Cold calling is a waste of time and people will be mean to you

If you have a real job, especially if you have some sort of management position and it looks like you might have a budget people will call you and try to sell you things.


“Hi. This is Lisa calling from Can I just ask what sort of content management system Hertfordshire County Council uses?”

“I have no idea I say. I work for Herefordshire Council ((That’s Herefordshire Council not Herefordshire County Council. The full name of the local authority is The County of Herefordshire District Council. Dull but true.)) . We have fewer stockbrokers and more cattle. (( I came up with that line at a panel discussion the other week. I’m quite proud of it. This entire blog post is just an excuse to rehearse it for a new audience.))

“Sorry. Anyway we’ve got the greatest content management system in the world. Would you like to see it?”

“No thanks, we’re quite happy with our current content management system”

“OK. When shall I call you back to check whether you’ve got bored with your content management system?”


It’s annoying, it’s intrusive, it’s inconvenient and you find yourself vowing that, when you go freelance, you will not cold call anyone.


Which is laudable ((Apart from the part of you that is avoiding it because you are scared of rejection. Wimp.)) but not the greatest business decision you’ve ever made.


You see companies aren’t cold calling you in order to annoy you. In fact most of them recognise that annoying their customers is likely to lower rather than increase sales.


The problem is that customers tend to be a bit rubbish and they really don’t care about the convenience of their suppliers. Often customers don’t make buying decisions based on a thorough and objective assessment of the market. Often they go with the people they’ve heard of, or from, or the people who called them last week.


And your competitors will cold call.


So, in order to avoid penury, starvation and the slow decline into pressing f5 every 60 seconds to see if anyone’s sent you an email you probably are going to have to cold call people.


But you might try to minimise the pain on both sides ((The both sides thing is important. A couple of Martinis will reduce the pain on your side but will increase the pain on theirs.)) :

– do some research and call people who might actually be interested in your product

– don’t be pushy and do be brief

– if it’s not working, stop it

– listen to what you’re being told and use it to improve your product


Though some people will be mean to you ((Mind they don’t have your advantages. They aren’t freelancing for a start.)) .