Jan 012007

Unimpressive Book From An Impressive Salesperson


Achieving sales greatness without cold calling might be a looked-for goal in sales circles – although greatness is hell of a subjective term – but Never Cold Call Again is ultimately contradictory in content, immaterial to enterprise sales and poorly written and constructed.
Setting aside the author’s weak command of the English language, including but not limited to poor grammar, redundant and numerous superlatives and misuse of pronouns, what is more germane to the average reader is how Frank Rumbauskas begins with one premise and quickly proceeds to negate it. Firstly though, it is clear that Rumbauskas is better suited and more experienced at low figure sales. Some of his general advice might just be relevant to selling vacuums, low cost service or sub-$1000 telephone systems, but will not travel beyond to larger enterprise sales. One can cite his advice to include one’s telephone number and e-mail address in fax-back forms on page 59 as one example. Who is this book aimed at? Furthermore, miscellaneous advice, like pretending to be in a prospect’s area (naturally while calling the person on the phone as described on page 63) dressing up as a form of subterfuge or impersonating one’s executive assistant (again on page 63 – the author suggests giving this script to a fellow or a telemarketer: “Good morning. I’m an executive assistant with the office of Frank Rumbauskas. I’m pleased to inform you…”) is plain wrong and immoral.

It is prose like this, which disparages the sales profession in the eyes of millions.

At its core, the author’s assertion that individual cold calls are a waste of time and his advocacy for the concept of leverage are sane. He advocates a variety of marketing activities as a superior alternative to cold calling. These include e-mail newsletter, direct mail, fax blasts (when was the last time you were persuaded to make a large figure purchase based on a fax – the kind of which piles up on any company’s fax machine routinely…) and flyering for executive lunches. Aside from snags like how that last technique again hints at the book’s readers’ target market (what sort of an executive will attend a roundtable in order to take advantage of a free $5 lunch? – page 93: your flyer should say, “ABC restaurant, compliments of us…” or page 92: “the free lunch was key” and more) some of the practices detailed go against the writer’s own advice not to engage in one on one marketing. After all, flyers sent to cars or offices are presumably delivered one at a time as described by the author’s `cold walk’ technique (page 60 – “I’d walk through the door, hand my flyer…” – imagine getting an enterprise sale that way!!). That is the book’s main paradox. Moreover, the author’s assumption that all prospects and industries deserve a similar approach is plain asinine – which they do not in the context of sales larger than, say, $100.

Rumbauskas’ book deserves kudos for focusing on the concept of leverage and time management, challenging conventional thinking and being forthright. His contradictions and less than honest advice lose him a star as does his digression into actual sales techniques and page after page of redundant and repetitious subject matter. Other reviewers have pointed it out, but it bears repeating that the author consistently contradicts himself and (hopefully) does not even realize it.

Ultimately, Never Cold Call Again: Achieve Sales Greatness Without Cold Calling would have been better as a magazine article which was also supported by some empirical supporting data. Yet, and despite that, Rumbauskas is still a good salesperson. Why? I purchased his book despite all that.

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