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When You Cold Call, Don't Let Anything Disrupt Your "Flow"


I often found it difficult to just swan dive into my cold dials every day. Generally I had my own pre-calling ritual before I got going, but there were still days when it seemed as if it took me an entire morning to get warmed up. Those of us who dial for dollars (or have dialed) understand those days where it feels like the phone weighed about 150 lbs and it was nearly impossible to get into any kind of flow.  I know when I wasn’t in  “the flow” I typically would find any excuse not to make a call, but any good sales guy understands as much as we put it off it is an absolute requirement of their job.

Most of the outside reps I've supported in the past never really had a call plan to speak of.  Generally it consisted of an erratic combination of cold dials sprinkled in with a couple emails for good measure, with no real science to back it up. Not only that, but this was crammed in while filling out the expense reports, finishing up a proposal and doing a discovery call with a new prospect.  Contrast this against the small percentage of reps I've worked with who would typically allocate a few set hours to making the necessary dials. Usually that consisted of a morning and afternoon session. What they noted was having that focused couple of hours meant a huge increase in the amount of dials that went out in the course of a day. If they just did it piece meal, their unfocused effort usually netted about a 50% lower call output.

This is the mindset I want my team taking to the phones throughout their day as well. Granted they are tasked with calling all day long, but the road blocks that prevent them from being consistently productive do exist. You need at least 4 hours in your day where you’re doing nothing but dialing. The key thing is to set your day up accordingly.

Realistically most of us work in an environment with constant distraction...let's paint the picture of a typical Monday...  Joanie will come by to ask a business related question that leads into what did you do this weekend, after 15 minutes of her yammering on you attempt to get off the ground and an e-mail pops up from a prospect that you must read - then as you are about to dial you decide to quickly brush up on the latest news on your prospect. Before you know it its 20 minutes later and you haven’t even made the call yet.

While these are all things we deal with throughout the day they can be addressed pretty simply. Here are a couple of tips that help to prevent the disruption of that flow. If you know that Joanie generally tends to yammer on after she asks a questions, leave your head-set on, or the office door shut to indicate that you do not wish to be disturbed. To avoid reading email, shut Outlook down during the calling session or at the very least remove the email pop-up notification. Research as we all know is absolutely necessary, but rather than reading that interesting article on your target company during prime calling hours, set the research aside for the first or last half hour of your day.

Here are a few other things I would suggest to allow for more efficiency:

  • Have your email templates pre-written depending on the interest level of the prospect, leave the customized email writing for after your call session
  • Don't waste your time digging around to find the right collateral, have all the info at the ready before you dial
  • Set your day-up based on time zone, i.e. the east coast calls go out in the AM, and the west coast calls in the PM
  • Use the first and last half hour of the day for the administrative stuff (finding contact info, setting up dials for the next day, creating new prospect emails)

Again, this stuff is not all that complicated. It's not like I'm expecting you to get into a meditative yoga-like state in order to dial. The point is that any of the REAL sales folks I've been around came to terms early on in their career with the simple fact that cold calling is necessary part of the job. If you face this reality and remove all the darn distractions that can disrupt that flow...hey you may find that you could ACTUALLY enjoy those couple of hours dedicated to dialing.


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