Dec 13, 2018 | Sales Best Practices

12 Top Tips for Better, Faster, Stronger Cold Calls

Audrey Weber, Associate Editor, Social Media Maven's Avatar

Audrey Weber, Associate Editor, Social Media Maven

It takes epic effort to make countless cold calls every day. If sales pros could do without it, they gladly would. But even with the widespread use of email, texting, and social media messaging, the phone call retains its status as an effective and crucial channel for engaging potential buyers.

Without behavioral change (more on this later), loving cold calls would be impossible unless you’re an outlier (read: borderline crazy). 

But the thing is, even though you may not like cold calling, you sure can get really good at it. Consistent practice, the right technology, and the perfect tactics can turn you into a cold calling pro.  

But why stop there? Why not go even further, even have fun with it? In the timeless words of electronic music legend Daft Punk, working it and doing it makes us “harder, better, faster, and stronger.”

So, no. Cold calling is not dead. It’s dancing.

And here are a dozen tips to get you in the mood.

More than 10 Actionable Cold Calling Tips

1. Match the buyer’s rhythm

In a customer-centric universe, failure happens when you overlook the things your buyer cares about.

When you research the account you’re calling into, work it harder to really discover their world and probe their problems.

Re-prioritize your focus from what you can offer to what the customer wants to solve. Consider things from their vantage point and maybe, you can get into their groove.

2. Be a problem solver, not a pain source

Quotas are important benchmarks, but they shouldn’t dictate how you engage potential buyers.

Thinking strongly about making a sale in a cold call will inevitably reflect in your tone and behavior, which in turn can cause the other person on the line to perceive you as pesky or predatory.

When doing cold calls, replace the thought that you are selling something with a mindset that you are genuinely trying to help and solve problems.

Your prospect has a problem and you’re trying to make it better.

3. Get into the beat with tech

We are well into the digital age where software powered by AI, data science, and machine learning help make selling a lot easier and the sales process more efficient.

Let a Sales Engagement platform do all the tedious tasks and perform the heavy lifting, so you can do it faster and focus on building valuable human connections with your customers.

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4. Roll with the punches 

Expect and embrace rejection. This is sales after all and getting shut down — sometimes rudely — makes up a good chunk of a working day. 

Dreading cold calls for fear of rejection tends to reduce the number — and undermine the effectiveness — of your attempts. 

Instead of taking rejections personally, treat them as an opportunity to improve and move on. What doesn’t kill us makes us stronger. 

5. Have a clear objective for the call, but don’t expect anything 

Cold calls are so named because responses are rarely warm. Think of cold calling as a launch pad for “warming up” the prospect. 

 Ditch the sales pitch. Instead, focus on exploration, discovery, and learning. 

6. Dance with the right partner

Getting the right decision maker or influencer on the line cannot be exaggerated. If you’re not talking to someone who fits your buyer persona or ideal customer profile (ICP), then you’re wasting precious time and effort on something that is unlikely to produce value. Speak to the right person and you will save resources and reduce rejection!

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7. Strike the right chords with the perfect messaging

When you pick up the phone, you are offering specific solutions that solve your customer’s unique problems.

To make prospects realize that you want to help them, your message should strongly resonate with their specific situations.

Review and refine your message for each customer to heighten its relevance and impact, for example:

  • Match your language and tone with the specific buyer persona
  • Scripts are great but you need to improvise once in a while. (conduct A/B tests to see what works best in certain situations)
  • Avoid using terms such as “just,” “honestly,” “I think,” etc., that undermine your case and authenticity

8. Be honest

You can craft the best message that resonates with the customer’s needs, but if you compromise on honesty then you risk breaking a trust-based relationship.

It is better to admit that your solution does not fully address a specific problem than to claim that it does just to move the conversation where you want it to go.   

When you break your customer’s trust, everyone loses. When you are honest and build a relationship based on honesty and communication, everyone wins!

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9. Be natural

With the introduction of annoying sales bots, showing that you are a real human is the most important thing more than ever.

You are not a robot, so don’t talk or read the script like one.

While AI-driven assistants like Siri and Alexa are great, customers still prefer human advisors when they need to solve complex business problems.

Be yourself, breath naturally, and laugh genuinely when humor graces the interaction. Always try to be pleasant and warm, like the real human that you are.  

10. Find the sweet spot between quantity and quality

As explained by bestselling author and B2B sales trainer Rex Biberston, the right technologies and practices will help you strike a balance between making as many cold calls as you can and making only the calls that matter.

Because time is your scarcest resource, you must do two things:  

  • Let go of prospects you can’t help
  • Allow technology to handle tedious, repetitive tasks

Remember, sales may be an art, but it is also a numbers game.

11. Keep your funnel and sales process always in shape

Businesses evolve, markets evolve, buyers evolve.

Change is permanent, your sales process and funnel dynamics are not. That means you need to continuously fix, upgrade, or overhaul your process and sales funnel to keep them aligned with relevant changes in the landscape.

For example, if you have a much lower close ratio than usual, you may need to tweak your sales qualification criteria, your script, your buyer personas, or other aspects of your sales process.

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12. Persistence pays

Nobody graduates from the campus of selling unscathed, but everyone who graduated with flying colors did so primarily by not giving up.

To succeed in sales, persistence is the key.

Cold calling may not be the most appetizing task, but these calls can kickstart a buyer journey that transforms strangers into warm leads, warm leads into paying customers, and customers into brand advocates.

Without reps’ persistence to make and follow up on cold calls day in and day out, sales won’t be as hot as it is.     

Remember that in sales development, our work is never over.

Conclusion

Success has to start somewhere. In sales, that often means making cold calls until prospects get warm enough for a meeting or a demo.

Cold calling is not something that many reps look forward to, but with the right mindset and attitude you can transform calls into a platform for helping people and feeling good about yourself.

No one said cold calling has to be dreadful. And if you and your team have some fun with it, you can work it harder to make your cold calls better, faster, and stronger.

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