9 Ways to Cold Call That Don't Involve Picking Up the Phone

About 5 years ago a global CEO (call him Steve) gave me 2 of his cell phone numbers. When he gave them to me, he said, “Text me anytime you need anything because when I need you I’m definitely going to aggravate the shit out of you.”

Like any good sales professional, I was persistent but not overbearing in my outreach to him. But after about 4 months, I hadn’t heard anything from him. I’ve been in sales long enough to know when I’m being ghosted. Also, someone who doesn’t want to hear from you probably won’t give you 2 fake phone numbers.


Fast forward to a night after being out in Vegas, I stopped somewhere around 3AM in the Miracle Mile on the Strip to sit down. And since it’s always a good idea to scroll through your texts and DMs after a night out Vegas, I decided to do that. I came across Steve’s unresponsiveness text messages and decided I was going to figure this out.

Steve was in New York, so it was a little after 6AM in his part of the world. He was always up at 4AM, so I knew he’d already made the journey into Manhattan from Westchester. Knowing he was up and having nothing to lose, I made the bold move to look him up on Facebook and send him a message using Facebook Messenger.

Within seconds, “Hey my friend.”

Stunned I typed back, “When can we start working together?”

“I was waiting to hear from you, but we can sit down in a month or so.”

Now confused, “Do I have the correct numbers? I inserted the numbers.”


“Ok, I’ll send you an invite to meet up in a month or so. Just adjust it if it doesn’t work.”

“No send me your email here. I’ll screenshot it and text my assistant to setup a time for us.”

“Ok,” I said feeling like I was making huge progress.

“BDubs (yes he wrote “BDubs”) if you need me just use Facebook Messenger again. My assistant basically intercepts all texts and emails I get during the day.”

Anthony Iannarino says cold calling is the most effective form of prospecting, and I agree except that in this day and age every call should be warm. There is so much information available online that there’s usually no excuse not to have some tidbit of information on the prospect or her company.

And the word “call” should be replaced with “outreach.” What do I mean by that?

Well, how often do you pick up your mobile phone when you see a number you don’t recognize?

I rarely do.

And if they keep calling I’ll block it. The mobile phone has made us all effing GATC (God-Allah-TomCruise...copyright 2019 CLouvi Productions) ;) with our behavior. Like it or not, it is the world that we live in. Nobody has to talk to anyone unless they want to do so.

You have got to be comfortable reaching out over other forms of communication. And if your company wants to track your activity, then you need to record that activity in your CRM even if it’s not automated. In fact, I’d argue that if you can’t scale it, then you’re more likely to succeed.

Don’t worry about what is socially acceptable. Beauty and outreach moves are in the eye of the beholder. If someone puts their stuff in the public eye then they’re ok being reached out to. Aside from budget, the line between B2B and B2C is almost gone. Innovative ad agencies are hiring DTC product managers because it’s the future.

Think about it: The CEO I mentioned had 2 mobile phone numbers that he gave me and his EA still wouldn’t let me through. He finally told me to just hit him up on FB Messenger so I did and we still talk. I’m respectful of the relationship and the channel. There’s no abuse.

There are many ways to that I’ve cold...errrr warm...called prospects.

Here are 9 ways to cold call that have work well:

  • Google Alerts then emailing the prospect to acknowledge them

  • Instagram DM

  • WhatsApp group engagement

  • Facebook group engagement

  • LinkedIn post tag

  • Mobile phone number then found on Snapchat then DMed on Snapchat

  • Sent an empty box of Manolos to a CXO

  • Sent an empty wallet with a note that said “I found your wallet!” via FedEx

  • LinkedIn mobile voice message or video (YES! You can do that!)

  • Swarm (when it was called Foursquare)

Thanks to Andrew Mewborn for throwing in a few tips!