What is Cold Calling? Meaning, Tips & More

what is cold calling
Photo by Andrea Piacquadio

Cold calling is one of the most terrifying words for any sales representative in the industry. This truly mediaeval practise can generate nightmares of rejection, weariness, and failure in even the most charismatic of spirits.

Is that, however, the entire truth? Almost every business still employs cold-calling strategies, so there must be some benefit to contacting cold prospects. It may be difficult to believe in this day and age of open information and emotion-based sales, but cold calling still has a place in the commercial world.

In this article, we’ll go over the basics of cold calling and how to tailor it to your specific needs in today’s market.

What Is Cold Calling?

The solicitation of a potential customer who has not previously interacted with a salesperson is known as cold calling.Cold calling, a type of telemarketing, is one of the oldest and most used marketing techniques.

The solicitation of a consumer who has previously expressed interest in the firm or product is known as warm calling.

Cold calling via phone has declined in recent years in the United States, owing to the widespread use of cell phones and the decline of landlines. Telemarketers are prohibited by FCC restrictions from calling cell phones without the approval of their owners. The implementation of a national Do Not Call registration created difficulties for landline customers.

How Cold Calling Works

Cold calling often refers to phone or telemarketing solicitation, but it can also include in-person visits by door-to-door salespeople.

Salespeople that succeed in cold calling are tenacious and resistant to rejection. The most effective of them conduct demographic and market research to find consumers who are likely to respond positively to their presentations.

A high attrition rate is typical for professions that rely largely on cold calling.

How to Cold Call

Whatever your feelings are about cold calling, it is a necessary aspect of customer acquisition, especially for a young firm.Here’s how you can do it successfully:

#1. Prepare ahead of time by gathering information.

The finest cold calls are preceded by some amount of study.

Cold calls, as the name says, will be cold, but you don’t want to go into one frigid. You must still present a specific value proposition. You’re setting yourself up for failure if you don’t know who you’re talking to.

One common complaint purchasers have about cold calls is that they are impersonal. They’re well aware that you’re likely making hundreds of these calls per week, and no one wants to be reduced to just another name on a list. You can get more out of cold calls if you can individually cater to them with some specific insight into what you can do for their business.

#2. Use a cold call script, but don’t just regurgitate it.

Working with some guidance can be really beneficial when cold calling. You want some form of direction—a backbone to help you plot the best path for a conversation. This is frequently in the form of a cold call script.

These recommendations can help you make better-structured, more productive cold calls; nevertheless, you should not take them as hard, inflexible papers that you read straight from with no space for improvisation or natural departure.

Cold calls should not be made blindly. You’ll need some sense of where you want things to go, but there’s a narrow line between direction and dictation that you should avoid crossing.

#3. Learn to accept rejection gracefully.

The great majority of cold calls go nowhere, and some may stop abruptly. Most prospects will say “no” fast, and some may vent their anger on you after connecting.

You can’t let that stop you. Accept rejection as a fact of life in sales and adopt a “onto the next one” attitude. If you persist at it, you’ll ultimately connect with a responsive prospect and book the meeting you’ve been looking for.

Take the unpleasant aspects of cold calling in stride, and you’ll set yourself up for success. Rejection does not always reflect poorly on you as a salesperson, so keep your chin up and your legs working.

#4. Understand when to call.

Not all cold calls are the same. Some will inevitably be more successful than others, depending on factors like the disposition of the contact you connect with, the company’s demand for a solution like yours, and time.

That final point is critical, and the answer to when sales calls are most effective may surprise you—the sweet spot is between 4:00 PM and 5:00 PM, the buyer’s local time and Wednesday and Thursday are the greatest days of the week for cold calls to land. Understand when your calls will be most successful. Remember this and plan accordingly.

#5. Start with a proactive opener.

Your cold calls should have a clear goal in mind—a destination you want to reach. There’s always a purpose for one of these calls, and you should mention it first. A call that begins with a proactive reason for why you’re calling is roughly twice as likely to be effective as one that begins without one.

“The reason for my call is…” helps set a straightforward, practical tone for the call. Prospects don’t want you to make excuses for why you’re calling. Consider a cold call to be a small elevator pitch—you want to get to the substance of the conversation as fast and decisively as possible.

Such outreach is more effective than the opposite. Get to your destination with authority, and begin the process early in the call.

#6. Prioritize selling over discovery.

There’s a distinction to be made between cold calls and discovery calls; the latter are typically made after you’ve connected with a prospect. During that conversation, you ask your prospect a series of questions to learn about their wants, difficulties, and ambitions in relation to your solution.

