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Retirement Planning > Saving for Retirement

5 Cold Call Strategies You Need to Know

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I have put a lot of cold calling resources for you at There you will find my previous articles on cold calling and lots of other goodies. To avoid Basic Mistake No. 1, you badly need my cold calling calculator. You will find a link on this page.

Strategy 1

Manage ‘No Contact’ Quickly

When cold calling, the biggest hurdle is no contact. Assumption: you are dialing small business owners.

YOU: 801-992-6868. 1 ring. 2 rings. 3 rings. 4 rings. Disconnect.

YOU: Immediately dial 801-997-6666. 1 ring. 2 rings.

RECEPTION: Good morning, Loblaw Company.

YOU: Good morning. This is Bob DaBlob. I’m calling from Reliable Securities. May I speak to Mr. Loblaw please?

RECEPTION: I’m sorry he’s not in right now. May I take a message?

YOU: No thank you. I’ll call back. 801-641-2345. 1 ring.

JOE: Joe’s Plumbing. Joe speaking.

YOU: Good morning, Joe. This is Bob DaBlob at Reliable Securities.

JOE: Oh no! Not another broker. Can’t you guys get it through your thick skulls I’m not interested, not now, not ever?

YOU: Sorry to bother you. Thank-you-very-much. Click, dial tone, marks list “Perm Off.” 801-333-4444. 1 ring. 2 rings.

RECEPTION: Throckmorten and Company. Good morning.

YOU: Good morning. This is Bob DaBlob. Barbara Throckmorten, please.

RECEPTION: One moment please.

ASSISTANT: Good morning. Barbara Throckmorten’s office. How may I help you?

YOU: Good morning. This is Bob DaBlob. Who am I speaking with?

ASSISTANT: Clementina Domenica.

YOU: Good morning, Clementina. Again, I’m Bob DaBlob with Reliable Securities. I have some important information for Barbara. It’s a white paper, “Six Steps to Financial Independence for Woman Business Owners.” It is important we speak. Could you connect me please?

ASSISTANT: She’s tied up in a meeting right now, would you like to leave a message on her voicemail?

YOU: Sure. But in case I get disconnected, what’s her direct extension number?


YOU: Thank you. Connects to VM. You disconnect.

Note the direct extension. This number now goes in your “Call early” pile. You will call just before 8:00 or during lunch when the lion at the gate is not likely to be on guard and growling.

Hint: Don’t leave messages of any kind. Do ask for the direct extension number.

Strategy 2

Use a Negative Opening

RECEPTION: Hubert’s Sports Bar and Grill

YOU: Good morning. (Shut up.)

RECEPTION: How can I help you?

YOU: Humphrey please.

RECEPTION: May I tell him who is calling?

YOU: Bob DeBlob. It’s about his tax saving strategy.

HUMPHREY: Humphrey here.

YOU: Good morning, Humphrey. This is Bob DaBlob. I’m with Reliable Securities here in Park City. I’m guessing you have seen our offices on Prospect Street, correct?

HUMPHREY: Yes. I know who you are.

YOU: I’m calling because I have some important information for small business owners who do not have a 401(k) or other tax saving retirement plan. Does that sound like you?

Benefits of a negative opening: 1. They have to think for a minute. 2. Have not heard it before. 3. Quickly disqualify. 4. Build a list for another type of call, which brings us to our next type of call.

Strategy 3

Don’t Pivot

Let’s continue our conversation with Humphrey. You have just asked if he has a tax saving retirement account.

HUMPHREY: We have a 401(k), actually. We set it up three years ago. We have about 90% participation.

YOU: That’s great. Good job. Thank you very much for your time. 801-576-4848.

The conversation could have gone like this:

YOU: Let me ask you this. When was the last time your advisor compared the fees you are paying with the average for this area?

HUMPHREY: We actually do a comparison of fees and performance every two years.

YOU: Great. One other question and I’ll let you go. When do you plan to retire?

All these other questions are called pivots. Don’t pivot.

You protest! Bill, I have a small business owner. He’s talking to me. He has a 401(k). That means he probably has personal assets. Maybe he has bought and sold several companies. Dig in, right? Turn him inside out, right?

