Official FAQ
Official FAQ Answer Wiki at SavvySME

Does cold calling or cold emailing work?

Have you ever tried it? Can/does it work? 

Top voted answer
Greg Reiffel


Top 20% Sales Strategy

It must, but it is something I choose not to do. I want to help, not be a nuisance.

Steve Gray

Steve Gray, Director at Gray Capital Investments

Top 10% Marketing

Most people get this wrong and see a cold call as a hassle, it's not IF it's part of a bigger process.
Let me explain.
if you use a cold call to build up to a warm call, then you have instantly changed the dynamics.

It might go like this
You drop into a business you might want to sell your services or product to. Take a research approach, lets imagine it's a retail business and you wander in, have a look about and see they have some products similar to what you have, and you figure you can add to their range. The questions you ask as you are approached by a service person will help you to get a foot in the door,  you chat for a bit and ask if they know the boss well enough to get an idea about if they want more products etc.

This interaction may well lead on to contacting the boss, now as you do that it can be a 'warmer' call... If it goes well the emplyee tells the boss about you, so it's now a referal, and that can make all the difference.

It's now up to you to make what comes next a psoitive outcome.

Cold Emails.
Every day you see the spammy email about seo and website building... what a hassle and a waste of time. these people need to get more creative in their approaches. Currently they send out a heap of email and get a bunch of people respond. in the meantime it pushes people to not like this approach so overtime it geets harder to do.

If that's the gold standard of how not to do it, then you need a fresh approach.

How to make it work? Tricky, think of it like a party where you don't know too many people but it seems like a nice event to go to. How do you break the ice with chatting to someone new. Sometimes it's easy and sometimes not. I find if I chat about something happening right in front of us it gives me a common point to work from, "OH wow did you see that, I bet that red wine she spilt on her dress will stain badly..." Then the response comes from them, if they are favourable they might continue with a longer chat, that gives you the chance to build rapport. Usually it's a couple of very quick exchanges like Yeah, ouch that will stain badly" - "Yeah I did something similar once, very annoying..." - "Yep that will stay that for sure." - "Enjoying the party?" and so on.

Doing this with a cold email might be challenging but it could go like this.

Hello x, I see that you are a member of the local chamber of commerce, as such I took this opportunity to drop you a line. I work with businesses to provide them with solutions to challenges they face especially with team building - innovation and communcation issues. Can I call for a chat sometime. I want tosee if there's a chance I can be of assistance?

There will be a range of ways this can then develop, but it's about creating starting points to exploring the relationship.

Yee Trinh

Yee Trinh, Cofounder at

Those SEO and website guys do need a new approach, that's for sure. A lot of them end up in spam unsurprisingly. It's my belief most things work. You just have to figure out the intricacies of HOW. That applies to cold emailing, cold calling. It does depend on your resources, time and objectives. A lot of businesses use a combination of cold emailing/calling/Linked In etc. The most important thing is to get the door open to conversation. If you can't get there, don't bother selling.

Malcolm Dawes

Malcolm Dawes, Managing Director at

I have used cold calling in the past; it tends to be tiring, demotivating and not that productive.  I have found a more productive approach is to provide a reason to call a potential client.  I offer a free book, then when the prospect requests a copy, there can be a follow up call or email to obtain feedback on the book.  That is more likely to lead to a conversation around the issues that they need to resolve.

Keith Dugdale


Top 30% Sales Strategy

It absolutely can work, but 99.99% of cold sales emails are truly awful.  This subject would take pages of advice.  So to try and simplify the advice you have to first research the recipient so you can get a sense of the things that are critical to the recipient of the email.  Then you need to construct the email in a way, from the subject line onwerd, that first shows it is in the recipients interest to read the email, and that they will get value from the first meeting with you.  The likelihood is that you should not talk at all about you, your product or service in situations like this because what is the chance of that person needing your thing at this very moment - almost none.  So this takes time and effort but well worth it if this is a client you really want to work with and not just a name on a list.

Yee Trinh

Yee Trinh, Cofounder at

Do you think using Linkedin cold messaging "InMails" is better? Where you're not a nobody and not just an email address? And where conversations are less formal through chat vs email?  

I used to do a fair bit of "cold" networking on Linkedin. The numbers game does play into it. But I found that after a bit of chit chat around commonalities, people were more than happy to meet up for coffee. 

Jane Jones

Jane Jones, Manager at SavvySME

Love the detail of your answer @Steve Gray Thanks for keeping the discussion going @Malcolm Dawes @Keith Dugdale