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On today’s The Startup Chat we discuss cold calling. We’ll tell you what cold calling is, why you should do it, and how to do it effectively. Steli is the rock star of cold calling between the two of us. He’ll tell us how he has made cold calling work for him and his business.

Cold calling is a channel that can be effective for your customer base. If you have some worries about cold calling or if you’re wondering if cold calling will work for you, then give this episode a try.  

Here are today’s points:

What is cold calling?

Why should you cold call?

The 2 questions to ask yourself about cold calling.

How to learn if your competitor cold calls.

How to get started.

The reasons cold calling can be stressful.

How to cope with cold calling anxiety.

Steli: Hey, everyone, this is Steli Efti.


Hiten: And this is Hiten Shaw and the Startup Chat and today we’re actually going to talk about cold calling. One reason is, you know, one of us is an expert on this I would say and that happens to be Steli. So I get to ask him a lot of questions about this as he kind of talks about it. So this is almost like a Cold Calling 101, I would say.


Steli: Yeah.


Hiten: I’m sure we will get into some advanced stuff. For context, I’ve had teams where we’ve done a ton of cold calling. My cofounder has a whole bunch of funnels and things like that where there’s a bunch of cold calling, as well as inside sales and things like that going on. Also, you know, one thing I would say before we jump in is, for a SaaS business to scale you have to go outbound, meaning you have to go find a way to email, call prospects, potential customers, people you don’t know yet. This can be for partnership reasons, this can be for sales reasons, and this can be for many other reasons as well. So I’m eager to hear all the cool stuff that you have to share about this topic.


Steli: Yeah, and this has been consistently a topic that listeners have been asking us to talk about. It’s kind of a list of things where people ask us about it and we are experts in but selfishly at times, you know, I’ll admit we’d rather talk about something more fun. We’ll talk about something we DON’T get to talk about every day with each other but this is just one that’s been kind of consistently enough requested that we thought, all right, let’s do one and share as much value as we can on this topic because a lot of founders struggle with this. So I’ll let you ask the questions and I’ll give the best answers I can.


Hiten: Sounds good. So, yeah, cold calling. What is it? Why should we do it?


Steli: Well, cold calling is the act of calling somebody that didn’t expect to hear from you and most of the times it’s also somebody that doesn’t know you or company to service and didn’t consent to, or was aware of, you having his or her contact details. So it’s not calling your friend who didn’t expect the call but it’s calling somebody that doesn’t know you or didn’t know you had their phone number and wasn’t expecting to be contacted by you. The reason you do it is because you’re typically trying to prospect, which means trying to discover or find out if THAT person within the context… that person or that business could be a customer could be a good fit for your product or service that you’re selling and make them aware that your product or service exists and that it could be a solution to one of their problems or a better solution to something that they currently are a customer of and then help them transition from where they are now to becoming a customer of yours.


Hiten: Gotcha. So how do I know whether I should be doing cold calling or not in my business? How do I make that decision? I’m not doing it today. What do I do?


Steli: Yeah, so it’s a tricky question. It’s a good question.

Key points in this episode

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