Make Better Cold Calls By Gamifying The Call

Cold Calls to improve your sales The Slow Pitch Sales Podcast ep 19
Cold Calls to improve your sales The Slow Pitch Sales Podcast ep 19
The Slow Pitch Sales Podcast
Make Better Cold Calls By Gamifying The Call


Can You Improve Your Cold Calls?

When you switch jobs from a role that incorporates networking, going door to door, and/or warm referrals to outbound cold calls, you must learn to change what you do quickly. Recently, we received an email asking about just that situation. She changed from an outside sales role to an inside sales role and that required a shift from working with warm leads to more cold leads, and thus, more cold calls. She immediately felt uncomfortable and needed some help. Here’s her note:

Hey Rob/Lane,

I have been a salesperson for 15 years, but I was always outside sales. Recently, I took a new position that is only inside sales. I feel like I’m terrible at it.

When I was doing outside sales, I always made great connections, but now, I don’t make any connections…I’m a robot.

Are outside sales no longer relevant? How do I get people to not slam the phone down every time I call them? I feel like I hate my job and I might have made a mistake. I feel like it’s so personal when they hang up on me. I hate making cold calls.

What do I do?



If you rely on cold calls for sales, you must know how to do cold calls. Whether you make cold calls in the real estate market, the finance industry (such as insurance sales), or even car sales, any time there is a high-dollar ticket sale at stake via cold calls, you can use these tips to help you get out of your own way and make more effective cold calls.

In this episode we talk about how to overcome the fear of feeling like a robot and getting yelled at when making cold calls. It’s not easy.  By learning how to separate their reaction from your feelings about yourself, you begin to understand it is not personal when they hang up on you or tell you to not call…rather, it should be looked at as a game.

By gamifying your cold calls, you’ll take a more fun approach to your calls, they won’t be so stressful, and you’ll get better results. The person on the other end of the line can tell if you’re stressed about making the call or if you’re enjoying yourself. Confidence is everything in sales, and these tips help you improve your confidence and make more sales.


Related Episodes & Articles: 

Episode 7: When Is The Best Time To Make a Cold Call?

Create An Abundance Mindset About Money

Improve Cold Calling Techniques



NOTE: Some links may be affiliate links, which means we get paid a commission when you purchase, but it the cost remains the same for you. 

Music: "Clydesdale Funk" by Cast of Characters, written by: Dustin Ransom.

The Episode

Rob  00:13

Welcome back everybody to The Slow Pitch Podcast and there’s Lane How you doing over there Lane?

Lane  00:18

I’m doing terrible Rob.

Rob  00:20

Terrible Why?

Lane  00:21

Well, I feel a little dumb.

Rob  00:24

So what’s the question?

Lane  00:25

So we did get a question from from a listener, which has me scratching my head a little bit. That’s why I’m feeling a little dumb. Okay, Allison from Texas writes, I’ve been a salesperson for 15 years, but was always outside sales. Recently, I took a new position that is only inside sales. I feel I’m terrible at it. When I was doing outside sales. I always made great connections. But now I don’t make any connections. I feel like a robot, our outside sales no longer relevant. How do I get people to not slam the phone down every time I call them? I feel like I hate my job. But I might have made a huge mistake. I feel like it’s so personal when they hang up on me. What do I do?

Rob  01:01

Hmm. So what’s the question?

Lane  01:02

I feel dumb because to me a sale is a sale. What is this inside and outside sales stuff?

Rob  01:07

Okay, well, let’s deal with Allison’s question about what to do with changing outside sales. Now that affects her now her feelings towards her job. And let’s answer her lns question because I think that’s a valid question. Let’s get started.

V/O  01:22

You’re listening to The Slow Pitch Podcast, a podcast about selling less and closing more.

Lane  01:31

What is inside and outside sales?

Rob  01:33

Alright, so everybody has a different label for types of sale. So when I’ve heard inside and when I’ve heard outside sales, typically, this is what it means. Outside sales is usually the type of sales where you’re doing stuff outside of the office, physically. So what they’ll do is they’ll be going walking around door to door, they have a little section that they have to work of town, they do networking there face to face kind of people they end up in meetings, going out getting jobs by talking to people directly.

So whether that’s through referrals, through through networking, through kind of conversations those ways, right. So the other way is the inside sale, which is, you’re you’re sitting at your desk, calling out outbound cold calls to bring a client in, and it’s like, I think almost call center that can be in any level of call center, right? So it could be literally a call center where hundreds of people are sitting there calling out or it could be you know, there’s five of you in the in the office, one of you just is in charge of calling people cold, you could end up dialing 20 cold calls in a day.

