Cold Calling as a Life Skill? Yes Indeed!

“Every ‘No’ gets me closer to a ‘Yes.’” – Mark Cuban

If the COVID-19 pandemic has taught us anything, it’s that situations can change at any moment. Instantly!

Many, many people who believed their jobs were “secure” suddenly found themselves out of work. One day, climbing the career ladder – the next, suspecting the superstition of walking under a ladder had come true.

No one saw this coming. Yet, here we are: millions unemployed, wondering how to find a new job.

After reflection, and allowing the dust to settle, many begin to identify organizations where they’d like to work. Problem is, they don’t know anyone there.

Uh-oh. As we all know, an inside advocate is huge for landing a new job. They get your resume to the right person. Put in a good word for you. Position you at the front of the line.

The challenge grows exponentially, though, without that advocate. Talk about agony. Stifling, stultifying, bang-your-head-and-beat-your-fists-against-the-wall frustration. How do you get in the door?

Hmmm. Wouldn’t this be a good time to know a thing or two about cold calling? So you could reach out to someone in the organization, strike up a conversation, intrigue them with your abilities, and hopefully land a meeting?

“Cold calling?” you’re probably thinking. “Isn’t that for salespeople?”

Sure, if you believe conventional wisdom. News flash: Conventional wisdom is rarely “wise.”

True, cold calling is, far and away, commonly associated with sales. I’m a keynote speaker who includes a sales training program, one specifically about cold calling, in his repertoire. I was a sales trainer for years before taking up the inspirational speaker mantle. Yes, cold calling has a long history with salespeople.

Still, this pigeonholing is a shame. Knowing how to call a stranger, and engage them, is a skill that could benefit all of us, at different times in our lives. Think some people unexpectedly out of work might agree?

In fact, I submit that cold calling is a life skill – one that should be taught in school next to math, science, English and other standbys. Everyone should know how to cold call, just like riding a bike or swimming.

It’s a skill that deserves in-depth instruction. Why not have cold calling curriculums in high schools and colleges?

As human beings, contacting total strangers doesn’t come naturally to us. Especially today, in a world of not enough time and too many things to do.

Stretched-thin people don’t welcome cold calls. They’re distractions. Another demand in a too-busy day.

Consequently, most cold calls are very brief … if a connection is even made. “My name is,” followed by a click at the other end.

Why? The caller is untrained. They rarely know what to say. Very few people do.

Cold calling is a learned skill … which is why schools should teach it. Start young. Build the ability, and confidence, early. Who knows where it might lead? Even with 13-year-old entrepreneurs who have a great idea and lots of potential customers?

Cold calling is about being able to get in front of who you want, when you want, and for whatever reason you want. Knowing this skill is power. It engenders more control of one’s future than anyone realizes.

Wouldn’t this be great if, for example, you were suddenly unemployed? Well, lots of people are – and “sudden” applies to most. My next post will dive deeper into why, even if you’re not in sales, cold calling is a skill worth learning.

Life, business and careers revolve around relationships. Building them is critical to success. We might be in a weird reality these days – but even a pandemic can’t change this truth.

Paul M. Neuberger is President of The Starr Group, Founder/CEO of The Cold Call Coach, and a globe-trotting inspirational keynote speaker. Don’t miss his three-part webinar series, Paul’s Emergency Sales Kit, filled with timely instruction and advice for salespeople during a challenging period. Or, for an even deeper dive, try Cold Call University. Contact Paul at 414-313-8338 or via e-mail at

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