The Dumbest Thing a Business Owner Can Ever Say

by Brian on May 12, 2011

“All of my sales reps cold call… I don’t spend a dime on marketing…”

This is the saying that number of dumb business owners have confidentially spewed out of their mouths to me over the years…

Here’s a Reality Check

Relying on cold calling as your sole form of marketing for your business is dumb.

There are millions of people on the Internet at any given time… Thousands of people every day are searching for what you offer.

If you’re not taking advantage of that, you’re setting yourself up for failure.

A Story With Purpose

A few years ago I worked as a Regional Sales Manager for an Internet Marketing company in San Diego County… I lasted 3 months before I handed in my resignation letter because of the horrible way they ran the company.

Between people quitting and getting fired, the company had a sales floor that fluctuated between 30-90 people.

They were running what I call a “chop shop” sales floor… It started with cattle call group interviews, then progressed to 0ne-on-one interviews (where the interviewer is forced to hire 2 out of every 3 interviewees no matter what). Then came the week of classroom training which graduated onto the sales floor.

Every class had an average of 30 people in it… We ran a class every 2 weeks… We’d be lucky to retain 1 person out of every 2 classes past 60 days.


Cold calling was the only form of marketing they relied upon. A sales person had to dial a minimum of 100 dials a day.

The Ultimate Sign That a Sales Manager Has No Clue

It’s not about the number of calls, it’s about the quality of calls.

Call quotas are what sales managers institute when they don’t have a clue how to increase sales.

They rely upon the “it’s a numbers game” mentality. The more you dial, the more chance you have at finding someone who may be interested in what you have to offer.

I can sit down and dial the phone 8 times to 8 different leads and I will get 2 sales. That’s because I’m not “spraying and praying,” “dialing for dollars,” “playing the numbers game” or any other dumb saying that poor sales managers use… I use good quality leads.

If you walk into a place that has “Call Quotas,” you might want to reconsider.

What’s a “Good Quality Lead?”

A good quality lead is a lead that has expressed interest in a product or service that you provide. That plain, that simple. When someone is actively searching for a product or service, they are already mentally in a buying mode.

I worked with one douche sales manager who would constantly tell his team… “Everyone want’s X, they just don’t know it yet… It’s your job to show them why they want it… It’s a numbers game, so get on the phone and dial for dollars.”

Bad, bad, bad, bad….

Yes, there is the occasional successful cold calling sales person… as a blind squirrel will always find a nut or two… But the majority of sales people suck at cold calling.

Cold calling does not create good quality leads… Sparking an interest in someone is completely different from someone who is already interested something.

Opening a Sale

The hardest part about cold calling is the opening.

There are some people who are amazing at opening, but couldn’t close to save their life… The majority of sales people I know suck at opening, but are good at closing. There are GREAT salespeople who couldn’t open a paper sack, let a lone a cold sales call… but with the right leads would make you millions (literally).

The ones who are good at cold calling during the onset typically start sucking at after a couple of months because they get burnt out. It’s rare to find a cold calling sales floor with salespeople who’ve been there more than a year.

Good quality leads will allow you to keep your good sales people. Good quality leads should have a closing average in the range of 20% with a goal of keeping a 30% closing average.

Why is Closing a Sale so Important?

That’s a great question.

I have no idea why so much emphasis is put onto closing the sale. Closing a deal is EASY.

Prospecting and qualifying is not only the most important part of the sales process, it’s the most difficult part.

If you prospect the wrong people, you will never have the opportunity to close a sale.

If you find someone who wants your product or service, but after spending 30 minutes on the phone you realize they have no money, you won’t have the opportunity to close the sale.

At least 90% of all sales training is on how to close the sale, not on prospecting or qualifying. Don’t take my word for it, go look at every piece of sales training out there. The majority of everything is spent on “closing the sale.”

Before you can close a sale you have to open it. The best way to do that is to make sure you start out with good quality leads.

Cold Calling Is VERY Expensive

This company might as well of had a revolving door installed. The owner and V.P. of Sales had their heads so far up their ass they thought the sky was brown.

The company paid around $2K per person per month in salary… 30-60 new people per month… lucky to retain 1 past 90 days… the majority will be gone within 6 weeks (because the sales quotas were crazy)… Do the math at how much money was being wasted on salaries each month?

I could have taken the salary of 5 employees every month and kept their entire sales floor flooded with qualified hot leads every month… They would have stopped bleeding all of their payroll and would have retained most of their good salespeople.

How did the Company Make Money?

The company made their money off of the recurring payments of their clients… A sales person might have got 10 sales in their 1st 4 weeks, but got fired because they didn’t get their quota of 12. Each client paid a recurring payment each month for their marketing and stayed on for at least a year (because of the contract) and something like 60-70% of the clients stayed on for longer than 24 months.

As long as a new salesperson made a minimum of 6 sales, the company would break even after about 9 months…

The Irony

This company was an Internet Marketing company selling websites to teach Realtors how to market themselves so they wouldn’t have to cold call or door knock; but the only form of marketing the company used for itself was cold calling.

Stop Right Now

If you’re doing the dumb thing… stop. Get on Google and start an Adwords campaign… Get on Facebook and MyAds and get some ad campaigns going.

Do some offline marketing to drive people to your online marketing… Direct mail, radio, TV, fliers, business cards; these aren’t as expensive as you might think.

Put a call to action on everything you do… For example; on your advertising put “Come to to get your daily dose of Business, Blogging and Bullshit.”

If you tell a person to do something, they’ll usually do it. People are sheep, that’s why polite commands work.

If you work for one of these dumbasses who refuses to pay for marketing… market yourself… Get your own site you can drive traffic to. Or better yet, find a new job.

Have you ever worked at a “Chop Shop?”

Previous post:

Next post: