Cold calling best practices refer to the tried and tested tactics successful sales professionals use when reaching out to prospects. Cold calling is still the most effective way to reach out directly to prospects, but it can be tricky for many sales professionals.
That’s why you need to understand the best practices for cold calling to maximize your return on investment and ensure success for your cold calling efforts.
Let’s be frank; most of us are intimidated by cold calls. Each phone call is unique, making it simultaneously stimulating and petrifying. That’s precisely why we’ve collected 12 verified and effective cold calling best practices to assist you every step of the way.
What Is Cold Calling?
Before delving into cold calling best practices, let’s brush up on the basics.
Cold calling is a sales technique requiring reps to call potential or unknown customers to sell them a product or service. We can all agree it’s no easy feat: attempting to quickly engage complete strangers and successfully pitch your product before they hang up on you. Not exactly fun stuff! It takes loads of determination and resilience to do this day after day without fail.
But if done right, cold calling can be an incredibly powerful tool. Cold callers must remember that they are selling a service and not hard-selling potential leads into buying something from them.
Cold calling is about providing value to prospects, listening to their needs, and finding ways to help them meet their goals with your solution.
12 Cold Calling Best Practices That Work
Below are the cold calling best practices that every sales professional should apply to their outreach campaigns:
1. Research Your Prospects
Before any calls, it’s essential that you research your prospects. Even if the prospects who answer your calls are unfamiliar with you, taking time to learn about them and their organization helps you build a connection.
Explore their LinkedIn profiles, company websites, social media accounts, or your CRM for previous engagements to gain better insights into potential prospects.
Additionally, be prepared to explain how your product or service can alleviate their problems. Try to empathize with their circumstances and genuinely understand them, as this builds trust.
When you neglect to do your prep work, it will be quite obvious and can easily alienate the person on the other end of the call. Not having a real interest in their time shows that you don’t value them or their contribution – something that any company would want to avoid.
2. Create An Outline About What You Will Say
The main goal of a cold call isn’t to push sales immediately. You are simply attempting to secure a meeting with the person you’re calling at a future date.
So, it only makes sense to ensure that your cold call should address the following questions:
- Who are you?
- What makes your offering unique and beneficial for me?
- Why should I grant you this favor or purchase what you’re selling?
- And finally, what do you want from me in return?
Preparing a cold call script will ensure you know exactly what to say, allowing you to keep focused and succinct. Take a few moments to create a brief (30 seconds or less) cold call script that you can refer to on the phone.
This is not meant for memorization but rather as an aid in helping you communicate effectively and confidently. And spend at least 1-2 hours going through your call list to ensure you’re targeting the right prospects.
3. Practice Makes Perfect
Cold calling is a skill, and the only way to master it is through practice. Cold calling can be difficult during the first few rounds, but with every attempt, you’ll be getting better at it. Don’t let early failures discourage you.
The best way to practice is by first doing mock calls with your colleagues or friends before making real cold calls. This will help build up your confidence and improve the quality of your call.
Once you have a few successful cold calls under your belt, increase the number gradually until it becomes second nature.
4. Be Cautious With Cold Calling Hours
Timing is of the utmost importance when it comes to cold calling. Before making your calls, decide on the best time to call potential clients. Cold calling days and hours should be chosen accordingly.
For example, the best times to cold call are between 9 am – 4 pm, and 10 am to 2 pm are considered prime cold-calling times as they tend to have more favorable response rates.
Cold calling at lunch or in the early morning on Fridays is not recommended since people are usually occupied with other affairs during those hours.
5. Be Courteous & Don’t Waste Their Time
Cold callers should always remain polite and friendly when speaking with potential prospects. Cold calling can be seen as intrusive, so keeping a friendly and professional tone throughout the call is important.
Be sure to use people’s names, maintain a polite attitude, and always thank them for their time, even if they decline your offer. Cold calling should be seen as an opportunity to build relationships with potential clients rather than just selling something.
Always be mindful of people’s time. When making cold calls, ensure the conversation is concise and to the point so that it does not exceed a few minutes. Don’t let your enthusiasm lead you into talking too quickly or for too long – keep the dialogue succinct yet meaningful.
