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Master the art of cold calling
Sunder Ramachandran
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March 03, 2009

Let's say you're at home or at work and your cellphone rings. Someone at the other end says, "Hello, my name is Sunder. I work for XYZ cellular company. We have launched a new scheme on post-paid connections. What connection are you using right now?"

What thought will cross your mind? Probably something like: "Uh-oh, another pesky salesperson. I'm about to be sold something again. How fast can I get off the phone?" In other words, it's basically over at 'Hello' and you end up rejecting the person at the other end.

Welcome to the world of cold calling. If you've ever felt a sense of awkwardness while picking up the phone and calling someone you don't know, you'll understand just how challenging making a cold call can be. Whether you are calling to confirm an appointment, asking for an interview slot or trying to sell something, mastering the art of such telephonic conversations will definitely make life easier for you.

What is a cold call?

If you are thinking 'What in the world is a cold call', calling absolute strangers to talk about your business and persuading them to act would be it. While the image of a telecaller selling credit cards, mobile plans etc is what comes to the mind, immediately, the knowledge of how to handle a cold call comes in handy in all walks of life.

Why is it challenging?

"Cold calling terrifies me -- the phone feels like a dumbbell every time I have to make one," says Binshri K, a call centre executive from Delhi [Images]. The person you are calling may react with hostility or choose to hang up. You face a firestorm of rejection for every spark of interest you ignite. It's important to remember that we live in an age of information overload. The amount of information that an average 17th century person would have accumulated in his/ her entire life is what is served to you in your daily newspaper. Time is at a premium and people are stressed out. Given all this, nobody wants to attend to that unexpected call on a busy day.

Free yourself of cold calling jitters

You can turn cold calling into a fruitful and positive experience by changing your mindset and making your calls sizzle. With a little planning and preparation you can influence the decisions of people or persuade them to buy what you are selling. Here are some tips at the heart of effective cold calling:

Cold calling is not about counting the number of people you reach; rather, it's about reaching the people who count. That's the missing link in the entire process. So go out there and sizzle!

Sunder Ramachandran is managing partner with WCH Training Solutions, a New Delhi-based training and consulting firm. He can be reached at

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