Cold Calling Tips
(That Work!)

The following cold calling tips will be invaluable to you if you find yourself in the position of having to prospect for new business. Everyone hates making cold calls but prospecting in some shape or form is part of life for most businesses and so the only thing to do is to roll up your sleeves and learn how. The Sales Lead Sheet, Cold Calling Scripts and Qualified Sales Lead pages contain related information with cold calling tips, scripts and guidance around qualifying new customers.

Even seasoned phone salespeople experience "pre-call jitters" and so Rule #1 of all Cold Calling Tips is make the call anyway. Unfortunately, there is no getting around that awkward first few words and wait of anticipation to see if the person you are speaking to is receptive or not. The only way about it is to pick up the phone and do it over and over again until the anticipation of reward - be it simply a good conversation - outweighs the dread of making the call in your mind.

In addition to the Tips On How to Make Cold Calls below, valuable practice in developing your own successful cold call technique may be had using sample cold calling scripts. No matter how painful making cold calls may seem, you can become successful at it by implementing the following cold calling tips and with practice. One day you will effortlessly bring your personality into conversations and turn cold calling from a nail-biting anxiety to a real pleasure.

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Cold Calling Tips To Make Cold Calls Easier

The cold calling tips and techniques described here are the result of years of experience in making cold calls in almost every conceivable sales and marketing environment. This experience is coupled with valuable research and insights to guide you to developing your own cold calling technique that will become a tremendous resource for you if you stick at it long enough. Anyone call sell because everyone does sell. The key is to sell by not selling, that is, keep your conversation natural and keep your customer's best interests in mind at all times.

Cold Calling Tip #1: Make The Call Anyway

There is no perfect "mood" for making sales calls and you'll be surprised to find out that some of the best calls are made when you don't feel like it. So make the call anyway. What you will find is that making calls will improve your mood. Don't worry about the jitters or that uneasy feeling in your stomach or the tremor in your hand. Pick up the phone and make that call anyway.

Stop distracting yourself with trips to the coffee machine or shuffling papers on your desk or any number of "important" tasks that are nowhere near as important as reaching out to new clients. Make the call whether you feel like it or not and, like exercise, your system will gradually grow accustomed to your innate resistance and simply ignore it. You'll overcome any and all feelings of fear and inadequacy. You'll feel great about yourself and empowered after every successful contact. It's not that hard.

Cold Calling Tip #2: Be Yourself

Be human and be your natural self. You don't have to become super-charismatic in order to succeed at making cold calls. You don't have to become a stereotypical "salesperson" either. For some reason, there is an almost innate tendency when make sales calls or presentations to unconsciously slip into "sales mode". Don't be a "salesperson"! Speak and behave naturally and be yourself.

Humor is good, reading a script that sounds like you are reading a script is bad. Think of a telemarketer who calls you at home to say in formal voice, "Mr. X, the reason for my call today is to let you know that we have a special offer..." Compare this to the friendly guy you bump into at the supermarket who says, "Hey, I notice you have orange juice. There's actually a 2-for-1 sales on Minute Maid in aisle 3." Be that friendly guy. Some formality is appropriate sometimes but humans buy from humans and not robots.

Cold Calling Tip #3: Warm It Up

Why is a call "cold"? It only takes 30 seconds to warm someone up, that is, to engage their interest. That being said, a cold call is "cold" because you do not know the person you are calling on and / or do not have a suitable pretext for calling them. Make cold calls easier by warming the call up in the following ways:

Research: Find out as much as you can about the customer and their organization before calling. Familiarize yourself with their website and try to begin understanding their organizational culture and personality. Find out what makes them tick and why they are in business. Try and understand the motivations of the specific customer contact you are speaking with. These can be social and organizational in addition to the pains associated with their work and meaningful benefits your solution can provide.

Reference: If you have spoken with or work with others in the customer organization, well and good. Reference them by saying, "We are currently working with so and so and your name came up as one of the people that may be interested in such and such." Even if you have not spoken to anyone else in the organization but have left voicemails or e-mailed people you can say, "I've touched base / reached out to a few others and your name came up..."

The fact that a person's "name came up" is not misleading because there must be a particular reason you are calling them after all. Maybe the customer name just came up within your organization as a good potential contact. The point is to create some kind of context, a reason for calling. If you have done business with that company before, use the same approach. "We have / are working with you in such and such areas and the idea of expanding this through x, y, z came up."

"Break the ice" faster by creating a precedent and some credibility and reasoning behind why you are calling. Then it is not just a "call out of the blue." Use phrases like, "I'm trying to touch base with the person that manages so and so" or "We are also reaching out to other folks within your organization". More ideas on actual things so say are covered in the sample cold calling scripts section. You can always "warm it up".

Relax: One of the worst things you can do in a sales call is to revert to "sales mode" where the other person immediately puts up their guard. That is why one of the most important of all cold calling tips is to be yourself. Treat the person on the other end as if you are already doing business with their company or as if you are speaking with a coworker or business partner. Your tone of voice should be assumptive and communicate my calling you is perfectly ordinary.

