Is ChatGPT a Cold Calling Friend or Foe?
Snakes. Taxes. Root canals. Cold calling. Some words and phrases just have a way of producing a visceral reaction.
Many people have experienced the following scenario: you’ve just sat down for dinner, the phone rings, you answer with a “hello" and receive no answer, you say “hello” again and then are greeted by someone who may or may not say your name correctly inquiring about something you’re almost certainly not interested in. You’ve just been cold called.
With the advent of strategies such as email marketing and social (media) selling, some companies have abandoned the practice, but others still rely on it as a primary strategy. But for this blog, their opinions don’t matter.
The real question is: does ChatGPT dig cold calling?
Time to bombard ChatGPT with some “cold calls” of my own!
Step 1: Asking Basic Questions
Prompt: “Is cold calling a good strategy?”
Let’s get right down to business and see where ChatGPT stands.
ChatGPT certainly does not give a ringing endorsement of the practice here, but it’s not a straight up “no!”. ChatGPT believes it can be effective if the product is good, the call is well executed, and the audience is the right one. In both responses, ChatGPT notes the disruptive or annoying nature of the strategy.
So, as a baseline, ChatGPT doesn’t seem to believe cold calling is awesome, or anywhere near it.
Prompt: “What are the pros and cons of cold calling?”
Let’s give ChatGPT a chance to talk about both the good and bad of cold calling marketing strategies. Since I’m not asking for a specific amount of pros or cons, it will be telling to see which it gives more of.
In both answers, ChatGPT found it necessary to include one additional con…subliminal suggestion?
ChatGPT appreciates the fact that cold calling is essentially free, gives direct access to customers, and allows for the fine-tuning of a pitch in real time. On the flip side, ChatGPT notes the inevitable low response rate, privacy concerns, the negative connotation of a cold call, and the lack of current technology involved (outdated approach).
Again, it appears that although ChatGPT doesn’t outright hate cold calling, it certainly doesn't believe it to be optimal.
Prompt: “Is cold calling more effective as a primary strategy or more effective as a supporting strategy?”
This prompt is slightly different because it presupposes that cold calling is a worthwhile strategy, but leaves it up to ChatGPT to determine just how worthwhile. Let’s see if it nudges ChatGPT to warm up to cold calling.
These answers highlight why it’s always good to give ChatGPT several differently worded prompts when seeking answers. Whereas past prompts gave the impression that ChatGPT wasn’t a big fan of cold calling, these two answers would give the opposite impression. If someone used only this prompt to gauge ChatGPT’s opinion of cold calling, it would come across as a cold calling advocate.
Although the prompt set up ChatGPT to give a more favorable response to cold calling, it left the door open to only favor it as a secondary strategy, which ChatGPT did not go for. ChatGPT believed that depending on the target audience, product, and specific goals of a company, that cold calling could be effective as either a primary or secondary strategy.
Prompt: “Why is ‘Is cold calling dead?’ a popular question?”
Basically the opposite of the last question. This question is loaded with anti-cold calling language. Instead of just asking, ‘is cold calling dead?’, it tells ChatGPT that it’s a popular question and then asks why.
By stating that the question is popular instead of asking if cold calling is dead, we get an overwhelmingly negative view of cold calling from ChatGPT. It cites newer alternative methods, caller ID, and efficiency as reasons for the decline of cold calling.
Also, in the second answer, ChatGPT states, “many sales professionals have moved away from cold calling as their primary strategy”, which is interesting because in the previous question, which asked directly about primary strategies, this was not mentioned.
The lesson? How you prompt is important. You get out what you put in. If you want a truly objective answer, double check your question for any inherent biases in its language or wording.
Step 2: Questions Which Dig a Little Deeper
Prompt: “Email marketing vs cold calling: which is more effective?”
In previous answers, ChatGPT has hinted at better alternatives to cold calling. Let’s see if it sticks to that script here.
These answers now have me convinced that ChatGPT has, at the very least, a soft spot for cold calling. This prompt was set up for ChatGPT to rain down condemnation on cold calling when compared to the much more updated strategy of email campaigns. It didn’t come anywhere close to doing so.
