No two calls are the same, which makes the experience exciting and, at times, frightening.
This is exactly why we’ve gathered 25 research-backed and easy to implement cold calling tips to help you every step of the way.
These tips cover four main areas of cold calling: preparation and prospecting, the best time to make your cold calls, turning your calls into meetings, and techniques to follow when you’re on the call.
Our 5 Favorite Cold Calling Tips
Pro Tip: Follow-up Quickly — Calling prospects right after they’ve opened your email can result in a 32% higher connect rate. This tool tells you when they open — in real-time.
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9 Ways to Prepare for Your Cold Call
1. Research, Research, Research
Researching your prospect should be a pre-call ritual.
By tracking down key information about them, you can deliver calls with value and keep their attention. Without research, you appear selfish by showing zero investment in the person on the other end of the phone. Your prospects will appreciate the extra effort made with personalization and will open up to better conversation.
Pre-call research also helps you enter the conversation with a better vision and have a tailored message from the get-go.
Here’s a checklist to help you get started:
Thorough research will also ensure you connect with the decision-maker in the organization you’re reaching out to.
2. Write an Outline of What You Want to Say
Write up a quick (30 seconds or less) cold call script that you can reference on the phone. The idea isn’t to read from this verbatim but to use it as a guide to help you communicate your message clearly and confidently.
Remember: The goal of a cold call isn’t to pitch to someone on the spot. You’re just trying to get them to commit to a meeting at a later date.
3. Or Steal Cold Calling Scripts From Us
They say that Steve Jobs kept this Pablo Picasso quote close to his heart when he was leading the team that developed the Macintosh computer:
“Good artists copy. Great artists steal.”
We like to think that great salespeople do the same. Save time by stealing these four sales call script templates and then make them your own.
It’s also important to organize your script:
1. Introduction (your name + company)
2. Connecting statement / Reason for calling
Here’s an example of a sales call backed with this type of script:
4. Take 1-2 Hours to Go Through Your Call List
The only thing in front of you should be your call list and script.
Anything else can be a distraction that prevents you from being fully present with the person on the other line.
5. Calculate How Many Calls You Need to Make to Hit Your Goals
Do you know how many cold calls you need to hit your monthly quota?
Use this worksheet to work backward from your goals and pinpoint roughly how many cold calls you need to make each day and in total for the month.
To adapt the spreadsheet for your own use, click here and then File > Make a Copy.
6. Prepare a Strong Opening Sentence
You have ten seconds to prove that you’re worth talking to, so differentiate yourself from other callers. After introducing yourself, turn the focus to your prospect by weaving in your research and personalizing the call.
For example, you could open with a compliment on a recent professional accomplishment you came across through research.
Here are some strong opening sentences about your prospect, not you.
“I saw your post about _____”
“I noticed you manage _____”
“Congratulations on _____”
“Great insights on _____”
“I’m inspired by the work you’ve done on _____”
7. Let Rejection Motivate You
Rejection brings emotional pain.
We can relive and experience social pain more vividly than physical pain, so it’s easy to get discouraged by a bad call.
The best sales reps keep a positive attitude, pick up the phone, and continue learning from their mistakes.
8. Practice Makes Perfect
Never go into a cold call completely, well, cold.
Simply rehearsing what you’re going to say builds confidence which leads to better performance. The more confident you become, the easier cold calling will be.
9. Overcome Call Reluctance
Studies show that 80% of new salespeople fail due to call reluctance. It’s completely normal to feel jittery before a cold call, but with the right measures, you’ll be able to conquer that.
Next time you’re feeling nervous:
- Take Positives Where You Can: Regardless of the outcome, look at every call as a learning experience. Learn from the negatives and embrace what goes right.
- Use Essential Oils: Pick a scent that relays fond memories. Essential oils can trick your mind into moving to a place of positive power.
- Look at a Photo of a Loved One: Seeing someone you love makes you feel happier, relieves pain, and makes you less susceptible to anxiety.
How to Smile and Dial at the Perfect Time
10. Know the Best Times to Make Cold Calls
Weekday afternoons are the best time to make cold calls, according to Yesware’s analysis of over 25,000 sales calls.
The majority of calls lasting over five minutes occur between 3:00-5:00 pm on Tuesdays or Thursdays.
Get notified when recipients read your emails, click links, and view attachments — so you can call when you’re already top of mind. Download a free trial today.
11. Find the Time That Works Best for Your Prospects
Of course, research studies like the one above are great for inspiration — not prescription.
We recommend using Yesware’s data as a starting point to find the cold calling time blocks that work best with your prospects.
There are several different tools out there that help you find your cold call sweet spot by tracking call connects (or you could use an excel sheet to track this manually):
12. Use Trigger Events to Get Your Foot in the Door
If you contact someone right after they sign a contract with your competitor, chances are they won’t bite.
But if you know exactly when they enter the market for a new vendor and reach out before they start the search, your seemingly serendipitous call may be received with much more interest.
The good news is that the secret to perfect timing isn’t really a secret. You can pick up on these opportune moments — known as trigger events — by keeping tabs on publicly available information that surfaces every day across a variety of online channels.
- New executive hires → A new member of the C-suite wants to prove his or her value and may be more open to new ideas than already entrenched business leaders.
- Winning large contracts/large customer announcements → Drop a line to say congratulations.
