold calling.

The sales training firm Telemasters recorded these calls and put them on the web, with pretty good interpretations of what went wrong and quick advice on how to do better.

However, I have a slightly different interpretation of what went wrong, so I've retitled them, and added my own brief analysis, along with links to Sales Machine posts that can help, if you're suffering from the blunder in question.

As always, comments are welcome.

CLICK HERE to view the first cold call blunder »

Cold Call Blunder #10:
TALKING TOO MUCH PRODUCT

  • What he did: He talked about product features and functions.
  • Why he did it: He assumed the customer understood the value.
  • What resulted: The prospect lost interest and spaced out.
  • How to improve: Explain why the customer might want to buy.
  • To learn more: CLICK to "Create an Opportunity in 10 Seconds"
CLICK HERE for the next cold call blunder »
Cold Call Blunder #9: FUMBLING WITH THE GATEKEEPER

  • What he did: He asked the gatekeeper to identify a decision-maker.
  • Why he did it: He did not research the prospect prior to calling.
  • What resulted: The gatekeeper fudged him off and hung up.
  • How to improve: Always have a target contact before you call.
  • To learn more: CLICK to "How do YOU handle gatekeepers?"
CLICK HERE for the next cold call blunder »
Cold Call Blunder #8
LEAVING A TOTALLY LAME VOICE MAIL

  • What he did: He babbled on and on about nothing.
  • Why he did it: He wasn't clear why he was calling.
  • What resulted: The message was immediately deleted.
  • How to improve: Give a brief, compelling message; then call back.
  • To learn more: CLICK to "How to Prospect Using Voice Mail."
CLICK HERE for the next cold call blunder »
Cold Call Blunder #7:
FAILING TO BUILD RAPPORT

Note: this audio isn't a cold-call, per se, but it illustrates the basic principle that rapport is required to handle customers and prospects appropriately.

  • What she did: She focused on her process rather than the customer.
  • Why she did it: She was unable to empathize with his emotions.
  • What resulted: The customer became irritated and terminated the call.
  • How to improve: Focus on what the customer wants, not what you want.
  • To learn more: CLICK to "How to Build Rapport on the Phone"
CLICK HERE for the next cold call blunder »
Cold Call Blunder #6:
FAILING TO DIFFERENTIATE YOUR OFFERING

  • What she did: She had no reason for the customer to change vendors.
  • Why she did it: She had no idea what was different about her offering.
  • What resulted: The prospect shrugged off the call.
  • How to improve: Make sure your initial message expresses uniqueness.
  • To learn more: CLICK to "Competitors are in My Account! HELP!"
CLICK HERE for the next cold call blunder »
Cold Call Blunder #5
FOLDING AT THE FIRST OBJECTION

  • What he did: He gave up at the first sign of resistance.
  • Why she did it: He's afraid of rejection so he bails to avoid the pain.
  • What resulted: He probably made a series of similar failed calls.
  • How to improve: Have a list of answers to objections ready.
  • To learn more: CLICK to "The Ultimate Cold Calling Tool"
CLICK HERE for the next cold call blunder »
Cold Call Blunder #4:
FAILING TO LISTEN CAREFULLY

  • What he did: He didn't listen to what the prospect was saying.
  • Why he did it: He was focusing on what he was going to say.
  • What resulted: He queered the deal by making himself look dumb.
  • How to improve: Rehearse before you call; listen before you speak.
  • To learn more: CLICK to "To Sell More, Listen to Your Voice"
CLICK HERE for the next cold call blunder »
Cold Call Blunder #3:
ASKING A STRANGER FOR A REFERRAL

  • What she did: She asked for a referral before earning that right.
  • Why she did it: Some idiot sales manager put that in her script.
  • What resulted: She wasted her time and the prospect's time.
  • How to improve: Only ask delighted customers for referrals.
  • To learn more: CLICK to "Five Rules for Great Referrals"
CLICK HERE for the next cold call blunder »
Cold Call Blunder #2
TALKING ABOUT YOURSELF


CLICK HERE for the next cold call blunder »
  • What he did: He talked about his job and his desire to meet.
  • Why he did it: He is impressed with himself and thinks others are, too.
  • What resulted: The prospect hung up thinking him a prize a**.
  • How to improve: Rehearse before you call; listen before you speak.
  • To learn more: CLICK to "Everything You Need to Know about Customers"
Cold Call Blunder #1:
PRETENDING TO BE FRIENDLY

  • What he did: He tried to use social conversation to build rapport.
  • Why he did it: Some pinhead sales trainer said it was a good idea.
  • What resulted: He immediately and irrecoverably offended the prospect.
  • How to improve: Introduce yourself briefly; give your reason for calling.
  • To learn more: CLICK to "Top 10 Dumb Mistakes Sales Reps Make."

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