One hundred cold calls a day, whatever it takes to do the business that you need to do. Does that make sense? That really clears things up?  Yes. Okay. So and given what Allison’s question is, there were several things that came to mind to me, but I wanted to hear what you thought, if there was anything that jumped out at you, anything jump out to you with questions that you would want to ask Allison?

Lane  02:52

First thing since she moved from outside sales to inside sales, I’m kind of wondering if this is related to the pandemic we’ve been going through, I can’t help but imagine based on what you’ve described inside versus outside sales, that that’s had a big impact on people. And I’m really fortunate to go from outside to inside.

Rob  03:09

You know, I would agree, I think there’s a lot of shifts that a lot of people did, I said shift with and “F,” that that changed the way things that were done from before the pandemic started to after the pandemic started, right. So there is a change that happened pretty fast. And if you weren’t used to making cold calls, or calling outbound to get business beforehand, that shift probably was very uncomfortable, like to the point of, I don’t know what to do, I’m just gonna sit here on the couch, watch TV now, because I don’t know what to do, right.

And that can be a little bit of a situation where you start to freeze and you don’t know what to do. And I think we’ve all experienced that at one time, and rather in our life, when you see something coming at you, but you don’t know what to do. So you do nothing, right? Yep, one of the things that I’ve learned over time is that no matter what, you can have that reaction, and that’s totally normal, when you have that reaction, you’re going to have a window of time that you’re gonna have to go through that transition. And when you’re doing that, there’s going to be a point, we’re going to have to start to take some actions.

Because if you sit there where you are nothing changes. But as soon as you start taking actions, whether the right action, or the wrong action, kind of doesn’t matter, as long as you’re doing the action that makes the most sense. So here’s what I mean by that.  So when you think about, I need X number of dollars in sales per month, and you don’t have all these other opportunities in front of you now that you used to be able to get that business and now you have to do it through cold calls. In that process.

You have to just make a certain number of cold calls. Well, if you were doing it before, maybe now you have to double those number of cold calls. If you weren’t doing those before, then now you gotta you got to start doing them. Yeah, yeah, it’s gonna be a big number. So that’s where that transition happens. And I think any, I think one of the lessons I would give to anybody because there was a moment where I went through when the pandemic start…In, which is all what is going to happen next?

And now what is going to happen to the business? What are we going to do about blah, blah, blah, right? When all that started to happen, take a pause, take a look at the business and say, Okay, what are the things that I need to do and whether there’s a pandemic, a new competitor moving into town, some no business, all of a sudden starts coming in. Things happen in business, right? There’s cycles, there’s all that kind of stuff. So when that does, don’t get, don’t get frazzled, sit down for a second, write down, what do I need to do?

What are the most important steps that I should be taking every day to get to where I need to be in the end, and by the end of the month? If I don’t do those steps, then there’s going to be the problem. That’s where the problem lies. So we can get into that another time. But I think you were gonna say something else as well.

Lane  04:27

Yeah, yeah.  Yes. Looking through her her email I, you know, I noticed that she’s she’s really talking a lot about those phone cold calls and people slamming the phone down on her. And she really takes that personally. I’m just curious. You know, do you have any advice for her on how maybe not take that? So personally?

Rob  05:58

Yeah. So when you make a phone call, and somebody hangs up on you, and you take it personal? I mean, Lane, have you ever made a phone call or just it was went perfect? Every time you made 5, 10, 15 cold calls in a row, and nobody hung up on you? Everybody was really friendly? And like half of them buy?

Lane  06:14

I’m best friends with all of them now.

Rob  06:15

Yes, yes. Right. So if you if you’ve had that, then you don’t have this problem. I can probably stop listening now. Right? So but if you’ve never had this problem before, then you what you’re gonna want to do is start to think about why do I feel that way? Because the reality is, if you call 100 people, I guarantee you 100 people are not going to be happy you call them out of the blue, right? I mean, who’s ever happy?

I’m never happy when somebody cold calls me. I mean, it’ll be like, five of them are happy with you. Yeah, yeah, you’ll be lucky if five oh, I mean, listen, nobody, nobody likes, I don’t like it when sometimes when people call me, I now because I’m in sales, I will take the call. And I will go through the sales process with them a little bit to learn a little bit about what they’re doing. So that I understand what is the right way, and what is the wrong way. And I don’t say anything to them about it.

