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5 Cold Calling Mistakes You Don’t Know You’re Making

Cold calling mistakes
Cold calling isn’t easy. Are you making it even harder on yourself?

Your “cold streak” may not be a cold streak at all—but the result of a few hidden errors in style, judgment, and execution. When brought to your attention, you can fix these mistakes, turn the tables, and ramp up those sales numbers again.

Here are 5 common cold calling mistakes you may not realize you’re making.

Talking Too Much (Asking too Little)

Many sales reps talk too much, thinking they should tell the prospect as much as possible. The result? They bombard the prospect with tons of unnecessary information, before understanding the prospect’s position or situation. This is a critical mistake.

Focus more on asking the right questions. That’s not only how you build credibility and rapport, but it’s also how you learn to address the prospects needs. A question produces an answer. And an answer provides you with a direction in which to move the conversation… that is, toward a sale.

Sounding Insincere

When you sound insincere or disingenuous, it’s painfully obvious to the buyer. And when does a sales person sound most insincere? When it sounds like they’re selling something.

Sales happen when a prospect believes that you can solve a problem they have. Or that your goals are aligned. When you come off sounding like you understand their position, and have a way to help them, you come off as sincere.

Avoid unrealistic promises and scripted responses. Instead, try to make a connection, and offer fact-based reasons as to how you can help.

Not Having an Objective

If you’re selling a simple product or service that doesn’t require a capital expense, then your objective is often to close the sale during the initial call.

But if the product or service is more complex or expensive, chances are, a sale is not your objective. It might be a follow-up meeting, a demo, a trial, or something else entirely. Make sure your objective is crystal clear, to you and to them, and move toward that. Go beyond that, and you risk overwhelming your prospect and losing them before you ever have a chance to close.

Not Communicating Value

The biggest thing you can do to catch someone’s interest is answer the “What’s in it for me?” question. In order to do that, you need to communicate how your product or company will best provide value to the prospect.

Providing value comes from understanding needs, and correctly targeting the right prospects to cold call. It also comes from being able to convey your ability to help them achieve a particular result.

Not Enough Pre-Call Research

Social media sites like LinkedIn give you the opportunity dramatically increase your cold call success. Whenever possible, get as much information as you can about the prospects you plan to call. Use social media sites, company websites, Google, and other sources of news or information.

This pre-call research will help you engage in more meaningful, tailored, and relevant conversation with your prospect. And, it might help you establish a shared personal connection. A group you’re both a part of, someone you both know, an event you’ve attended, etc. Connections like this are powerful as they can instantly turn a cold call into a warm one.


Cold calling is about connecting with your prospects. Unfortunately, a lot of things can prevent this connection from ever being made. If you can avoid these top five cold calling mistakes, you’ll improve your cold call success rate, get more sales, and grow your business. Use this list as a refresher whenever you think you’re falling into a “cold streak.”

What are some of the biggest cold-calling mistakes you’ve made? What are some of the most common mistakes you’ve heard others make? Tweet us or leave a comment and let us know!