He never used the phone. Surprisingly, he was very self-conscious of rejection...on the phone, that is. However, he was relentless when it came to meeting prospects through "cold-walking."
He didn't call it "cold-walking." He referred to the process as simply "making calls." He targeted business owners within the radius of his sales geography, Youngstown, OH. He would make 30-40 calls weekly. Although he was very successful at making it through the gate-keeper the first time, he was often turned away. The prospect of this sort of rejection never bothered him. In fact, he would always return to the businesses that rejected him. He would count on the sympathy of the screener, who would begin to feel pity towards Ben...when the business owner refused to see him on the first, second, or even third attempt.
Ben always did his research before he made his calls. He never called on a business without knowing who the business owner, or the key personnel, were. To gather this information, he used Dun & Bradstreet...which gave him this information, as well as data on the size, and financial health, of the company.
For salespersons who are cold-walking these days, another good reference source is Reference USA. Reference USA is available at many public libraries, and has a comprehensive database that lists all businesses, public and private, in North America.
If you are cold-walking, a useful feature of Reference USA is the ability to identify all businesses within a certain radius. For example, if you are calling on Acme Tool in Keokuk, Iowa (Actually there is no Acme Tool in Keokuk...but there is one in Denver, CO.) But, hypothetically, if there was an Acme Tool in Keokuk, and you were calling on it...you could use Reference USA to find all other businesses within a certain radius. I believe you are allowed to find all businesses up to a 20-mile radius...and as low as 1/10th of a mile.
Armed with this information, the enterprising salesperson could drop in on businesses within the area (without calling beforehand), or alternatively, call one of the business-owners close to Acme Tool and say, "I was going to be in your area tomorrow visiting John Dough at Acme Tool. If you had 5 minutes, I'd love the chance to stop by and introduce myself."
Of course, if you were Ben Feldman, you wouldn't even bother calling ahead...but we are not all Ben Feldman.
Hope this helps. Ciao!