15 Ways to Stay Motivated and Focused When Cold Calling

By Jim Domanski

Most sales reps would rather endure a root canal than make a cold call. Cold calling is often be grueling so many reps procrastinate. And as they delay, the thought of dialing becomes more and more onerous. But it doesn’t have to be that way if you follow these 15 simple tips:

1. The 1 hour sprint – Treat the cold calling not as a marathon which is tedious and grueling but rather as a sprint. Devote a good solid hour to calling then stop. An hour is manageable and achievable and not nearly as discouraging as the thought of four hours of cold calls.

2. Set a goal. Having a 1-hour sprint is great, but tie it to an objective. For example, you might have a goal of a minimum of 30 or 40 attempts. This will help ensure that you stay on the dialing track and not idle away the time with other activities (see #7 for more info).

3. Schedule your cold calling. Sit down right now with your calendar or planner and schedule that 1-hour sprint EVERY day for the next three week. Consider it an unbreakable appointment. This will create discipline and reduce procrastination.

4. Fish where the fish are. Are there better times than others to reach your target market? You bet there is and that’s when you should be calling. Executives, for instance, are easier to reach early in the morning, say, from 7:00 onwards. Wake up early and start dialing. You’ll increase your success almost immediately.

5. Do it first. If your target market doesn’t have a particular time that’s more effective than another, then schedule your cold calling for first thing in the morning. Do it first. Get it finished so that it doesn’t linger over you like the sword of Damocles.

6. Create a Master List. Don’t fiddle with your data base flipping back and forth from screen to screen. Get a list of 30 prospects. Put their names on a pad of paper with their phone numbers. Begin at the top and start dialing. Go down the list. If there is no answer, don’t leave a message, go on to the next name and number. If you get through the list with no answer, start at the top of the list and begin again. This creates speed, rhythm and focus on productivity.

7. Be prepared. Duh! Be prepared and organized. Have your opening statement prepared ahead of time. Shoot from the hip and don’t shilly-shally. Know what you want to say. Practice it if you have to. Have any job aids you might need in front of you. Have a pen that works. Clean your desk of clutter and distraction. Do all this before you start your 1-hour sprint.

8. Call and only call. Don’t use your 1- hour sprint to make copious notes, stuff envelopes, send a fax or compose an e-mail after a call. You’ll use up precious minutes. Stick to your hour of dialing and stick to the goal you set (see #2). After you’ve done your dialing you can go back and update information.

9. Reward yourself. You’ve heard this one before: if you do your solid hour of dialing, give yourself a reward. Maybe it is a triple grande latte at Starbucks. Whatever. Something.

10. Create a competition. Misery loves company. If you have associates, get them to cold call with you at the same time. Have contest for dials, connects, presentations, leads or sales. Buy a small trophy and award it to each other on a daily basis. Have fun with it.

11. Make a commitment to someone else. Publicly state to a co-worker, boss, friend, significant other or whoever that you WILL do 1 hour of cold calling at a given time. Ask them to ask you how you did. Telling them you didn’t do it will make you feel embarrassed and sheepish which means you’ll want to avoid it at all costs. (Thus, you’re more likely to pick up the phone and get it done).

12. Track results. Keep track of your dials, connects, presentations, leads, sales and revenues. Make a chart on a sheet of paper. Use little ‘sticks’ to record your results. This is easy and take.67 seconds per stick so it save time. Over time you can create a predictive model. If you have a boss, it’s also a great way to provide feedback on lists or offers.

13. Avoid the Dementors. In the Harry Potter books, ‘Dementors’ are creatures that literally suck the life spirit from people. Whiners and complainers are like Dementors. Avoid them at all cost. They’ll drag you down and eventually your drive and spirit will be depleted.

14. Hang out with winners. If there’s someone who is good at cold calling, or at the very least, is disciplined about cold calling. Sit near him or her. Feed off their energy. Compete with them (see #10). Their drive and spirit is infectious.

15. Don’t be a wimp. You know what’s real easy? Quitting. It’s real easy to quit. Don’t be wimp and stick to the plan and follow the tips here. Give these ideas a chance. Your revenue and your job may depend on it. So don’t quit. Be persistent.

Cold calling doesn’t have to be as miserable as we sometime make it. Follow these tips and you’ll create momentum and the process will not be so taxing. It’ll be easy, faster and more effective. Just do it.

Jim Domanski is president of Teleconcepts Consulting and works with companies and individuals who struggle to use the telephone more effectively. Author of four highly regarded books on tele-selling, Jim also writes two e-newsletters for tele-sales reps and tele-sales managers. He has also provided training and consulting to audiences, universities, and clients through the US, Canada and Europe. Visit his website at or e-mail him at
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