6. Determine The Number Of Calls Necessary To Reach Your Quota
Are you aware of how many cold calls you need to make to meet your sales goals this month? Cold calling is not a one-time event and requires consistent follow-ups to gauge the success of your campaign.
To ensure you achieve desired results, it’s important to set goals for how many cold calls you will be making daily and determine what kind of outcomes you’d like from those calls regarding securing meetings or making sales.
Doing so will help you figure out what’s working and what isn’t in your cold calling campaign, allowing you to make necessary adjustments as needed.
7. Craft An Attention-Grabbing Opening Sentence
The first few seconds of a cold call are crucial. The opening line should be attention-grabbing and relevant to the customer. Studies show you’ve got a mere 10 seconds to demonstrate your value, so make yourself stand out from other callers.
Introduce yourself and then seize the opportunity to personalize your conversation by sharing with them the information you have gathered about their business.
For instance, you can appreciate some of their recent accomplishments in their personal or professional lives you came across when researching.
Some examples of good opening statements may be:
“I saw your post regarding _____,”
“Your management of ______ is impressive,”
“Congratulations on ______!”
“Fascinating insights on ______.”
8. Don’t Get Demotivated From Rejection
Cold calling is a long game; most people must make multiple calls before closing a sale. Cold calling is not for everyone, so it’s important to remain focused and motivated after each round of rejection.
Rejection can be a tough pill to swallow, and the psychological sting of it is often more excruciating than physical pain.
That said, successful salespeople don’t wallow in their misfortunes but instead move on to the next call immediately. Cold calling is all about staying persistent and patient until you find success.
9. Reduce Distractions & Remain Focused During The Call
Having a clean and organized workspace is essential for successful cold calling. Cold calling requires intense focus and concentration, so it’s important that you minimize any potential distractions in the room or on your computer.
To get the most out of cold calling, turn off your phone and close your office door to avoid distractions from co-workers or social media notifications. Before diving in, have a cup of coffee to stay sharp throughout the process.
Participate actively, and ask questions as needed, yet stay focused on the main objective. Take notes to ensure that you are organized and remember your end goal throughout the conversation.
10. Practice Saying “Talking With,” Instead Of “Speaking To”
Successful cold callers know how to capture the attention of their prospects quickly, and one great way to do that is by using language that resonates with them.
Cold calling is all about having a conversation, so use phrases like “talking with” or “chatting with” instead of simply saying “speaking to.”
“Speaking to” connotes a unilateral message; it implies that you will transmit your views regardless of whether or not the audience desires to hear them.
11. Put Your Audience First, Not Yourself
Cold calls are all about listening more and talking less. Said that Cold calling should be centered around the customer. After all, it is about forming connections and ensuring your prospects feel heard and in charge of the discussion.
You should provide your prospects with valuable information without trying to sell them anything hastily or forcefully.
When you put the spotlight on your prospect, it’s a win-win situation for both of you. They get to engage in conversations about themselves — their favorite subject — while simultaneously gaining your undivided attention, which is sure to be impactful.
If a prospect is asking questions, you can view that as a positive sign. It indicates their involvement and helps you comprehend what they’re looking for and whether your product or service suits their needs.
12. Leave A Voicemail
Finally, the last cold calling best practice we will discuss is voicemail. Don’t hesitate to leave a voicemail if you don’t receive an immediate response from your prospect.
With cold calls, it’s all about creating a lasting impression and introducing yourself in such as way that compels them to return your call. Ensure your message is brief (no more than 20-30 seconds) and clearly states who you are and what you’re offering.
Cold calling is not only a great way to make sales, but it also allows you to build relationships and connections. To ensure your message leaves a lasting impression in someone else’s inbox, always end your voicemail with genuine gratitude for their attention and enthusiasm while anticipating hearing from them soon.
By adhering to these cold calling best practices, you will be able to maximize your return on investment and ensure success for your cold calling efforts. Share these cold calling strategies with your sales team and review them before continuing. Evaluate how these perform, and identify which works best for you. Discard those that don’t, and keep experimenting with new tactics to continually improve overall performance.