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Life Health > Running Your Business > Prospecting

Bringing cold calling back from the dead

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Business-to-business sales coach, teacher and blogger Anthony Iannarino is possibly one of few out there advocating for cold calling.

He says, “There is a never-ending supply of charlatans that insist that cold calling is dead.”

As cold calling becomes outmoded, Iannarino stands by his assertion that it’s not dead; cold-calling is still required and is effective if you can create value and prove you are worth the time. Here is some advice from one of his latest blogs “Who are you warming it up for, really?”

Sales 1.0 still trumps Sales 2.0

Some say you should learn all the new technologies to generate interest and create value without ever asking for a commitment. You are told not to sound like a salesperson, let your marketing do the selling for you, and when your dream client is ready, he or she will come to you.

Iannarino says, “I am still anxiously awaiting some sales manager to show me the metric DWFCTCTU, or ‘days waiting for client to come to us.’”


Iannarino says instead of calling prospects, now you are told to do a good enough job for your existing clients that you can ask them for referrals. But there are two problems with this strategy, he notes.

First, he says, “The same salespeople who don’t like cold calling are not typically any more comfortable asking their clients for referrals. They are even less comfortable asking their client to make the introduction calls for them.”

And second, “by making the referral, they are hoping that somebody validating their work means that they won’t have to differentiate themselves and create value on their own. This is no different than trying to warm up the call in any of the other methods I have written about; you are really warming it up for you.”

The myth of mutual exclusivity

“The truth is that prospecting methods are not, never were, and never will be mutually exclusive,” Iannarino says.

The myth of mutual exclusivity suggests you can choose just one method to the exclusion of all others.

“I have personally won a very large client using LinkedIn, because that is the method he preferred to communicate in. But this doesn’t mean LinkedIn is always the right and preferred method,” he says.

The idea of making calls warm is about making the salesperson feel more comfortable and confident. But you gain real confidence by facing what makes you uncomfortable until it no longer does.

Iannarino says instead of “anything but cold calling,” change your prospecting efforts to “everything, including cold calling.” And don’t worry about warming it up.

Bonus: Questions to ask yourself

1. Why are some salespeople resistant to cold calling?

2. Think of the best salesperson you know. How good is he or she on the telephone? How comfortable is he or she? How confident is he or she? Ask him or her how the five biggest accounts were acquired.

3. Who does the idea that “cold calling is dead” appeal to, and why does it appeal to them? Are there any prospecting methods that produce results without real effort and competency?

4. Who does the idea that “clients will come to you if you do not try to sell to them” appeal to? Why does this idea appeal to them? How does waiting affect your sales results? Does waiting reduce the time it takes for you to win a deal? Does waiting increase the average size of the opportunities you acquire?

5. Do all of your dream clients want to be approached the same way? Are some more receptive based upon the method that is used to approach them? How much of their receptivity is based on the prospecting method employed and how much is based on your ability to prove you can create value?

For more thoughts, ideas and sales advice from Anthony Iannarino, visit


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