Once again, the point is to establish legitimacy and turn your call into a business call as opposed to a "call out of the blue." If you have done your homework and researched the customer organization, you can state relevant facts in a businesslike manner. "We know that you have x, y, z objectives and thought you would be interested in a way to help you do that by improving a, b, c." Speaking in a relaxed, professional way will result in your being taken more seriously.

Cold Calling Tip #4: Get Excited

You've no doubt heard about how excitement, energy and enthusiasm are essential to successful selling. This is even more so with cold calling for lead generation. 80% of the message you will convey in speaking with a customer for the first time over the phone will be communicated by your tone and mannerism. There is no way to imitate a sincere, excited person other than to be sincere and excited!

The good news is that you don't have to alter or change your personality in any way. You don't have to insert forced laughs at the end of every sentence. You do have to present a clean, polished you and communicate your genuie belief and enthusiasm in what you are doing.

Think hard about why you are excited about what you are selling. Perhaps you are changing lives with your product. Perhaps you are saving people time so that they can go home and be with their families. You need to know, deep down, that what you are doing is going to better that person' situation in some way. Maybe you are in it for the money. Sure, that's an okay reason to sell as long as your confidence is grounded in the fact that you are selling a great solution.

When you know exactly how what you are doing is going to improve other people's lives, your knowledge will turn to belief and then excitement which will transfer itself over the phone. Find out what gets you excited and stay excited. No one else will get excited unless you are.

Cold Calling Tip #5: Stay Consistent

Pick up the phone and call. Pick up the phone and call. Day in, day out. Day in, day out. There is no other way to succeed at cold calling and this is therefore another crucial cold calling tip. The only thing you need to work on to say consistent is your attitude. If you are excited about what you are doing and are remain consistent, you will see results. Guaranteed.

Think about cold calling as fishing or digging for gold. You never know if that next call is going to be your next big client. If that doesn't work for you, think about the purpose of cold calling as having a good conversation. You are not out to sell anything, only to connect with someone.

Maybe you simply have no choice and cold calling is the only way your business is going to survive. Whatever the case, get over your hang-ups, get at it and get consistent. You may not believe it possible but cold calling will actually become fun once you get good at it.

Cold Calling Tip #6: Use What Works

You may start off by using a cold calling script designed around your specific product or service but as you grow in experience, you'll find out what works for you. There may be certain phrases related to your solution that are awkward when you try and explain them to other people whereas others roll of your tongue easily. Hone in on what works by what is easy to say and what resonates with others.

If you are analytical, talk about facts and figures that excite you. If you are more laid back, your approach should be as well. You will find that there are certain words, intonations and approaches that work: use them. Practice with your coworkers and friends and spouse (i.e. "How is work?" "Great. We're developing solutions to help x type of customers achieve a,b,c by doing 1,2,3 better...").

You may discover funny statements related to your solution that usually elicit laughs or technical-sounding terms that usually pique the listener's interest. Treat your "pitch" like a living breathing entity that contains elements of your personality and changes over time like you. Just as you are unique, your cold calling sales pitch will be as well.

Cold Calling Tip #7: Smile

Hearkening back to the age old telemarketing adage, remember to smile and dial. It may seem strange and forced at first but it really will affect the tone of your voice positively. It will also remind you to be friendly and personable and that speaking with a customer is a privilege so you should be on your best behavior. Smiling is good for all relationships and that includes customer relationships as well.

Cold Calling Tip #8: Speak Clearly

Another puzzling instinctive habit that people have that you may have to overcome is mumbling or speaking unclearly. Be loud and clear.

When you start making cold calls or calling about a new product or service, you may find yourself rambling a bit or using formal-sounding terms that you do not usually employ in casual conversations. That is okay and you will gradually improve to the point where your conversations are as natural-sounding as when your are speaking with friends. What is not okay and what will instantly sabotage your chances of succeeding with a new customer is if you come across "weak-sounding" by being incoherent, drolling, too quiet and the like.

It is better to say something a bit wrong but loud and clear, than to whisper the perfect pitch to a prospective customer. You should sound like you know what you are talking about and believe it. The only way to achieve this - and to increase your confidence in speaking with people on the phone - is to speak loudly and clearly.

Cold Calling Tip #9: It's A Numbers Game

Cold Calling Tips

A great piece of advice that is not amiss in this collection of cold calling tips is that when you speak with a rude person - and you will - you can hang up knowing that your "rude person quota" has been fulfilled for the next few days. That's just how it is. You will run into every type of person and have every kind of conversation. And, if you persist, you will find customers as well.

A third of your calls will end in voicemails and in another third you won't be able to speak to the person because they are out or are busy or are not the right person or some other reason. For the one third of the time that the correct person actually picks up the phone and speaks with you, whether or not they will be interested in what you have to say is completely out of your hands. All that you control is that, given enough calls, you will find your share of intelligent, receptive people who are interested in finding out more about your solution.

