Cold Calling Is The Primal Fear You Must Overcome To Master Modern Selling

Cold Calling Is The Primal Fear You Must Overcome To Master Modern Selling

[This is a guest blog contributed by a best-selling author, and award-winning Blogger, Tony Hughes. Read more about him at the end of this blog.]

Is this smartphone ball and chain really a communication device? I don't think so. The chiropractors of the world must be rejoicing because homo novus has the worst posture in human history shackled to "the third appendage."

Cold calling should be "warm" calling, I get your pushback. But I disagree. Sales is about real communication and I believe we need a massive return to innocence.

I challenge Sales Leaders to literally "turn off all digital devices." I challenge sales leaders to give reps a headset and a target list with just switchboards to call on for one month straight, pad and pen. That's it!

Why Cold Call? Literally, face your fears and call a stranger in the middle of the day. Like at 9am on Monday morning or 4pm on a Friday afternoon when you least want to! I would challenge you to do zero research and get your wrist slapped. Feel the sting of rejection and let it sculpt you into a stronger person. Yes, research is good but get to the point where you stop caring about the outcome.

Reps obsess over making the perfect call at the perfect time of day to the perfect prospect as if they're about to get in an elevator with Mark Cuban and get 30 seconds to pitch. Mark Cuban ran a college bar and if he had to start all over would be the master of... wait for it... "cold calling!"

If you just master this one skill, your entire career will be transformed from inside out. Focus all your energy only on developing this one mental muscle for 6 months and watch your self-esteem, income, and influence take off like a rocket ship!

Even if you only talk to 2 in 100 people. But you could utilize ConnectandSell and get those contact rates through the roof: just ask Chris Beall who lives life at 1,000 dials a day. I've affectionately nicknamed Chris, Bruce Wayne because he is The Dark Knight of our Social Selling Crazed Digital Age of charlatan Jokers fear mongering to sell multi-level-marketing, social selling schlock to the intoxicated masses.

Chris Beall is cleaning up Gotham just like Batman, trust me.

People are petrified to be human and authentically communicate. There's been a vast introversion bordering on obsession in checking mobile devices 250 times per day. This is not healthy for the human brain or natural. You see couples at fine dining restaurants immersed head down on Facebook (always Facebook) or Instagram. You see it on the train, the endless swiping of iPads of meaningless Us Magazine drivel, living vicariously through celebrities shallow excuse for a hollow existence.

What is sales, really? What defines success? It's about communicating with others. It goes beyond fear of the phone. Maybe you fear something deeper. Like being found out. Like someone discovering you're full of hot air. It's endemic to a virtual society of isolation where no one knows anyone anymore, our whole waking lives constructed of the selfie stick and the humble brag, a Jenga game of polished glass ready to shatter at the sound of a human voice.

It's a call to arms for everyone to just get real. The purpose of social media like LinkedIn was always to connect. It still is and there is a ragtag band of well-intentioned practitioners of the dark art of Social Selling on here who really are doing that. I'd say it's the exception, not the rule, however. People like Koka Sexton and Jill Rowley do it right but they're seldom emulated when I get 200 identical spam messages in my inbox every time I accept a LinkedIn invite.

When I'm reaching out to people, I reach out to the ones I truly believe I can help. I don't waste time on anyone who I feel cannot transact with me. My positive intent and belief in my product is a port in the storm of rejection. This rain of rejection slides off of me like water off a duck's back as I paddle like hell under the surface to get my activity up to the point that I can break through. I don't use scripts or canned responses: I intend to break through and so, I do.

The only KPIs I measure are Skypes, face to face meetings, air plane rides to Melbourne and the States. I don't count dials, emails, InMails or friend requests. After connecting with tens of thousands of professionals on here, it's all a vast digital ocean with boundless creativity and stifling anonymity with plastic gyres of BS that need to be cleaned up.

The mindset is backward. We are spirits in a material world on a quest to drive value by actually interacting. We need to break down the barriers and really get to know each other, break bread and show vulnerability, releasing fears, bias and divisions to build a better society.

In the sales room of the future, we would create! Cell phones would be banned; confiscated upon arrival. Each person would work for about 3 to 4 hours per day off a defined list. The goal would simply be: talk to humans. This is why I advocate for dialler software to print out a targeted list. Purpose: get out of the office.

I think that the real dinosaur concept is the idea that you can sit in front of a computer screen, clicking away passively, and call it sales or call it marketing. It's a misnomer for "social." It was a fleeting meme in the 90's that has passed us by.

Millennials would rather have a cell phone than a car. They should take the car and go meet other Millennials for a hike in the park and go hug a tree. Sales roles should be 70% field. Reps should get in the air to go press the flesh of new and existing customers at conferences.

It's expensive to put your people up in hotel rooms and cover Travel & Entertainment expenses. It's even more expensive to have your reps gain 5,000 connections on LinkedIn, drop vapour into your forecast and see every deal go to die.

The entitled pushback we are getting as sales leaders from future generations of sellers is not something we need to encourage or feed into. It's just like bad, permissive parenting, where your kid loves you and then goes to join a street gang at the tender age of 13. You could easily dismiss me as a Luddite or iconoclast but this is just level one: wax on, wax off. The power tools are for the big boys and girls. Social Media and LinkedIn are a privilege, a dessert after the main course of brown rice and salad.

I will teach you everything you need to know about sales, social selling and how to close million dollar deals if that's what you want. But first let's fix your mindset. Do you love people? Would you love to help a customer? Do you truly believe in your product or service? Do you love yourself? It all starts with heart! Sales is a people business. You must go forth young (and old) ladies and gents and wander out of the shadows of the shire. The most modern technology I can impart to you is the oldest of all: love of others and infinite curiosity!

Not all those who wander are lost. - Tolkien

Blog by Tony Hughes

Tony Hughes is a bestselling author, award-winning blogger and the most read LinkedIn Author globally on the topic of B2B sales leadership. Tony’s first book is a business bestseller with his second book, COMBO Prospecting, is available on Amazon here. He can be found on LinkedIn and at and

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