One Dial…and a Home Run!


“You hit home runs not by chance, but by preparation.” – Roger Maris

Have you ever been in a room that was absolutely electric, where people were literally jumping up and down, high-fiving and screaming, everyone overjoyed at a teammate’s success?

I was recently, in my work as a sales trainer delivering a sales training program. All the excitement connected to a single phone call.

Shelly Wilkinson was nervous before making that first cold call. Yes, cold call. But, as the leader of an equally-nervous group of sales professionals at TRICOM, she felt obligated to lead the way.

It was, literally, her first call. She dialed. Chatted with the gatekeeper. Got put through to the decisionmaker. Spoke with him … and landed an appointment.

Enter: chaos. The room erupted. Her team yelled, whooped and carried on like they’d just won the World Series. All the work they’d put in, with my customized Group Cold Call Training program, would pay off. Shelly had proven it.

TRICOM is a national provider of financing and professional services to staffing firms. It’s a subsidiary of Wintrust, for whom I’d provided tremendously successful cold call sales training late last year (remember Ricky Perez, a.k.a. Mr. 22 for 22?).

I customized a 6-session program for the TRICOM team. Over the first five gatherings, they’d absorbed my proprietary teachings for successful cold calling: psychology, call structure, script construction, piquing interest, overcoming obstacles and much more.

We role-played. Went over endless scenarios. Up to this point, though, it was still theory.

The sixth session is where the rubber met the road: live cold calling. “Nervous” far understated the mood in the room. Everyone was as prepared as possible. Putting their new knowledge to a “live fire” test, in front of their co-workers, was good reason for agitation. Bravery is one’s ability to proceed amid their fears.

Shelly showed how, hitting a home run in her first at-bat. The rest dove into their calls, engaging with gatekeepers (a key point in my training) and putting to use newfound skills for generating interest, whether through conversation or voicemail.

Their test wasn’t over. The next two weeks were the Daily Call Log phase. The TRICOM team made daily cold calls and logged the results … and man, were they spectacular.

Shelly again led the way. She made 40 calls, getting through to the person of interest (POI) 13 times. She scheduled nine appointments, a stunning 61.54 percent cold call success rate. She left 30 voicemails, receiving callbacks from five (16.67 percent voicemail response rate).

Know the national averages for each? 5.5 and 0.7 percent, respectively … numbers that define “paltry.”

Shelly’s team did well, too. They spoke with the POI 27 times from 171 calls, scheduling 16 appointments (59.26 percent!). Out of 147 voicemails, 15 were returned (10.2 percent!).

Cold calling, as any salesperson knows, isn’t easy. So why the success for the TRICOM group? They learned proper preparation and efficient execution. More so, they used a different, and better, approach to getting complete strangers interested in why they were calling.

I’m happy to teach you how, too, whether in a Group or Individual (3 or fewer participants) Cold Call Training Program. No guarantee that you’ll put one over the fence on your first dial. But wouldn’t being part of the electricity, the momentum, the excitement, feel great? You’ll never know … until you step up to the plate (or phone).

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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