As your cold calling experience and expertise grows and as you hone in on and find your successful cold calling style, you'll get better at "hitting the right notes" with people. However, there is only so much you can do and by and large you will always have your share of "yeses" and "nos" just like anyone else. The only cold calling technique that works every time is keep making calls.

Cold Calling Tip #10: Keep It Simple

Don't try and change the world over the phone. At least not all at once. There is another excellent piece of sales advice that is apt to be included amongst these cold calling tips, "show the chain, sell the link". Keep it simple and take one step at a time or you will lose customers.

As excited as you are by what you are doing and selling - after all, this is your life - the only purpose of all the sales and marketing razzle and dazzle is to get the customer interested and move them to the next step. A common mistake is to try and explain everything or try and get too much commitment before the customer is ready to move to the next step.

Just speaking with a customer is progress. Therefore, go easy and progress at their pace. It will take days if not weeks and months for them to begin to see the big picture and buy into it like you do. Work with the customer at their level, communicate to them in their language and understand that for the most part, educating them on how they will be better off by your solution is a long term discussion.

Cold Calling Tip #11: Set Expectations

This cold calling tip is related to the above point of keeping it simple as well as Setting Next Steps described on the Sales Lead Sheet page. Using the analogy of a chain once again, you first paint the big picture before drilling down to the first link and then the next and next, one step at a time.

Crucial to keeping the sales cycle progressing is to make sure the current discussion is absorbed and understood by the customer before moving to the next and also that the customer knows what to expect next.

Set expectations using phrases like, "Once we have done a, b, c, then we will be in a position to do x, y, z, if that makes sense." In this way you move from a meeting to a demonstration to building a business case to a larger meeting and so on until you have satisfied all of the customer's requirements around buying your solution.

Always paint the big picture before diving into the details and finish up with a concrete next step that is in line with the expectations you have set. Visit the cold calling scripts page for actual examples of wording to use for this and other cold calling tips.

Cold Calling Tip #12: Let Them Speak (And Listen)

"You" Marketing calls for a sales and marketing effort that puts the customer - "you" - first. Cold calling for lead generation is no different. People tend to focus primarily on themselves and their needs and when they are speaking with someone new two things happen. Firstly, the customer will ask, "Why is this important to me?" To this, you need to provide "you"-focused benefits that appeal to the customer and answer to a basic need of his. The second thing that happens is that a person starts to formulate whether or not they feel comfortable speaking with you.

It is crucial for a customer to feel comfortable with speaking with you otherwise the chances of developing an ongoing relationship with them are slim to none. The more you let the customer speak, the more you give them a chance to "open up" and relax. Let a customer speak even if they are digressing from the point of the discussion (more on this below in "Go With The Flow"). Just listening to a customer speak is progress.

Cold Calling Tip #13: Go With The Flow

Letting the customer speak is also important as it allows you to perform the vital function of gathering information. As you build a relationship with a customer you gain a more and more clearer picture of their needs and requirements and can better assess how your solution can benefit their specific situation. Do not assume that all customers are the same; like individuals, every business is unique and each new engagement should open up new areas of thoughts and discussion.

A central guiding principle to keep in mind it that it's all about the customer. This is true for initial and ongoing conversations as well as the sales process in general. Let the customer speak and articulate their thoughts and understand that your job is mapping what you do to what they want. Your understanding of the solution and your experience in working with other customers is a guide that allows you to work with the customer at their pace, gently moving the discussion towards a specific goal.

"Go With The Flow" means don't expect the customer to behave a certain way. Although the sales cycle will generally follow a certain path, allow the customer complete freedom to slow down, speed up and even go off on a tangent from time to time. You cannot force a customer to be interested in what you are saying but you can help solidify a solid relationship with everything you say and don't say.

Cold Calling Tip #14: People Are People

The last of the cold calling tips is the catch-all caveat that people are people. What this means is that you should expect a wide variety of reactions to anything that you do in sales and marketing. As well, you should take negativity in your stride and not get hung up on any one person or any "bad" experience. A helpful attitude to have is to treat people who give you a hard time as if they were children: they just don't know better. Be forgiving, be patient, be cheerful and be helpful.

If what you are trying to do is go out there and help people then eventually you will find people who appreciate this and want to work with you. Along with they way, deal with whatever comes your way in the best possible manner with a smile and good cheer.

You don't need to force or pressure people into agreeing with you, nor feel despondent when you get a "no, not interested."

At times you will ask, "why can't they see how great this solution is?" There are many reasons, none of which matter. It all boils down to timing and regardless of how much you think a customer may benefit from your solution, you need to find the ones that are ready to move ahead. Be patient and persevere. Where one door shuts, another will opens.

Get help with cold calling tips for your business!

Cold Calling TechniquesCold Calling Scripts TemplateFree Sales LeadsBusiness Sales LeadsSales Lead GenerationQualifying Sales LeadsUsing A Sales Lead SheetSales Lead ManagementAn Effective Cold Calling RoutineProspecting TipsSales Process ManagementCold Calling Tips Consultant

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