Cold calling is usually much more productive as a way of prospecting for leads than it is in making the actual sales. In sales skills terminology, "prospecting" often means looking for industrial parks and the like, then doing a quick sweep in order to rapidly scan and flush out potential prospects. 71811
In those sweeps, you speak briefly with the receptionist or secretary to make a quick determination of whether it is worth calling back to see the Decision Maker.
Just what information you are looking for at this early stage of your search for viable leads will vary with your product and the market.
While these sweeps are, technically-speaking, cold-calls, the purpose is more to gather useful information: information you will draw from later in determining whether to come back here, with an appointment, as well as what kinds of questions to ask and information to present.
The checklist below is a starting point; adapt it to your own uses.
Checklist: The Kinds of Information to be Looking for When Cold Calling
1. What the organization does. Not every company or agency name is clear. "Automatex" may not give a clue to whether or not the firm can use your product. Governmental agencies can be even more obscure. Whenever I pass the local "Human Services Center", the image comes to me of humans up on racks getting their air filters changed.
2. How large the organization is may be relevant in some situations.
3. Whether this is the headquarters or a branch operation of another organization. Depending on your product and its cost, buying decisions might only be made at the headquarters office.
4. If possible, the name of the key Decision Maker within this prospect firm. The guard or receptionist may or may not know.
5. The exact address and phone number of this office, so you can easily check back later.