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Mastering the Art of Cold Calling: The DOs and DON’Ts

Cold calling is a sales and marketing tactic that involves contacting potential customers or clients by phone to promote a product or service. While it can be an effective way to reach a large audience, it can also be met with resistance and skepticism. So, let's take a look at the DOs and DON'Ts of cold calling.

Nemanja Terzic

February 7, 2023
cold calling

Cold calling can be a powerful tool for generating leads and closing deals. However, it can also be a daunting and intimidating task. Whether you’re a seasoned salesperson or new to the game, it’s important to know the dos and don’ts of cold calling to maximize your success and minimize frustration. 

Cold calling is a sales and marketing tactic that involves contacting potential customers or clients by phone to promote a product or service. While it can be an effective way to reach a large audience, it can also be met with resistance and skepticism.

According to a survey by Pew Research, 81% of people say they don’t answer calls from unknown numbers. 91% say they prefer to communicate via email or text message. So, how can you make your cold calls stand out and achieve results? Here are some dos and don’ts to keep in mind. 

DOs for cold calling

DO your research

Before making a cold call, it’s essential to do your research on the company and the person you’re calling. This won’t only help you tailor your pitch to their specific needs, but it’ll also show that you’re professional and prepared.

DO have a script

Having a script or outline of what you want to say can help you stay on track and avoid awkward pauses or rambling. However, don’t sound too rehearsed or robotic – you want to sound natural and genuine.

DO listen

The most important part of any conversation is listening. This will help you understand the person’s needs and concerns and allow you to adapt your pitch and address any objections they may have.

DO follow up

If you don’t hear back from someone after your initial cold call, don’t be afraid to follow up. Just be sure to give them some space and time before reaching out again – no one likes to feel pressured.

DO personalize your message

While it’s important to have a script or outline, it’s also important to personalize your message to the person you are calling. Use their name, mention something specific about their company or industry, and emphasize that you’re not just calling them as part of a mass marketing campaign.

DO be clear and concise

No one likes to be talked to for an extended period of time, especially over the phone. Keep your message clear and to the point. Think in advance and prepare the answers to any questions or concerns the person may have.

DO be confident

While it’s natural to feel nervous or anxious when making a cold call, it’s important to project confidence and enthusiasm. Believe in your product or service, and be prepared to explain how it can benefit the person you’re calling.

DON’Ts when cold calling

DON’T be pushy

No one likes to be bullied into deciding, especially not over the phone. Be respectful of the person’s time and decisions. Make sure to always give them the option to say no or ask for more information.

DON’T be disorganized

Being unprepared or disorganized can sound unprofessional and hit your credibility hard. Have your materials and information organized and ready before making the call.

DON’T be too salesy

While the ultimate goal of a cold call is to make a sale, coming across as too aggressive will turn people off. Focus on building a relationship and providing value rather than just trying to make a quick sale.

DON’T give up too easily

It’s natural to feel discouraged after getting a lot of rejections or being met with silence on the other end of the line. However, it’s important to remember that not every call will be a home run. Keep trying and refining your approach – eventually, you’ll be a success.

DON’T ignore objections

If the person you’re calling raises objections or concerns, don’t ignore them or try to brush them off. Instead, listen to their concerns and address them directly. This won’t only show them that you are paying attention and care about their needs, but it will also allow you to overcome any objections and move closer to a sale.

DON’T be rude or disrespectful

It’s crucial to remember that you’re calling someone who’s likely busy and may not be interested in what you have to offer. Be respectful of their time and decision. Remember: don’t be rude or confrontational if they say no or ask to be removed from your call list.

DON’T violate privacy laws

It’s important to follow all relevant privacy laws and regulations when making cold calls. This includes the National Do Not Call Registry and the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). Failing to do so can result in legal consequences and damage your reputation.

Pro-tip: start with a strong opening and offer value

Starting with a strong opening is crucial when making a cold call. The person you’re calling is likely busy and may not be interested in what you’re offering. So, you need to capture their attention and clarify why you’re calling. 

One way to do this is to start with a clear and concise statement of what are the specific benefits of your product or service to them, who you are, and why you’re calling. 

This could be something like, ” “Our product offers (specific benefit) that can greatly benefit your company. Not only will it (specific action), but it will also (specific action) which can save you (specific amount) in (specific time frame). Are you ready to see the results for yourself?” This highlights specific benefits of the product or service and includes actionable statements that encourage the listener to take the next step.

Show that you care

In addition to starting with a strong opening, offering value to the person you are calling is crucial. You can do this through information, resources, or a trial of your product or service. By offering value, you’re showing the person that you’re not just trying to make a quick sale but are genuinely interested in helping them solve a problem or meet a need. 

It can help build trust and credibility and make the person more likely to be interested in what you offer. Some examples of value-adds could be providing industry insights or statistics, offering a free consultation or assessment, or providing a free trial or demo of your product or service. 

Complementary strategies for cold calling

Cold calling is also challenging and time-consuming, but it’s essential to many businesses’ sales and marketing efforts. However, with the right approach and mindset, cold calling can be valuable for generating leads and closing deals. In fact, cold calls have a conversion rate between 1% and 2%, while warm calls (calls to leads that have expressed interest in the product or service) have a 40% conversion rate. 

This highlights the importance of using cold calling as part of a broader sales strategy rather than relying on it as the sole method of generating leads.

Email marketing

Email marketing can be a complementary strategy for reaching potential customers or clients and warming up your calls. Use email to follow up on leads or send information about your product or service.

Networking events

Attending networking events can be a great way to connect with potential customers or clients in person. Bring plenty of business cards and be prepared to have a for a brief pitch about your product or service.

Content marketing 

Creating and sharing valuable content, such as blog posts or infographics, can effectively  attract potential customers or clients to your website or social media channels.

Never stop improving your cold-calling technique

Cold calling can be an effective way to generate leads and reach new customers, but it’s essential to approach it with a clear strategy and the right mindset. 

Following the dos and don’ts outlined in the article can increase your chances of success and make your cold-calling efforts more productive and efficient. Remember to research your target audience, use a script, practice your delivery, and keep track of your progress. Avoid being too pushy, ignoring objections, and giving up too quickly. 

In addition, it’s critical to continuously review and adjust your approach based on your results, being open to feedback and willing to make changes as needed. You can fine-tune your cold-calling approach and achieve better results over time by staying flexible and adaptable. With practice and persistence, you can master the art of cold calling and see success for your business.

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