But I like to kind of, you know, use that to learn from something sometimes along the way. So if you’re a salesperson, and you’re not sure what to do, just taking some of those calls, helps a lot. I mean, there’s tips in there that you could probably pick up and you can go, huh, I never thought about a phrase like that. On the other hand, if you’re listening to one of those calls, you’re taking one of those calls, and you have them starting to be very, very pushy, and trying to like close you every sentence, that’s probably not the right way to go.

Because nobody wants to buy over the phone immediately when they get off the phone, you know, those are lessons to what not to do is that a lot of times, and a lot of those calls are that way. But back to the question of you know, how do you how do you start to feel better about it, just realize that’s normal part of it? And the other thing you have to think about is? Are they really mad at you? Is it really personal? Like do they start to say that you’re an idiot? Are you really the idiot?

Lane  07:55

I am? But

Rob  07:56

are you really? Are you really the problem? Are you really the problem in their life? Or is it that they’re being interrupted? Because the real answer would be they shouldn’t have answered the phone if they were busy, right?

Lane  08:08

That’s Yeah, exactly.

Rob  08:09

Yeah. And what happens if you call and nobody answers the phone or you go to voicemail? What do you do then?

Lane  08:14

Dial the next call?

Rob  08:15

Yeah, I wouldn’t leave a voicemail the first time? No, not at all. But I would call back a little later on, because you know what? They weren’t available at that moment. So I call back now let’s say it goes to voicemail again. Now what do you do?

Lane  08:27

I don’t know, Rob, what do we do? I don’t know. It’s 50/50. Do you do you leave the voicemail? Or do you do you just keep dialing?

Rob  08:36

So if you had to guess 50/50? Which you got? You got one or two chances? Is this a yes. I would leave a voicemail on the second or third, whichever way you decide. time you call and it goes to voicemail? Yes or no? Would you leave a voicemail?

Lane  08:49

Yeah, maybe maybe not the second time, but eventually I am going to leave that voicemail and hopefully get that call back.

Rob  08:55

Yep, you could do that. Totally. If somebody left you a quick 30-commercial. If you needed their service, you might call him back. Right? Maybe the timing was right, if everything worked out perfectly. Right. Right. But what are the odds that they’re going to call you back? Zero to 100%? What would the odds be?

Lane  09:11

I think you probably got that 5% chance they’re gonna call you back.

Rob  09:13

That’s what I would guess as well. But what if somebody called you left you the voicemail after they’ve called a couple times and left the voicemail and said, Hey, Lane. Listen, Lane. This is Rob. I was trying to get ahold of you. I was given your number. And I was hoping to catch you.

And apparently, apparently, timing was off. So I apologize for that. Hey, would you mind giving me a quick call back? Let me give you my cell phone. That’s the best number to reach. Man. It’s this is this is us right? Now. If you get a phone message like that, would you call me back?

Lane  09:44

The odds are greater, much greater.

Rob  09:47

Can I tell you the times that I’ve left that kind of a voicemail? Almost everybody calls me back now? Are they guarded? Yes. Are they like yeah, who are you? What do you want? And sometimes that happens and that’s okay. But they’ll call me back. So that’s your first door open right? Now, if that happens, and they’ve called you back, is it a cold call anymore? No, no, they just called you back. Right?

Lane  10:11

It’s an inbound call, yeah.

Rob  10:12

Right. So that was anymore. So now you’d look at it like say, Hey, listen, you know, I, I wish I would have caught you earlier. Let me let me get quick to the point because I know you don’t have a lot of time. I’m sure of it. No, I don’t. Okay, I was given your name. And I don’t know who it was. because quite honestly, I’ve got my desk is a little bit messy. Right now I’m working on this project. And somebody dropped a note on here. It has your name, your phone number, and your company name. I don’t even know what that is. What What’s this for? I don’t know why I’m calling you when I was like, Can you think of any reason why I might? And what are you going to say to that?

Lane  10:40

I’m going to ask you, what do you do?

Rob  10:42

Oh, I mean, well, now we’re talking now I could tell you my 30-commercial. Isn’t that cool? So that’s what happens every time every time somebody you go through that exercise. Every time somebody goes, Oh, what do you do? I’m not sure that’s kind of weird. And they’ll laugh, they think is funny. Okay. And they’ll say, what do you do? And then yeah, yeah, I probably should have taught and my answer would be, yeah, I probably should have said that earlier.

