The death of cold calling has been greatly exaggerated.
Cold calling isn’t dead, it’s just really painful, and most companies do little to help their sales teams alleviate the pain while still expecting them to make the calls. It’s demanding, difficult work, and those that do it well are highly valuable to a business.

But because it’s so tricky to get right, there’s loads of advice across the internet about cold calling and how to improve your team’s execution and performance.

Many of the approaches are focused on the symptom: the reluctance of sales teams to pick up the phone and start dialing. They’re focused on creating defined calling hours during the day or establishing daily call volume targets and spiffs or compensation incentives for call volume. And while creating structure can be helpful for efficiency, it doesn’t solve the real problem at hand: making it easier to pick up the phone and make the call.

Think back to the last call you made voluntarily. Not necessarily a sales call, just the last call you made for any reason. It most likely wasn’t difficult. You had a purpose for the call, so you picked up the phone and dialed. You probably needed to get information from someone, or you were sharing information with someone, or you were calling someone just to chat and catch up. But your call had a purpose, so it was easy to make.

Most of the sales calls we receive today are completely devoid of purpose, and they’re missing any sense of value in the exchange. The best and most successful cold calls have clear purpose, are focused on value for the customer (vs the seller) and are designed to be helpful.

For example, imagine your team visits a prospect’s website, and they uncover SEO issues that are affecting its performance, or a malfunctioning e-commerce engine. If you have solutions to these problems, your team has a valuable, meaningful reason to reach out to the prospect and offer to help with the problem. Because the call has purpose and is focused on delivering value and solutions, it’s much more likely to be well-received.

Many salespeople unfortunately default to overly simplistic tropes like “I can save you money”. But not only is that presumptive, it’s not original. Instead, find something specific about your solutions that can directly improve your prospect’s business, or share something useful, helpful or insightful. A cold call that’s rooted in offering vs. asking, or solving vs. selling, can often earn a favorable response.

Salespeople hate making calls when they have nothing to say. Our job as leaders and managers is to help them find the compelling ideas, the helpful information, and the valuable solutions that give their calls purpose, and give prospects something to be curious or excited about.

Cold calling isn’t dead, but it sure needs a new approach, and building purpose and value into each call is how we’ll help our teams turn their reluctance into enthusiasm.