5 Cold Calling Strategies You Need to Know (Backed By Science)
For many people, dialing a cold call has the opposite effect: it sets you into a sweat.
Without proven cold calling strategies, you’re thrown into the deep end as soon as you hear “hello” on the other end of the line.
You’ve intruded on someone else’s time and you have ten seconds to prove your value.
You’re acutely aware that, as soon as you transition into your pitch, you risk being rudely hung up on, told “no thanks,” or politely allowed to continue without the person really even listening.
But there are quick, actionable cold calling strategies that actually reduce your stress and transform cold calls into warm ones. Here are five ways to boost your confidence and score more meetings.
1. Smile and Dial
Next time you go to pick up the phone, hold a smile for at least twenty seconds, whether you’re in a call room or at your desk.
While it may seem silly at first, recent research suggests that wearing a smile – genuine or not – brings certain benefits that can help reluctant cold callers:
Reduce stress. University of Kansas researchers found that smiling during a stressful situation can lower heart rates and reduce stress response.
- Lowers your heart rate. Even just holding your mouth in a way that resembles a smile (participants in an experiment were asked to hold a chopstick horizontally in their mouth) is effective.
Builds rapport. Smiling affects how we speak, to the point where listeners on the other line can pick up on your facial expressions and even identify the type of smile based on sound alone. When they hear you smile, science tells us that it’s only a matter of time before the brain’s mirror neurons fire up, creating the ‘feel good’ sensation in their own mind that’s associated with smiling.
Bonus benefit: Allowing your internal emotions reflect on your face intensifies them, so punctuating your cold calling pitch with smiles can make you feel happier throughout the day.
2. Stand Like Superman
Research by social psychologist Amy Cuddy shows that body language matters, even if the person on the other line can’t see you. Standing in a power position— feet apart, hands on hips— for two minutes is an effective cold calling strategy that will:
Increase testosterone levels (increases confidence)
Decrease cortisol levels (decreases stress)
This also holds true when you’re seated at a desk. Sitting up straight rather than slouching can help you feel in control and wipe away feelings of nervousness.
3. Phone a Friend
This next cold calling tactic comes straight from Yesware CEO, Matthew Bellows:
Bring a snapshot of the person you love most in the world to work, and tape it to your computer monitor. The next time you’re waiting for your prospect to pick up, pretend you’re calling the person in the photo instead.
If you’re a no-pictures-at-the-desk kind of person, or you’re dialing from a call room, a quick scroll of your Facebook photos or camera roll can do the trick.
Why it works: Looking at a photo of a loved one not only makes you feel happier, but it can also relieve pain, put you at ease, and make you less susceptible to anxiety.
4. Speak Only One or Two Sentences At A Time
This cold calling technique is straightforward but often overlooked. Studies show that the brain can only hang onto 20-30 seconds of information at any given time. By that measure, your prospect will likely only retain 30 seconds of a fifteen minute conversation.
Keep it short and sweet. Rather than overwhelm a stranger with information or industry-specific terminology, speak clearly and stick to high-level explanations.
If your prospect starts asking for specific information, you’ll know they’re interested in learning more. Take this opportunity to set up a meeting when they can discuss any questions in more depth.
5. Lean Into Rejection (Yes, It’s a Cold Calling Strategy)
Are you comfortable with rejection?
For a cold calling salesperson, the answer should always be “yes.” The key to cold call success is your ability to take rejection as a form of motivation.
For example, instead of aiming for a set number of “yes’s” per day, Management Consultant Robert D. Smith decided to chase down “no’s.” Most days, Smith said, he wouldn’t be able to meet his desired number of “no’s,” because he kept getting too many “yes’s.”
Focusing on “no” has a doubly positive effect: it allows you to increase your sales pipeline velocity, thereby improving your sales performance.
That’s all for cold calling strategies this time around. What about you? Any tips that you’d like to share with your peers?