ChatGPT extolled the benefits of both, and noted that a good strategy involved a combination of the two. Is ChatGPT secretly a cold calling fan after all?
Side note: for all things email marketing, make sure you check out Jay Schwedelson
Prompt: “Are there any legal concerns regarding cold calling?”
ChatGPT mentioned “privacy” as a concern in a previous answer. Let’s see if it thinks it could possibly be illegal in some circumstances.
ChatGPT lays out a whole host of possible legal concerns including the Telephone Consumer Protection Act and the Telemarketing Sales Rule. It’s interesting that ChatGPT only vaguely hinted at privacy concerns without mentioning these when asked for the cons of cold calling in an earlier prompt.
Prompt: “What conversion rate percentage is considered good for cold calling? How does this compare to other marketing strategies?”
This prompt is similar to a recent one which asked for a comparison between the effectiveness of cold calling and email marketing, but this time I’m going to ask for a specific metric in the response.
Important tip: the more specific you are with your prompting, the more specific the answers will be.
When asked earlier about the effectiveness of cold calling compared to email marketing, ChatGPT acted like it was all the same, but now it admits that the conversion rate can be 10 times higher for email marketing.
However, ChatGPT notes in both answers that cold calling can be effective when done right, going so far as to call it “valuable”. I’m pretty convinced ChatGPT has a crush on cold calling.
Prompt: “What traits make a person a good cold caller? Can these be learned?”
This is a roundabout way of asking if cold calling is an easy strategy for a company to put together. Does ChatGPT think you need very specific, inherent traits that can't be taught through training to do cold calling well? If so, then it’s not really a viable marketing strategy.
ChatGPT lists several traits and states they can all be learned. The only exception is empathy, which it says can be improved. Nothing in the answers suggests ChatGPT thinks cold calling is a bad idea.
Step 3: Fun Questions
Prompt: “Produce a short example of a well executed cold call”
If ChatGPT indeed views cold calling as a worthwhile strategy, here’s its chance to show us how, not just tell us. Cold calling tips here we come.
We’ll just go with one example here since it was fairly long, but ChatGPT clearly believes a good cold call is clear, concise, and professional. A few observations:
- The caller introduces themselves and the company
- The caller asks for permission to speak
- The caller briefly explains the benefits of their services
- The caller asks for a follow-up call, which shows that they are serious about their offer and wants to build a relationship with the potential customer
Prompt: “Produce a short example of a poorly executed cold call”
Here’s ChatGPT’s chance to show companies that if they are doing any of the following things in their calls, they are not not executing cold calling well, rendering it an ineffective strategy. Cold calling script from h*ll in 3...2...1...
ChatGPT illustrates some of the poor techniques that are often used in cold calling:
- The caller failed to properly introduce themselves
- The caller immediately jumped into trying to sell their product
- The caller disregarded the receiver's clear disinterest and attempted to persist with the sales pitch, potentially annoying the receiver
Prompt: “Use a limerick to answer: If I’m starting a company today, should I use cold calling?”
Besides the prompt “Is cold calling a good strategy”, this may give the clearest answer on how ChatGPT feels about cold calling. Bonus: limericks are fun.
The love that I thought was blossoming between ChatGPT and cold calling appears to have come to an abrupt end. In the examples, ChatGPT chides cold calling as outdated and a strategy that repels potential customers. At no point did it have anything good to say.
Prompt: “Try to convince me that cold calling is either good or bad, but do it with the intensity of Noah from the “it’s not over” scene from The Notebook.”
ChatGPT has waffled back and forth between endorsing and dismissing cold calling as a viable strategy. Here’s one final chance for it to tell us how it really feels.
I don’t want to regenerate the response because it would ruin the finality of the prompt. So there it is, when it really comes down to it, ChatGPT believes cold calling is a “tried and true method of generating leads.” Love affair confirmed.
The Final Word
Given the prompts and answers above, it’s reasonable to say that ChatGPT believes cold calling to be a good strategy. However, it cautions that it must be well-executed, target the right audience, properly address pain points, and promote a good product or service. It appears cold calling just won't die as even AI is unwilling to wholeheartedly dismiss it.