3 Cold-Calling Secrets From Sara Blakely, Founder of Spanx

These three cold-calling tips can help your salespeople become wildly more productive on the phone.

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By David Walter • Jan 23, 2022

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There's a reason why Spanx founder Sara Blakely can teach us so much about cold calling, and it has nothing to do with how great she is at creating inventions. Before becoming an entrepreneur herself, she sold fax machines in Florida for seven years, where her insight into this specific skill set became invaluable when starting up.

It was her knowledge of cold calling that turned out to be pivotal in landing her first sale of Spanx, as she cold-called the buyer for Neiman Marcus and landed her first large order of Spanx. She also used cold calling to find her patent lawyer and apparel manufacturer, which were both critical to her ultimate success as an entrepreneur.

Here are three specific cold-calling lessons we can glean from her experiences on her entrepreneurial journey.

1. The power of visualization

When her dad left the family, he gave her a collection of cassette tapes featuring motivational speaker Wayne Dyer. Later on, she followed Tony Robbins and other famous speakers who taught about visualization. This helped lead to her cold-calling success. She even credits the power of visualization to getting her on the Oprah Winfrey Show.

However, many of those that want to succeed remain skeptical about the power of the Law of Attraction — even though countless entrepreneurs who have attained success attest to the power of visualization and manifestation as the key to their success. So let's learn from Blakely's example and start listening to motivational speakers.

Related: 5 Cold-Calling Myths That Keep Businesses in the Matrix

2. Get a qualified list

Blakely's instincts led her to look for expert information when she needed a manufacturer. She found the registry of apparel manufacturing facilities and that made the search easy because they had all sorts of companies ready to go with what she wanted. This is how you should start your cold-call list: Get a verified list through AI or by manually verifying a list so you can make sure you have qualified data before you make your first cold call.

Those without the billionaire instinct take the ready, fire, aim approach and just start cold calling with an unverified list. This gigantic blunder will only make it extremely difficult to get in contact with decision-makers and ultimately causes your telemarketing campaign to go up in flames.

Related: Cold-Calling Secrets From Netflix's 'The Snitch Cartel'

3. Don't call and call

The biggest lesson we can learn from Blakely about cold-calling success is that she knew that when trying to connect with the buyer at Neiman Marcus, she shouldn't leave a message or voicemail and just keep on calling and calling until she made contact. This is what I call the Un-Numbers game.

It is a sobering thought that many people go through their day and make hundreds of cold calls, or leave messages on someone else's phone in the hope they'll get back to you. If only these individuals would learn from Blakely's example, they could simply call fewer prospects continuously until tracking them down.

Related: How to Get Over the Most Challenging Part of Cold Calling

David Walter

Author, Speaker and Sales Training

David Walter is an author, speaker and sales trainer. His claim to fame came from a cold-calling hot streak, during which he set 15 appointments a day for six months straight. He later ran a marketing call center, helping companies make millions. His book is a No. 1 best-seller on Amazon.

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