Sorry about that. This is what I do. And then I give him a quick 30-commercial, like we’ve talked about in another episode, right? Yep. Yep. So you go through that quick. And even if you take 15 seconds, 20 seconds, cut it down, if you have to, if they go through that exercise, and they listen to that, and then you say to them, I have no right. Does that make any sense to you? Does that make any sense to you at all? Can you think of why somebody would ask me to call you based on that? And you’re saying?

Lane  11:27

It’s gonna be yes or no… I haven’t needed it. Yeah, no, I just don’t i don’t have that need right now.

Rob  11:33

Yeah. Okay. You know, I didn’t, I had no idea why it was called I put did a Google search real quick before I called you. I couldn’t think of a reason. So I’ve got I’m glad you didn’t think of a reason either. Because I would have been really felt foolish if I, if I would have called you in. And you would have thought it and I didn’t. So I’m glad that came up that way. Okay.

Well, you know, I can’t I can’t imagine you’d ever need my service ever in the future at all right? No, I might. Well, you want me to take your contact information. And then I give you my contact information, kind of just make sure we have it. So hey, listen, if it ever comes up in the future, you ever needed to talk or have a question about that? Even just a question, in my mind answering? Would you be open to just exchanging information? So we have that?

Lane  12:11

Yeah, of course, I would.

Rob  12:12

Yeah. And everybody does it. Because it’s like a very casual conversation. So to me, I look at a cold call, not as as a cold call. That’s not the goal, the goal, nobody wants to buy, nobody wants to be sold. Nobody wants any of that the goal is, is to connect. And just like you, Allison, in your note, you said, I enjoy outside sales, I always make great connections and so on. You talk about all that.

That’s what you should look at cold calls as it’s not an easy thing to do. But that little conversation, just now you made a connection. And if there’s, there’s people that I’ve had those kind of calls with that literally, I’ve met them at chamber events or other events later on, and they’re like, Oh, yeah, you called me. And I’m like, Oh, yeah, it’s really weird, because I just called them out of the blue, right? But, and I knew I was calling him out of the blue.

But it’s an interesting thing where you can start to connect with somebody, and then you get to see the person again, or whatever. And if you don’t have that happen, that’s okay, too. But when you’re making those calls, it’s about getting connections, getting a continued conversation and being able to come back at some point, because now that I have your information, guess what, in three months, I might call you back again and ask, Hey, remember, I called you all that I just came across your number again, you probably don’t need to talk at all, but I just thought I’d give you a ring and see what’s happening. And sometimes I get something out of it. Sometimes I don’t

Lane  13:27

That makes sense.

V/O  13:32

Do you have a question about sales? call or text your question at (608) 708-SLOW, that’s (608) 708-7569. Or you can email them to Now, back to the show.

Lane  13:52

Rob, one less thing I noticed in Allison’s email here is, you know, she’s talks about not making connections and feeling like a robot. Any suggestions on on how to kind of circumvent that feeling?

Rob  14:02

Well, I think that’s a little bit concerning. Because when you feel like you’re a robot in a job, that’s never fun, right? So we hit on earlier about whether or not this was pandemic related. So there could be some of that feeding into that feeling of I have no purpose in my job, right. And I think the other thing is, is whether or not that’s if you’re feeling connected in your job, is that related to how well you feel like you fit in?

Do you get to talk about other people in the in the office or talk to other people that are around you, either if it’s via Zoom or otherwise, do you have those types of connections, because that’s makes a big difference in anybody’s life, right. But I also want to go back to a little bit of what we just talked about a little bit earlier, which is when you’re doing these cold calls, and if you can make those kind of fun.

I would that’s kind of like gamifying the whole thing right? So your your cold calls aren’t so much just making cold calls. They’re not robotic anymore. They’re more about playing a game and trying to make it fun. So the goal of those calls are always to make the other person feel more comfortable, make them feel like they want to talk to you some more and want to learn a little bit more about you. And sometimes they don’t have that feeling at all. Sometimes they’re like, you know, I don’t have time for this. And that’s okay. You know, just move on. They’re not ready.

They don’t want to talk to you. That’s okay. Right? The ones that do have that conversation, and then we’ll continue to talk to you make it a game, how long? Can you talk to him? How much can you learn about him? What if during that conversation, they ask you, what do you do say? Yeah, you know, I didn’t even mention that, you know, one of the things I should probably do is get a better understanding of what you do.

