Improving SDR Cold Call Success

Written by David Wright

Graduating spring 2020 with an Economics degree from the University of Florida, he is a sales development representative at The Selling Factory. David is excited to begin a sales career at technology solutions provider, CDW.

Tell me there’s no room in the shop, not enough money in the budget, you’re retiring, relocating, or ready to fake your own demise and move south, and with sincerity, I’ll wish you the best of luck. But when the line goes blank with no explanation from my cold call, I figure it must have to do with the storm clouds in the area, so I call back. I do so not because I wish to pester potential customers, but because I know that a hang-up simply means there has been a miscommunication. That, and the weather outside seems to be unpredictable in the afternoon.

Over the past year, I have been a sales development representative, as part of an outsourced sales team, making cold calls for our client, Phalanx Defense Systems. Phalanx is the creator of the Stealth Operator Holster, an innovative “universal” holster for handguns. The Stealth Operator Holster is made from an ultra-durable injection molded nylon, fits (with retention) 150+ different handguns, is made and manufactured in the United States, comes with a lifetime warranty, and is offered in left-handed, right-handed, IWB, and OWB variations. To most, the previous sentence is gibberish. To gun shop owners who make their living off buying and selling firearms and their accessories, this is a revolutionary new product.

I wasn’t born into a family of gun enthusiasts with a passion for a holster. After being on the outsourced sales team, Phalanx for the past 12 months, however, I’m convinced that in a few years’ time you will be hard-pressed to find a gun store in America that does not carry the Stealth Operator Holster. I believe this. Our customers believe this. And Phalanx believes this so much so they’re willing to wager the cost of a holster every time I make a cold call. 

For now, however, Phalanx’s holster is relatively new and unheard of. In an attempt to evangelize the product, I am part of a six-person outsourced sales team, who works in the sales process steps by making cold calls to offer a sample of the holster to willing gun stores and pawn shops across the country, completely free of charge. That’s right, the holster with an MSRP of $39.95, that’s made in America, that’s compatible with more than 150 different handguns, that offers retention, a lifetime warranty, IWB, OWB, LH, and RH variations. That’s the one I offer for free dozens of times a day, hundreds of times a month. We even pay for shipping. 

How, then, could it be possible for anyone to answer our cold call, hear all the great things our holster is capable of, it’s completely free of charge, and still say, “No, thank you.”? While hang-ups might be most easily explained by the weather patterns, unfortunately, the weather cannot explain the customers who simply say, “No”. When that’s so, the problem lies with just one person, me.

It was only once I accepted responsibility for not just my successful cold calls but also my failed ones that I began to see improvements over the phone. While I might have blamed my first 50, 100 or 1,000 bad calls on crotchety gun store owners, eventually the blame shifted from the one answering the phone to the one dialing it. 

Once this was the case, I began to see there are infinite routes to, “Yes”, but that some are better than others when long-term client relationships are the goal. I started to learn the power of inflection and tone when dealing with different personality types, and I certainly became comfortable with rejection. Perhaps most importantly, though, I discovered there is no such thing as a flawless cold call script. Each call, rather, is unique and requires special attention; it would be much simpler if there were an algorithm for the script for cold calling, but alas there is not. 

With that being the case, I realize now more than ever the importance of active listening as a sales development representative. Take the advice of Stephen Covey, seeking first to understand before being understood. Practice listening patiently and thoughtfully to your customers, and you might find, like I have, that the weather turns in your favor.

Victoria Zamitalo

Campaign Manager

Victoria received a BA in History and Economics from the University of Florida in May 2023. She is a driven sales professional with over 5 years combined experience in customer service, consumer relations and outbound sales, and is deeply passionate about fostering close relationships between consumers and sellers. She aims to train the next generation of sales professionals in not only the tricks of the trade, but also interpersonal skills that make sales the exciting and ever-changing industry that it is.

