The worst job in the world…

I received an email today from my young cousin and the subject bar reads “The worst job I’ve ever had.”

My 21 year old cousin has taken a job with a call center and it’s her responsibility to ‘cold call’ potential customers and persuade them to buy gas and electric from her.

I chuckled to myself as I read the email, not only because some poor sucker gave my cousin a job, but also because I thought ‘cold calling’ had gone out with the arc… It’s like hearing that MC Hammer pants are back in and we should all rush out to get a pair. Shocking news, and when you actually see people in them, you can’t help but chuckle.

When I called her to mock, I asked why it’s the worst job in the world. She said she hates ‘cold calling’ because people are so rude to her when she calls. “She won’t last long in this job!” I thought to myself.

My advice was to eliminate the term ‘cold calling’ from her vocabulary. It’s a horrible phrase and it conjures up all sorts of horrible scenarios, such as flicking through the yellow pages and calling people randomly at the very time they sit down to have their dinner. Annoying, frustrating, time wasting and plain bad marketing if you ask me.

“There are better ways” I told her!

Targeted or ‘warm calling’ is a much more user-friendly term and with warm calling, the people you call will warmly receive your offers because they have ‘opted in’ and put their hand out to welcome you first. You have permission to handshake in a sense.

I believe cold calling is a dying art, or I hope it is anyway. Having said this, rather than my cousin going back to the dole queue, I feel like I should help. And so I’ve decided to write a ‘Tips Booklet’ for her entitled ’10 ways to get great results from ‘cold calling’. The first tip will be to scrap the name cold calling…

I’ll have it done in a few weeks – just before my cousin gives up the job – so if you fancy a copy, please leave me a comment below and I will contact you for your address. If you don’t leave a comment, I promise not to call… ūüôā

Thanks for reading. Toby

By |2016-12-19T17:30:26+00:00October 18th, 2010|Employee to Entrepreneur|3 Comments


  1. Nigel Rushby 19/10/2010 at 3:38 am - Reply

    Telesales are a way of informing people quickly about new products/special offers/pricing structures. This is information that people would probably not have had or known and with this information allows them to make a more informed judgement on what they are buying. Knowledge is power.
    Energy companies retain customers by relying on people not getting information about cheaper tariffs, the less they know the more they are likely to stay where they are.
    By offering people information and choice your cousin is doing a very valuable and noble public service.
    Also there are many people out there unhappy with what they are paying for their energy, if they can make any savings then this is a good thing.
    Cold calling doesn’t conjure up negative images in my head (no more than unsolicited e-mails offering me NLP courses) and before the internet how great was the yellow pages, one of the most useful and informative books you kept in your house.
    From what you wrote your cousin seemed more upset about how rude people were so overcoming that maybe the key to survival and greater job satisfaction.
    All IMHO

  2. admin 19/10/2010 at 10:59 am - Reply

    Thank you for your response Nigel.

    I agree that telesales, or sales over the telephone, is a great way of “informing people quickly about new products/special offers/pricing etc.” I think that most failing businesses in fact should employ phone tactics as a medium of getting in touch with clients.

    Opting in, for me, is the key here. Cold calling, in the traditional sense, is calling people who are not expecting your call, and perhaps have no interest in your offerings and after 5 to 10 calls a day from businesses trying to sell stuff, it can become quite annoying for most.

    “Warm calling” customers after they “opt-in” and tell you that they have an interest in what you are offering, is very different in my book. In order to receive our emails as an example, you must “sign up” for our products, services, newsletters or NLP homestudy programmes in your case, and therefore those people have put their hand up to tell us that they are, at the very minimum, interested in what we have to offer. It’s also a legal requirement that we give people an ‘op-out’ option that they can take if they no longer wish to receive our offers. As far as I know, without paying for it, there are few options to ‘op-out’ of a cold calls and those that you can sign up for for free do little in the way of stopping these calls.

    I also agree that there are many people who are unhappy about the price of their gas and electric and my view is, if they are unhappy, then they could take some action and “opt-in” for a supplier to contact them with an offer. A warm call would then be most welcome.

    I do have a Yellow pages in my office, as do most, but I rarely open it unless I need something from it. I would tear it up though if it clambered out of my office, ran down the stairs and sat on my knee while I was trying to eat my dinner…

  3. Barry Haeger 04/02/2012 at 3:09 pm - Reply

    About 15 years ago I was struggling with my start up business to contact potential customers for the training service I wanted to offer.

    A wise friend of mine then asked me to help him as he needed to call a lot of people by lunch time to morrow and couldn’t call them all in the time himself, but if I could just call the companies and ask the switchboard for help in finding who was the person responsible for results in a certain area and if they would be available for a short call the following morning the he would be able to call them.

    So sure I’d help after all I didn’t have anything to do that afternoon. I found it no problem calling this list of companies and soon had 100 contacts. I soon realised i was making the calls be cause I had no emotional investment in the calls I made – I didn’t have to rely on the result a Yes was as good as No.

    Nest morning my friend said he had so many to call could I make the call to the contacts I now had, and ask them if in their position they had become a good judge of people and if they agreed that they would be able to tell in 10 mins if they couldn’t work with someone,? after all no matter how good a product or service is, if you can’t people involved in delivering it, it doesn’t matter how good the product or services is. They always agreed.

    Then I would ask if we could have 10 mins of his time to meet face to face to find out if he couldn’t work with us, and if he didn’t think he couldn’t work with us then we’d schedule to come back another time to find out what we could do for him.

    I made 85 appointments out of the 100 companies on my list. and had dispelled the cold calling boggyman.

    The great thing was that once the meetings got under-way, and we stood up to leave after the allotted 10 minutes, in every case without exception, they gave permission, in fact requested, us to stay longer and none of these initial meetings lasted less than 1 hour 15. and at least half resulted in some business.

    In fact my friend had never intended to make these calls but broke the process down in to a number of non confrontational steps none of which I could have invested emotional energy in and therefore I had no barrier to carrying them out.

Leave A Comment