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Cold Calling Fears

Actors and actresses suffer from it. Professional speakers suffer from it. What is it? Stage fright.

Stage fright is when you stand in front of a task and think everything – but absolutely everything – will go wrong and you will fail and you will be sooooo embarrassed by it all. Generally, the very opposite happens…

Any freelance teacher trying to find new business will think about the values of cold calling. Should I? Should I not? And of course, will the time, effort and cost be worth my while in the long run? Here are 10 tips to help keep you on track when cold calling.

1. It’s a numbers’ game

Whether it’s worth your time, effort and cost remains in your own hands. What you should not lose out of eyesight, is that cold calling is a purely numbers game. On average, there is an about 60 to 70 per cent rejection rate. It’s a matter of numbers: the more rejections you receive, the closer you are going to get to a student or business customer who finally says “yes, please”.

2. Rejections outweigh – do you have a strong character?

Rejections will get you closer to a customer who says “yes”. Nevertheless, rejections outweigh. It takes a strong personality to be rebuffed so often – and it’s especially scary and soul-destroying when you first start. Make sure you are fit before you start by having a good night’s sleep before you start.

3. Don’t expect your first call to be perfect…

All starts are known to never be perfect. So never expect your first calls to be perfect. You will make mistakes, and lots of them. If you don’t make mistakes, you cannot learn. Start with the least important potentials and learn from your mistakes. Make notes of your mistakes, revise your script if necessary and use your new-found knowledge in the next call on your list.

4. Is your list of customers qualified?

Have you doubled checked your list of names to call? If you are calling a company, are you sure the name of the HR department head (human resources; personnel department) or the person responsible for training, is correct? And of course do you have the correct spelling of the name (Meier, Meyer, Schmidt, Schmitt), the name of the company and postal or e-mail address available? The person you speak to may well wish to receive your brochure, or other documents you have prepared in advance for just such eventualities.

5. Is your paperwork ready?

You are a business. You have a business card, brochure and other items that you have prepared to attract potential students and customers. Now you are cold calling … have you also thought about:

  • Envelopes and etiquettes and the correct value of stamps you need to send these documents?
  • Is your “template” covering letter to go with your brochure and business cards prepared?
  • Is your Excel (or equivalent) spreadsheet ready to be filled in with the information you collect after each call (who plus which company you have called; whether they are interested or not interested or later (when?); are documents to be sent?)

If your paperwork is ready, you can start calling…

6. How many times should you let the phone ring?

How many times should you allow the telephone to ring? No more than six times. Any less than the customer will have to pounce on the phone before you have rung off. Any more, then the customer might well get annoyed with the persistent ring tone…

7. Your voice on the telephone

How do you feel when you pick up the phone and an unfriendly voice is on the other end? When your customer picks up the telephone, make sure you smile as you speak. It is a well-known trick to raise the pitch of your voice and make it sound more friendly. It’s not being false. It’s being respectful for the person on the other end of the line. Everybody likes to talk to a person who sounds friendly. I’m sure you are no exception. So why not sound friendly as you work your way through your script?

8. Where’s your Cold Calling Script?

What is the Cold Calling Script? This is your prepared list of:

  • who you are
  • what you offer
  • how it will benefit them
  • how + what + when they (the potential student and customer) need to do to get your teaching services
  • the times when you take a break from your cold calling

9. Planning the breaks…

Depending on the number of calls you want to make, make sure you have a rest every hour. Your script should mark in how much time and when you should take a break between calls. Even the best people need a break from repetitive work.

10. Don’t forget the admin work

Don’t forget to do the administrative work and send out the requested documents. It’s easy to lose sight of the overview when you are right in the middle of the fray and one call after the other is a rejection  🙄 until you get that coveted “yes, please!” However, don’t forget you have administrative paperwork to do. This is your record of:

  • who you have called, and what their response was,
  • whether you have sent them any documents, and
  • any other particular comments you feel important.


No one has ever said cold calling is for the faint-hearted. On the other hand, cold calling is purely number work. Statistics say the more you call, the greater the chance of succeeding. It is another method of attracting new students and customers.

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