Mia Semel

Campaign Manager

Before graduating with a B.A. in Sustainability Studies, Mia took on multiple roles while interning at The Selling Factory, including sales development, recruiting, and leading campaigns. She is an active listener and effective communicator, specializing in fostering genuine connections and finding common ground among differing perspectives. She aims to find practical, creative solutions regarding sustainable development, biodiversity and the climate crisis.

Kira Grieve

Senior Campaign Manager

Kira graduated from the University of Florida and received her Master of Science in Entrepreneurship. She is passionate about helping businesses grow and connecting with new people. Some of her hobbies include traveling and hiking. She hopes to visit all of the National Parks one day!

Jared Glosser

Vice President

After graduating from UF in 2014 with a B.A. in history, Jared started his professional career Fundraising for a non-partisan political lobby in South Florida. In 2016, Jared moved back to Gainesville to work for a non-profit, recruit students for international travel opportunities, and pursue his MBA at UF. Jared has been with The Selling Factory since 2019 focusing on operations, client onboarding, and client success.

Ian Massenburg

Chief Operating Officer

A graduate of University of Florida (B.A. 2001), Ian Massenburg brings over 18 years of sales executive and sales management experience to The Selling Factory. Before coming on-board, Ian worked alongside Brad at Infinite Energy, and then spent his next 3 years as VP of Partnerships selling SaaS products B2B. Ian brings his vast knowledge and experience to the team and to our partner companies served.

Damien Paulk

Campaign Manager

Damien is a University of Florida graduate that recently joined the team full time after working as a Sales Development Intern for one year. As a Campaign Manager, Damien looks forward to contributing to the growth and success of The Selling Factory. When Damien is not at work he enjoys exploring Gainesville with his girlfriend and dog or watching the Gators dominate college football.

Brendan Viehman

Campaign Manager

Brendan graduated from Liberty University with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration and Project Management. For the past 5 years, he has enjoyed working with blockchain technology and cryptocurrency development. In his free time, he surfs and makes personal finance videos for his YouTube channel.

Savannah Howard

Campaign Manager

A graduate from the University of Florida’s College of Journalism and Communications, Savannah obtained her Bachelor of Science in public relations with a concentration in French. After almost two years as a sales development intern for The Selling Factory, she joined the leadership team in 2021 taking on the role of Campaign Manager. In her free time, Savannah enjoys going to concerts and festivals and cooking for her friends and family.

Zack Kampf

Campaign Manager

Zack is a creative technologist with experience in advertising, event planning, and game design. He started as an SDR in 2018 and has been with TSF ever since. Upon graduating UF in 2019 he became a campaign manager and is currently seeking a master's degree from NYU. In his spare time, you can find him at the intersection of Art & Technology!

Josiah Blakemore

Growth Manager

Josiah has over 10 years of sales experience, worked with Brad and Ian at Infinite Energy, and also spent time selling SaaS as Director of Partnerships at SharpSpring. He’s always been very competitive and has a love for sports and games. He enjoys solving problems and coaching team members to do the same!

Sue-Ming Frauenhofer

Marketing Manager

Sue-Ming received both her B.S. in Psychology and M.S. in Management from The University of Florida. As a student, she took on multiple roles while interning at The Selling Factory, including sales development, marketing, and recruiting, eventually leading to her current role as Marketing Manager. She enjoys refining her taste in music and visual art, engaging in mindfulness and meditative practices, and frolicking outside with her sidekick pup.

Adam Grossman

Chief Development Officer

Adam is an ordained rabbi, who has founded multiple ventures focused on workforce development. Hired as CEO by a failing non-profit, in over 5 years, his ingenuity saved the organization, which led to recognize it as one of North America’s most innovative Jewish non-profits. His expertise to identify, cultivate, and on-board talent ensures our student teams meet our partners’ needs.

Brad Gamble

Chief Executive Officer

After graduating from UF in 1999 with a B.S.B.A, Brad Gamble has dedicated himself to sales management, branding, coaching, and building companies. He served as the VP of Sales & Marketing for Infinite Energy until 2014, when he founded The Selling Factory. He has dedicated himself to teaching critical skills to tomorrow’s leaders, and helping companies achieve sales success and revenue growth.