Things to Consider Before Cold Calling

Cold CallingI know that you have sales goals, and that pressure to produce can be overwhelming.  You know what level of person you are looking to reach and have a well designed cold-call script.  Are you missing something, is there more you can do to prepare?

Three Things to consider before cold calling your next prospect are:

  1. What is the worst-case scenario?
  2. What is the best-case scenario?
  3. Are you prepared for both?

The worst-case scenario is the worst possible outcome once you have made contact with a prospect.
Usually, this means that the person tells you (among other things):

a. That they are absolutely not interested (followed by a dreaded sound…click).
b. Don’t call me I’ll call you. 
c. That they are too busy right now why don’t you send me some information.

Many times these scenarios are indicative of a death sentence for a sales opportunity, mainly because the sales person is not prepared to transition a rejection to an opportunity.  What are you going to do about it?  Are you going to walk away/give up?  Unfortunately, many sales people do just that.  Yet elite sales professionals will tell you that that many of the high earnings they have enjoyed are tied directly to a sales conversation that began as a “worst case” scenario.  Never say die is a staple attitude in winning the sale.

Instead of cowering under the pressure of rejection, you should institute a Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) for yourself.  When your prospect takes the least desirable path, simply institute you SOP for that situation, every time it occurs.  As a sales manager, or high performing rep, an SOP is very advantageous.  You have a predictability factor, which is vital to sales success as well as customer satisfaction.  There are sales techniques that will assist in opening locked doors, but these must be done consistently.  If you want a sample of an SOP for this situation, send me an email or Linked in message.

What is the best-case scenario?

It does not happen often, but it does happen.  A prospect tells you:

a.    Sounds like something we have been thinking about what should we do next?
b.    Can you come and meet with us we would like to learn more?
c.    Yes this is perfect, let’s get started.

Ask yourself the following: If a prospect were to have one of the above responses, would I know exactly what to do next, can I paint a clear picture of the path outlined next steps?   Once a prospect has a moment of clarity, and realizes that your solution is the right one, the last thing you want to do is confuse them, because nobody buys confused.  Think of how it makes you feel when you excitedly start out on a road trip, only to realize that you have no idea how to get there.  Now think of your prospect who has just chosen you, I certainly do not want to be the one to let the air out of their tires.  Start to think of how you can combine old world sales skills with new world sales tools.

Ironically, sales people are often better prepared for the rejection scenario than the acceptance scenario.  If your quest is to become or remain an elite sales performer then you should have an SOP for this situation as well.  This SOP will serve as an implementation plan, it should be simple, professional and above all else utilitarian.  It is essential to refine your skills daily to practice and produce more effective sales communication.  Here is an example of best-case scenario response.

Please share any ideas that you have for responses to one of the above scenarios, which have proven successful in your selling process.


  1. Christopher Ryan's avatar

    Christopher Ryan

    David, your article provides a thoughtful approach to cold calling and I believe it applies equally well to warm calling (e.g. following up web inquiries). I especially like what you said about using a Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) when faced with a situation that would otherwise be considered a rejection.
  2. Suparna Biswas's avatar

    Suparna Biswas

    Hi David, I am new in the marketing field and would like to learn more about marketing techniques. Could you please email me a copy of SOP? Thank you.
  3. Lori Maguire's avatar

    Lori Maguire

    I am currently involved in bringing a new innovative safety product to an industrial market and many prospective customers reject the item out of hand because they have not heard of the product or application of the product. I would really appreciate some samples of SOPs for rejection responses to initiate more effective follow-on conversations.<br /> <br /> Thank you
  4. Patrick Troup's avatar

    Patrick Troup

    If you want a sample of an SOP for this situation, send me an email or Linked in message.<br /> <br /> Can you please send me a copy of an SOP to a rejection?<br /> <br /> Thanks, <br /> <br /> Patrick
  5. Jay's avatar


    David, <br /> I enjoyed the article. I especially like the SOP for different scenarios. Can you please provide me with some examples of an SOP for rejections? <br /> Many thanks!<br /> Jay

Leave a Comment