- Company expansions → A new location or geographic change could be a primary upsell or introduction opportunity.
- Mergers & Acquisitions → If one party is already a customer, this could be a golden opportunity to get your foot in the door and bring in add-on revenue.
- Funding → Your prospect is up to eight times more likely to buy from you after they experience an event where they can afford to change.
- Behavioral indicators → Is your prospect looking at an email you sent? Go get ‘em — you’re more likely to grab their attention while you already have it.
How to Turn Cold Calls Into Booked Meetings
13. Make a Good First Impression by Saying “Talking with,” Instead of “Speaking to”
When you cold call a prospect, the first thing you want to know is that they are in fact the person you’re trying to reach. The way you verify their identity is this person’s first impression of you, so it’s critical to get this right.
Try to use the words “Talking with” when you get someone on the line. These two words imply that you and your prospect are going to be engaging in conversation.
In contrast, “speaking to” describes a one-way action. It suggests that you are going to broadcast your message — whether they want to listen or not.
14. Use The Best Friend Formula to Turn Indecision into Booked Meetings
While it may be tempting to agree to follow up over email (and hop off the call), there’s a better way to give your prospect the information they need to make an informed decision and take a meeting. One that doesn’t involve your message going into a black hole.
This three-part formula helps overcome sales objections by establishing harmony – it reassures people that you’re on their side, like a best friend.
Let’s look at a real-world use case to the sales objection “Email me your information.” Don’t fall for the brush off. Instead, treat the person on the other end of the line like they’re your friend you can relate to, and that you genuinely want to help.
Here’s how Ian Adams used this formula to successfully turn a cold shoulder into a booked meeting:
11 Cold Calling Tips While on the Call
15. Use Social Proof to Influence Behavior
We are easily influenced by other people’s behaviors.
Social proof plays a major role in selling because it shows the prospect that your product has helped other people with similar pain points. Try telling a customer success story of someone who had similar pain points.
16. Keep Your Goal in Mind
Setting goals is proven to increase motivation and having a specific goal in mind can decrease levels of anxiety, disappointment, and frustration.
No matter what your goal is, every action is a step towards achieving it.
17. Ask Open-Ended Questions
By starting your question with ‘who,’ ‘what,’ ‘where,’ ‘when,’ and ‘how,’ you give your prospect more room for response.
Cold calling is a two-sided conversation and you want to learn as much as you can about your prospect, what they do, and their needs. By asking how they feel, you open up more opportunities for discussion.
18. Watch Your Tone of Voice
Research indicates that 38% of spoken communication is comprehended by the tone of voice.
This is the 7-38-55 rule. These are the elements of personal communication — 7% through spoken word, 38% through tone of voice, and 55% through body language.
But when you’re on a sales call, the prospect can’t see your body language, so tone accounts for even more.
Without facial expressions and body cues, you can only convey your points with your words and tone of voice. People respond well to mirroring, so try to match their tone of voice or speech patterns.
19. Don’t Give an Easy Out
Your goal is to keep them on the line, so you shouldn’t open with: “Is now a bad time?” Stick with personalized statements that will keep them on the line instead of encouraging them to hang up.
20. Lead with Them, Not You
Fact: People spend 60% of their time talking about themselves. Self-disclosure produces a burst of activity in neural regions associated with pleasure, motivation, and reward.
Keeping the focus on your prospect works wonders for both parties: your prospect gets to talk about their favorite topic (themselves) and you can gain their attention in interesting, unique ways.
This is one of the simple cold calling tips: Don’t just talk at them.
Listening is an easy way to build trust because it makes a person feel valued and it can give you the opportunity to learn more about their needs and concerns.
In fact, studies show that top sales professionals speak 43% of the time and the prospect speaks for 57% of the time.
Follow up your cold call with a live customizable meeting link that syncs to your Google or Outlook calendar. Download a free trial today.
22. Don’t Waste Their Time
Remember: When you’re cold calling, you’re essentially intruding on someone’s day.
You have about ten seconds to prove your value and run the risk of getting hung up on. By proving that you value your prospect’s time by applying research, engaging in conversation, and keeping the call brief, you earn respect.
23. Stay on Track Throughout the Call
It’s easy to get lost in the shuffle of a cold call.
Engage, ask questions, but remember to stay on topic. Take notes, stay organized, and remember your ultimate purpose.
24. Keep It Positive
Positive thinking is scientifically-proven to build your skills, boost your health, and improve your work.
Much like overcoming rejection, don’t let defeat (or negative thinking) get the best of you. Every mistake you make is an opportunity to learn and do a better job in the future.
25. Leave a Voicemail
Think of it as an audio email, and keep it to 20-30 seconds. Don’t worry about a reply; just focus on continuing to nurture your prospect’s trust in you.
At the beginning of your voicemail, insert your connecting statement (after you say who’s calling) then end with a note that triggers curiosity.
Let’s look at an example.
The voicemail script below combines a trifecta of persuasion techniques:
- Social proof
- A metric that makes the value statement more compelling
- A closing statement that sparks curiosity and is scientifically proven to drive action.
Review these cold calling tips before going into your next call.
Then measure the success of each.
See which techniques work best for you, which don’t, and keep trying new strategies for continuous improvement.
Hungry for more? Access our 2021 Definitive Guide to Cold Calling (Backed By Research and Data).