(Sales) Book Review: Never Cold Call Again by Frank Rumbauskas Jr.

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Victor Antonio, Sales Influence

The title of the book itself, Never Cold Call Again, caught my attention. Having been in sales and having depended on cold calling for my success in sales, I was taken aback by such a pronunciation.

The premise of the book is that cold calling is ineffective when you analyze the amount of time invested compared to the returns you’ll receive. 

I’ve learned that one should be open to new ways of thinking so I went ahead and purchased ‘Never Cold Call Again’ to see if it was really possible to grow your sales without having to cold call.

After having read the book, I thought I’d jot down a few notes for your consideration.

The writing style is friendly, intelligent and very concise (i.e., not a lot of puffery). I really enjoyed Rumbauskas’s writing style. The book is broken up into three sections: 

Part I: A New Way of Selling where he reminds the reader that cold calling isn’t a numbers game and that the information age is a wake up call for salespeople to reevaluate how they go about generating leads and setting appointments. This section is basically dedicated to convincing the reader of the benefits of moving from a ‘push’ style (you calling a client) of selling to a ‘pull’ strategy (clients come to you). Chapters 5 and 6 have a Alvin Toffler-esque type of quality as he reminds us salespeople to sell from a position of power, and not beg for business. 

Part II: Your Self-Marketing System for Lead Generation
This section is the heart of the author’s ‘pull strategy’. By using the different technologies available to us to today to promote our business, we could be more effective in our client reach and finding better qualified leads. The author points to using various marketing strategies: email, postcard, flyer distribution, weblogs, auto-responders, newsletters, networking, and so on. 

Part III: You Have the Leads-Now Get the Sales
This section is a quick overview of the sales process and a reminder to salespeople to make sure they keep front and center the primary needs of the client. He emphasizes the need for perpetual marketing by asking for referrals and building a system to track and keep your clients up to date with what you or your company is offering.

Interesting things I noted:
 The author makes a sweeping indictment that cold calling doesn’t work, yet Rumbauskas doesn’t provides any proof, no research or empirical data to back his statement up. His premise is based solely on his experience loaded with subjective and anecdotal evidence.

In my article, Is Cold Calling Effective, I show that if the price of a product is LOW, one can easily conclude that cold calling isn’t an effective marketing tool for generating new business.  But, if the price of the item is HIGH, cold calling can not only be effective, but very lucrative.  Cold calling is dependent on other variables and should be judge prudently as to whether it’s an effective marketing tool or not on a case-by-case basis.
Ironically, the author DOES suggest using a telesales person to ‘cold call’ on your behalf. He justifies this seemingly contradictory statement by parsing the sales process, “…prospecting is not selling, and selling is not prospecting.” (ref: page 65) One could easily argue, I would, that prospecting is indeed selling.  When you call a client you have to sell yourself and you have to sell them on the idea of meeting with you. That said, it stresses the reader’s credulity when Rumbauskas makes the argument against cold calling when you do it personally, but it works when someone else does it on your behalf! 

Also, on the author’s weblog he takes a quote from Frank Bettger’s 1949 sales classic, “How I Raised Myself from Failure to Success in Selling” (see my book review) that is worth noting. Here’s the original quote:
“The records show that 70 percent of my sales were made on the first interview (meeting), 23% on the second and 7% on the third and after. But listen to this: 50% of my time was spent going after the 7%.” (Page 15, 1977 edition) 
Bettger’s point is that if you want to improve your efficiency in selling, stop going after the 7%. This makes total sense!  But what Rumbauskas fails to mention is that on the very same page Bettger talks about how he got those meetings, and eventual sales, through cold calling. 

So my question is, why does Rumbauskas praise Bettger’s classic, who built his sales career on cold calling, when Rumbauskas’ book itself is about why you should ‘never cold call again’?

Lastly, it’s worth noting that the average response rate for a direct marketing (e.g., mailing postcards, magazines etc.) campaign ranges from .1% to .8%.  Does that mean direct marketing doesn’t work because the results are so low? Is that reason enough to go out and write a book titled, “Never Direct Market Again”?  Kidding aside, direct marketing works for some, and not for others; no different for cold calling.


The author’s title is catchy and is consistent with his marketing philosophy about having a great headline if you want to be noticed. I can’t argue that.  His subtitle, “Achieve Sales Greatness Without Cold Calling” more accurately reflects what this book is about. 

The book is a great primer for salespeople, small businessmen or entrepreneurs who are looking for ways to market their business on their own. His Part II section does a good job in giving you some ideas of where to start and how to begin creating your own lead generating system. 

To Rumbauskas’ credit, this is one of the few sales books in the market that is challenging the old way of doing business and forcing the average salesperson to rethink his or her approach to selling. That said, we wouldn’t want to throw out the baby with the bath water by eliminating cold calling from our sales arsenal. 

But Rumbauskas’ overall message warrants our attention. We’re living in a new age of information and if cold calling is your only tool for marketing, then you’re living in the dark ages.

The game of prospecting has changed and you have to learn how to use a multitude of marketing ‘pull’ strategies to drive clients to you if you want to get ahead.  On that note, I say to Mr. Rumbauskas, “Amen!” 

 Go out and get your copy of “Never Cold Call Again” and go beyond the cold call to market your business.

Victor Antonio, Sales Influence
“Finding the Why in (How People) Buy” 
p.s., Any guy that can squeeze in a reference to Joseph Schumpeter’s ‘creative destruction’ concept in a book on selling is alright with me! 


2 Responses

  1. I am in a situation that has me thinking I MUST become a salesperson. I have had some sales positions in the past but never great success. I am starting my education in how to sell here.

    Excellent review. I am picking this up soon because I do not like cold calling. Your sight might just change that.


    • Gregory, glad to have you stop by. I will be posting more great stuff that will help you over those ‘sales humps’. All my best…keep plugging away! Victor

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