Cold Calling is About Life … Not Just Sales

“Cold calling is about developing social skills and getting used to rejection. We are constantly selling something to someone.” – Shahid Khan

Do you own a football team? Yeah, me neither.

You know who does? Shahid Khan. Not just one, but two.

Khan bought the NFL’s Jacksonville Jaguars in 2012. In 2013 he added an English football team – what we Yankees call “soccer” – to his holdings.

Khan’s worth roughly $8 billion. He owns a huge auto parts supply company. Apparently needing a hobby, last year he launched All Elite Wrestling, a competitor to entertainment industry heavyweight WWE.

The guy’s beyond successful – more than me, you or probably anyone we know. When he offers advice on something – such as his take on cold calling above – it’s worth noting.

Well, I’m pleased to say that Shahid Khan and I have something in common. No, he isn’t an inspirational speaker, nor a sales trainer. As much as I love being a keynote speaker, I’ve never shared a platform with him.

If you read my last post, you know I put forth a belief that cold calling is a life skill. Most people associate the activity with sales. Understandably so, because cold calling is a tool of sales professionals. Yet its utility extends to all sorts of life needs and events.

Khan’s take on cold calling parallels mine. If you’re not friendly, open-minded and a good listener, you’ll be good at neither cold calling nor forming relationships. One plays off the other. Knowing how to reach out to strangers, and engage them in meaningful dialogue, can take you places.

As I related in my last article, an awful lot of people are out of work. How great would it be if, during a job hunt, you could contact anyone within an organization … and get them to meet with you? To become an advocate for bringing you on board?

It’s possible if you’re good at cold calling. In this regard, cold calling isn’t just a life skill – it’s a survival skill. COVID-19 demonstrated that the world can turn on a dime. Do you want to be able to adapt?

Cold calling is about building relationships. As oft-cited, relationships make the world go ‘round. “Knowing someone” is often the difference between getting a job interview or being “just another resume” … or getting your product or service in front of a decisionmaker, instead of being dismissed as “just another salesperson.”

Whether it’s sales or job hunting, you only need one advocate within an organization to plead your case. This falls in line with my cold call sales training theory of JGITH: Just Get Inside the House.

JGITH boils down to establishing a relationship with someone in an organization. It could be almost anyone, from an administrative assistant to the CEO. Once in, the dominoes fall as they connect you with others.

Well, cold calling allows you endless opportunities to JGITH. The larger the organization, the easier to get in.

You can enter through a “side door,” meaning someone within a certain division. Or use a “window,” via a decisionmaker at a different level. If one person isn’t receptive, try another. You only need to get it right once. Your opportunities are unlimited.

Establish a relationship, though, and you have a leg up on your competition. You’re no longer a stranger. You have someone going to bat for you, a person whom the decisionmaker(s) already knows and trusts. How valuable could this be?

Obviously, very valuable. In fact, cold calling should be taught in schools. Yes, you read that right. If students are taught other life skills – how to interview, or balance a checkbook, or write a business letter – why not one that opens doors to new relationships … and opportunities?

Everyone knows someone. It’s how business, and life, gets done. Relationships drive it all. My next post will stay on the sales trainer topic of cold calling, more on the “business” side.

Be good at cold calling, and you have more power and control over your future than you realize. You might not buy a football team – but you’ll be able to score, as often and as much as needed.

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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