Sean McPheat on three cold calling myths

June 2019

“Cold calling presents a ton of challenges to sales professionals at every level and in every industry.  Therefore, there are a plethora of tips, tricks and magical scripts to help sales people overcome objections, get though GK screens and close sales or set appointments.

However, out of this excess of advice, there are three so-called gems that are extremely misleading and can be  detrimental to your telephone selling success.

1: Don’t Take It Personally.  You heard this one before.  You have people that hang up on you over and over, and you should just brush it off.  Just continue to accept the hang-ups as part of the process, and don’t take it personally.  “They are not rejecting you, just your services or products…”

While this sounds like a sound and sensible sentiment; the fact is that it is impossible.  This type of thinking is what causes burn-out in the telemarketing industry, and is one of the primary causes of phone-phobia.  It is personal.  Sometimes it is so personal, that the main culprit is the actual sound of your voice!

Instead of trying not to take it personally, understand that you need to make some changes in your telephone approach.  You may be suffering from the old Smile and Dial curse.  Either way, understand that if prospects continually hang up the phone on you, there is a problem and that problem begins with you…personally.

2: You Often Have to Take Abuse.  Many sales people believe that the only way to be successful on the telephone is to tolerate the abuse you may get from prospects in cold calls. Many believe in the idea that you must “Endure the pain to make the gain…” philosophy.  

As in worst tip #1, if you often get overly rude and obnoxious prospects that tend to downgrade or humiliate you on the telephone, then there is a problem in your telephone technique.  As you upgrade and improve to solve the problem, in the mean time, you do not have to take abuse.

3: Never Hang Up On a Prospect.  While it is rare, there are times when you need to terminate the call.  Every once in a while you are bound to run into that truly horrible person.  No technique, skill or amount of kindness will stop this individual from lashing out.

However, you do not have to sit there and spend your value time taking abuse.  It is true, that you cannot lower yourself to their level, return like rudeness or just slam the phone down.  But you can “terminate the call with tact.”  Firmly thank the prospect for his or her time, and then use a finger to disconnect the call.  Make sure the last words the prospect hears is you thanking them, and then use your hand so there is no sound of the telephone hanging up.

If the receiver touches the base of the telephone, it will sound harsh and rude.  Instead use your hand to depress the button so the prospect barley hears a “click.”  If necessary, do this in the middle of a sentence.
Prospect: “…And another thing! I told you people to never call me again, and blah, yell, yell…”

Sales Person: “I really appreciate your time Mr Prospect. Thank you!” Click.  Stay professional, but don’t become a doormat.  Happy selling!”

Sean McPheat is Managing Director of MTD Training.  
For information please call 0800 849 6732 or visit

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