Cold call or boots on the ground?

July 24, 2016


by Brian Adolfsen

Does a phone call make any difference?

When I started my career as a salesman, I didn’t particularly enjoy cold phone conversations with clients for many reasons, but I had to do it. The number of calls, including cold calls was part of the key measurable goals and objectives which was set for me and the rest of the sales team.

This meant learning about the whole process in addition to:

  • Long nights studying
  • Drafting scripts for different types of customers
  • Learning different tools to pass the phone call test

I learned it and became quite successful – but it didn’t change my feelings about it.

The sales process:

Cold Calling could be different from one industry to another, and even from one company to another. The sales process and also depends on some key factors:

  • The type of customers
  • Their supply chain procedures.
  • The focus companies put on calling
  • The importance of a face to face interaction.

Calling is a low cost selling – but also limited in results and especially in developing real and lasting relations with the clients.

Boosting your sales:

Will 20 calls per day boost your sales?

Although the answer to that question is quite obvious, we still see some companies do it, compromising on quality criteria and inaccurate CRM data input. However it still is:

  • an easy way to make sure employees “are busy”
  • low cost promotion
  • keeps the boss happy

Your customer is important:

Cold Calling is a necessity for business but it cannot and will not get the job done. Your key to success should be focused elsewhere;

  • A face to face meeting with your client
  • Building rapport
  • Understanding their business
  • Listening to their problems
  • Finding solutions to help them overcome their challenges


I have learned not to start with introducing myself as “I’m a Consultant……”

30 minutes of face to face meeting over a cup of tea or coffee together is far more valuable than an endless flow of follow up calls. When you work with GO/NGO’s you need to meet them not only at the nice HQ in New York or regional HQ in Nairobi – but also locally to have the valuable talks with the operational and technical staff and to learn about how they operate and about their challenges. This gives you the needed input for offering the products and solutions which they require and need for real.

This is part of the process for becoming an honest and valuable partner for these organizations – a partnership built “Four Pillars”: Trust, Respect, Honesty, & Mutual Understanding.