No. Only prospect for one thing. I know it’s counterintuitive. But you lose momentum every time you dive into one of the rabbit holes. Mark his record “401(k).” Move on.

If this overall approach is successful, soon you will have lists of companies that have a 401(k), SEP/IRA, etc. Create a campaign for these specialized lists.

Every time you pivot, you get fewer leads per hour, not more.

Strategy 4

Abandon Bad Ideas Quickly

Scenario: you bought 1,000 names of homeowners scrubbed against the DNC list. For 6 hours, you have been testing the following script.

Hi, Mr Hubert. My name is Bob DaBlob and I’m a Financial Advisor with Reliable Securities here in Park City. I help my clients manage their investments and plan for life’s important events such as educating children or grandchildren, retirement or leaving a legacy. I hope I didn’t catch you at a bad time.

As Dave Barry says, “I’m not making this up.” This is an actual script an FA sent me. I pulled it from my Worst Scripts archive.

In six hours, you have dialed the phone 257 times. Your number of calls are in range. You have three “cherry” leads. That is most certainly not in range.

Let’s further assume you desperately need to raise $5M in the next 12 months. You are either a rookie or have just set a goal to start a push up to the next level. Assume your average new HH produces $100,000 AUM.

This script/list/dials combo is a BAD IDEA.

Why? The statistics don’t work. See the math straight from my Cold Call Calculator.

With 50 hours cold calling per week, and another 21 hours of selling time, you obviously cannot get there from here.

The biggest mistake I see in cold calling is this one: get a bad idea and stick with it.

What do you do now?

  • Put the script in an envelope. Mark it “Best Script.” Drop it in the elevator over at your competitor’s office.

  • Get a different script. Try it for a few hours. Four hours is probably enough.

  • This script is worse. Dump it.

  • Dump the list.

  • Start over.

Perhaps your next list/scripts/dials combination produces 2.5 cherries per hour. You can get there from here. If all your other numbers hold, it would require 31 hours a week calling and selling. Tough, if not impossible, if you are managing a business. But if you are working a normal week of 60 hours/week, it could be done.

But, consider this: if your average new HH brings in $250,000/year, you need just four hours of cold calling a week and another nine hours of selling time.

That works. Now just avoid Basic Mistake No. 2: get a good idea and change it.

Strategy 5:

Mail and Phone High-Net-Worth Prospects

You send a letter.

Dear Mr. Hubert:

I am enclosing “Six Strategies to Steer You through a Market Correction.”

Sooner or later, a correction is coming. Right?

It’s always a good idea to have a plan. “Six Strategies” is a good plan.


Bob DaBlob

Sr. Vice President


P.S. Pay close attention to “Strategy No. 5.”

Strategy No. 5 says, “Have a financial advisor to help keep you on course.

OK, what about this letter?

It’s simple and readable. It can be short or long, as long as it’s readable.

The attachment can be quite long.

As a matter of fact, if the attachment is big enough to require a 9×12 envelope, so much the better. The first objective in direct mail: get the recipient to open the letter. People open big letters.

Here’s your opening script.

TO ASSISTANT: Good morning. It’s Bob DaBlob. I’m with Reliable Securities over on Prospect Street. I’m following up with Humphrey about the strategy booklet I sent him. Could you tell him it’s Bob DaBlob, and if I take longer than five minutes it’s because he had some questions.

(We have already discussed what to do if the assistant says, “He’s not …” Get the direct extension!)

YOU: Good morning, Mr. Hubert. I sent you “Six Strategies to Steer You Through a Market Correction.” It came in the big 9×12 envelope. You cannot have missed it. May I have less than five minutes to run some questions by you to see if this is the kind of strategy you should consider?

Note: You did not ask “Did you get it?” or “Did you read it?” Both are forbidden.


  1. By sending a letter first, you can sometimes get through the screener better.

  2. You have a better chance of setting an appointment on the first call.

I might mail 10 every day. Call each batch of 10 three days after I mail it. Make three attempts to call every recipient, normally two days apart. After mailing 10/day for five days and calling each recipient no more than three times, you are working with a pool of around 30 people to call per day. This may only produce a couple of appointments/week. But if they are $500,000 appointments and you close only 25% of these, that looks to me like $1 million/month in new AUM.

You can get there from here.


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