Here’s what I found out about what you do, I googled the business really fast. Before I called, I learned that you do X, Y, and Z. But I don’t know if that’s anything close to what you do in total? Or do you do other things? Is that all you do? You know, can you tell me real quick what, you know, high level what you guys do there? Because now you learn a little bit more? And then they’ll tell you usually because they want to do by themselves. And in the conversation? If there’s a conversation for like, say, example for you Lane, where you’re you’re dealing with a marketing question they they talk about or they’re they’re dealing with a marketing thing?

Maybe that’s a question that you ask, Well, tell me a little bit more about that. Why are you struggling with that, and you know, sometimes they’re open to talking more, and sometimes they’re not. But the whole point of that is, is having a goal of talking to them on the phone as long as you can, without making them too frustrated? Without making them feeling like why am I wasting my time talking to you, it should be engaging, you’re staying.

But at the same time, they should be learning a little bit about you, you should be learning a little bit about them. And then when they seem to feel like they’re really, really interested, you can very quickly change that conversation up a little bit to say, Oh, you know what, I just oh, my goodness, I just realized here here, I called you out of the blue, you called me back. And I didn’t mean to get in this deep conversation with you?

Should we just schedule another time to kind of get more into this conversation? Because that kind of matches a little bit about what we do? and and you know, we do website marketing and websites and development and all that cuz maybe we should just talk? Maybe not? Maybe not but but is that something we should open up that conversation with? And sometimes they say yes, and sometimes they say no.

But again, it’s you know, the whole conversation is not about getting the sale, the whole conversation is to having a conversation and making it move forward, and then play the game of how long can I talk to them? How long? And how much information can I learn about them? That’s one of the games. The second part of the game could be for your own purpose as well is, how many of these calls can you have? and measure? So if your goal is is to make 20 calls in a day, how many of the 20 calls in the day or 100? calls, whatever they are?

How many what percent? Can you have that type of conversation with? That becomes the game? Because the more of those conversations you have, the more likely you can have a return phone call, that’s actually gone well. And so make the whole thing a game and make it to the point of how do I win this game of maximizing every step of the way? That gets me to the to those the result of sales in the end? Does that make sense?

Lane  18:10

Yeah, absolutely. That’s a good idea.

V/O  18:13

You’re listening to The Slow Pitch Podcast, a podcast about selling less and closing more.

Rob  18:21

Before we wrap up, the other point that I wanted to make too, when I read this, Allison for you, is you have something in there about seems like you’re feeling rejected when you make these cold calls. So approaching it the way we just talked about it would help with the rejection. But there’s a small little piece of that whole conversation of feeling rejected, is deeper than what this whole conversation is about.

That point is more in line with your self worth, when you’re making that phone call. And the outcome of that call that should not be attached to how you are as a person you are as a person, a good person, regardless of the outcome of the phone call. That’s what you have to remember, it doesn’t matter if they hate your guts, or they love you to death at the end of the phone call whichever way it is, you’re still just fine. As a person, it really doesn’t matter.

And if you walk away with every call going, Alright, that was not a pleasant phone call. But it was their problem, not mine, because I did my part right, then it doesn’t matter. And if somebody is really, really mean sometimes a really fun conversation or question you can ask back is, oh, man, I am so sorry. I must have caught you in at really bad time. I don’t know if this is the way it is kind of all the time for you.

Or if this is something that’s just like caught you now. And I apologize, that’ll snap them out pretty fast. They’ll be like, Oh, I’m sorry, you know, because they’re doing it because they think they can. And when you say something like that, you don’t have to take it just it’s a simple, it’s a gentle, it’s direct, but it’s it’s you know, it gets the point across it. Don’t treat me that way because it’s not fair. And they’ll they’ll catch on.

And when I had that one time I had somebody do that and they they apologize. They backed off from it. And I said listen, no skin off my back. Doesn’t matter. It’s okay. Things happen. It’s bad day if I caught you to bedtime. It’s bedtime. He’s like, No, no, that’s all right. Let’s talk for a second. I was like, well, I did not expect that. So it does help to know that the outcome of this phone call whatever it is, is irrelevant to the impact it has on your life. Just keep doing it. Trust me, it’s works. So let’s wrap it up. Sounds good.

Lane  20:17

Rob. Thank you very much. And thank you, Alison, for for reaching out with your question. If you have a question for us, we’d love to hear from you. You can email us at You can call or text us at (608) 708-SLOW, that’s (608) 708-7569. Also, feel free to hit up our website at

V/O  20:39

Thank you for listening to the slow pitch. Slow down and close more

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