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Phone-Ins, Warm Calls & Cold Calls

Author: Jeffrey Mayer   |   September 27th, 2009

What’s the “easy” way to make a living as a salesperson? How can I make lots of money without having to call on people? How can I get people to call me, so I don’t have to call them?

These are the types of questionsI’m asked every day. It seems that everybody’s looking for that wonderful sales secret that will turn them into sales superstars, without having to work.

If you find that secret, please share it with me.

For myself, I’ve found that the best way to make a living in sales is to use the telephone. It’s the most cost-, and time-effective tool you have.

Learn how to make the phone work for you and you’ll become a huge success. Fight the phone and you’ll be looking for some other type of work in no time at all.

Like it or not, sooner or later you’ve got to speak with your customer over the phone.

Maybe it’s a:

* Cold call, where you’ve never spoken before; or
* Warm call, where you’ve been introduced by a mutual friend or you’ve already met the person; or
* Phone in, where the person calls you and wants to do business with you.

Obviously, phone ins are the most desirable types of business generating activities. But they don’t happen by accident.

If you want to have people phoning you and wanting to buy your products, you must create advertising, marketing and/or promotional campaigns where people hear of you and want to learn more about what you can do for them.

If you’re not actively getting your name in front of potential customers your phone will never ring.

You have to position yourself in the mind of the customer that you’ve a product or service that they would find of value. This is something that companies spend thousands, tens of thousands,
or tens of millions of dollars on.

Look at the amount of money Proctor & Gamble; General Motors, and Microsoft spend on television, radio, newspaper and magazine advertising.

If you don’t have that kind of money to spend, you can mail out postcards, form letters, electronic newsletters – like this one, and create a Web site.

But just because you’ve done all of the above, doesn’t guarantee that anybody will respond to your advertising, marketing or promotional activities.

Surprisingly, even though sales people ‘dream’ of getting phone-ins, many of them never get around to picking up the phone and calling these people back.

How many hot leads do you have laying on the top of your desk that you haven’t ‘pounced’ on?

What’s keeping you from picking up the phone, closing the sale, and putting some money in the bank?

Warm Calls
The next best type of prospect is a warm call. This could be a referral or someone you met at a conference, convention or a networking event.

But what are you going to do with those business cards you’ve collected? Put them in the lap drawer of your desk? Add the person to your database? Then what?

If you’re going to wait for the person to call you, it will probably be a long time before the phone rings.

It’s still your responsibility to pick up the phone.

Studies have shown that the most successful networkers are the ones who follow-up with the people they meet.

Cold Calling
This is the one area of sales that ‘everybody’ hates to do. Calling on someone who they’ve never spoken to before. Why? Because they’re afraid of being rejected.

So What!

Here are three questions to ask yourself:

1. What’s the worst thing that can happen? You get hung up on, or somebody could yell at you. (You could hang up on them!)

2. What’s the best thing that could happen? You could get an appointment, close a sale, and make some money.

3. What’s the most likely thing that would happen? You speak to the person and they aren’t interested. You get voice mail. You get blocked by a gatekeeper.

When I first started out in sales I was whining about getting rejected. Pauline Novak, my trainer, grabbed me by the shoulders, looked me straight in the eyes, and said, “Jeff, if you aren’t being rejected, you’re not trying hard enough!!!”

If you figure that only one of every hundred prospects will do business with you than your challenge is to find a hundred leads, work them as fast as possible, find the one person who buys, throw the
other 99 names away, and find another list of 100 names.

When you speak with someone who says NO, that’s not rejection. It’s confirmation.

Three things happen when you overcome your fear of cold calling:

1. You close more of the phone-in sales because you respond to their inquiries immediately.

2. You create more opportunities from your warm calls because you follow-up with the people you met at your networking events.

3. You stumble on some very nice pieces of business because you called on someone who just happened to need the things you sold at the moment you called.

Letters & Faxes Don’t Close Business
With these thoughts in mind, I received this e-mail from Sally who is telling me her tale of woe:

“I’ve a bunch of prospects for my services and I’ve mailed 20 letters to these companies to introduce my firm to them. Nobody has responded to my letter of introduction, and believe me,
it’s a good one.”

Sally should be picking up the phone to call her prospects instead of whining to me. But if you’re running a business with only 20 prospects you’re in big trouble. You need to have a much larger universe of prospects.

The same day I got Sally’s e-mail I got a fax from Steve  promoting his company’s services. This is how the fax read:

To: Owner/General Manager
From: Steve Jamison
Re: New Corporate Customers

[The Please Reply box was circled.]

This was Steve’s handwritten note:

Business consulting services to small and medium sized businesses, and if so, I’d like to speak to the owner or general manager.
[He started with an incomplete sentence.]

We just finished compiling a group of prospects located in your area that are targeted to spend money on outside consulting services this year.

Your prospects are guaranteed and proven to be the quickest and easiest way to make more money with very little effort.

If you want new corporate customers, call me at 1-800-222-1234.  I would like to help you!


Steve Jamison

I don’t know where Sally and Steve got the idea that they could get business by writing a handful of letters or sending out a bunch of faxes. It doesn’t work.

If you want to grow your business you’ve got to use the telephone.

Pounce on all your phone-ins and close the sale. Turn your warm leads into happy customers. And use the telephone to look for new customers.

Learn how to use the phone more effectively and you could double your business during the next twelve months.


Reprinted with permission from “Jeffrey Mayer’s Newsletter. (Copyright, 2003 – 2005, Jeffrey J. Mayer, To subscribe to Jeff’s free newsletter, visit

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3 Responses to “Phone-Ins, Warm Calls & Cold Calls”

  1. Julia Says:

    Good point. with all of the social networking, and e-mail people for get the power of a direct contact.most of us are way to busy to read e-mail and sales letters. It may be a good introduction but I much prefer talking to a real person.

  2. Kristen Butler Says:

    Hello, I wanted to contact you because I love this blog, and I am creating a newsletter for MyWay Interactive (the largest lead generating network online). I would love to feature this article in our newsletter this week. It will reach over 5,000 subscribers. Please visit the website and let me know if I can feature your blog in our newsletter. If you can get back to me at the email address provided as soon as possible… that would be wonderful. Thank you for your time!
    Btw, I can also provide you with the copy of the newsletter before it goes out if necessary. Thanks!
    Kristen Butler
    MyWay Interactive

  3. Jenni L Says:

    Hello. I am currently enrolled in marketing class at my college, and was having trouble understanding the concepts of warm and cold calling, as well as ways to improve these techniques. This site provided an excellent description of these types of calls, and helped me in formulating my thoughts on the subjects. Thank you for an insightful article!

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