That procedure does not begin with your initial cold call. You go into that first conversation with the intention of selling. Remember that the prospect on the other end of the phone has probably never heard of your company.

On your cold call, you’re trying to sell the next conversation, so concentrate on that. Don’t spend too much time asking your prospect about their business; your study should have provided you with some insight. Don’t be frightened to speak up.

#7. Inform and educate your buyer.

If a prospect is pleasant and engaged enough to stay on the line when you make a cold call, they will want to learn more about your solution. That is why you must be intimately familiar with your product or service and be able to reliably express that knowledge.

One of your key goals on a sales call is to educate your prospect on your offering in a short period of time—enough to pique their interest and lead them to whatever next steps you’re pursuing.

Don’t bombard your prospects with questions or let them run the show, talking too much about themselves. Own the conversation by thoughtfully directing it and ensuring that important information about your solution is conveyed.

Cold Calling Techniques

A skilled cold caller will eventually develop their own style, but here are a few strategies to try when you’re getting started:

#1. Stop avoiding rejection.

It’s normal for the sales sector to face rejection. There are hundreds of reasons why not every single person or business will want your product. Too many salespeople become engrossed in trying to discover the most likely prospect on their list because they are determined to win. That’s excellent for larger transactions, but when cold calling, go over each prospect. Your rejection rate will rise, but so will your success rate.

#2. This is a marathon, not a race.

People require time to make decisions, particularly in today’s market, where they have greater access to information and options. The odds of converting a prospect on the first call are stacked against you, and that’s okay. Rather than concentrating on making a sale, concentrate on moving the prospect to the next level of the pipeline. You’ve won if you can set up an appointment or a follow-up from a cold call.

#3. Understand how to cut your losses.

With practice, you’ll be able to detect whether a prospect is interested and worth speaking with. Stop talking if you know it’s not going anywhere. Talking to a dead-end prospect is not just a waste of their time, but also a waste of yours. It also has no effect on your spirits. It’s fine to jump into any pool, but if the water is cold, get out and go on.

#4. Stick to your scripts while remaining flexible.

Your script is there for a reason, but it is not set in stone. Every prospect is unique, and they respond differently to varied levels of intensity, vocabulary, and directness. One prospect may be really chatty and ask numerous questions, but another may be short on time and only require bullet points. Both are equally potential customers, but you must be able to adjust your sales approach to keep them engaged.

Cold Calling Example

Strategies and approaches are great, but what we really need is a cold call to action. Continue reading as we lead you through a cold phone call and a cold email sample to show you how the pros do it.

Here’s an excellent example script:

“Hey there! [SALES REP NAME] from [COMPANY NAME] here.

You’re hearing from me today because it looks like your organization loves to focus on honest, superior customer service. At [COMPANY NAME], we’re all about that, too. We’re backed by awesome customers like [CUSTOMER 1] [CUSTOMER 2], and [INSERT SOCIAL MEDIA PROOF].

These organizations typically see [RESULTS – base results on prospect wants and needs such as increased sales, cost savings, etc.] within [TIME] after implementing us.

[PROSPECT’S NAME], I would love to connect with you about your specific needs and what your resources currently look like. I also have a suggestion for how to [RESULT]. Give me a call back at [NUMBER] when it’s convenient for you, or feel free to reply to the email that I will be following up with. Thanks!”

This script makes use of numerous crucial points.

  • It relates to how other businesses benefited from the product.
  • It suggests that the caller has some knowledge of the recipient and is not calling absolutely blind.
  • It does not promote the product, but rather indicates a time to interact and talk about it.
  • It reminds the prospect that they will receive a follow-up email, which reduces their likelihood of deleting that email.

This script is obviously not appropriate for every single cold-calling situation—that script does not exist.

Is Cold Calling an Effective Sales Strategy?

Cold calling is a surprise effective method. Approximately 82% of prospects who do not hang up the phone set up a meeting to follow up on the pitch.

What Makes an Effective Cold Call?

A salesperson who has researched the customer and prepared a personalised approach makes an effective cold call.

Effective cold calling is not entirely random. They are designed for those who have been recognised as being responsive to the provided product. A broker, for example, might contact people who participate in personal financial discussion forums or who watch business television shows. Alternatively, a grocery chain launching a home delivery service may only call residents of the service region.

Is Cold Calling Dead?

No, cold calling is not extinct. However, it should not be your major prospecting tool in the twenty-first century. And, in order to use it successfully, you must consider modern culture. Cold calling is not extinct; it has simply entered a new age. You can revitalise the early areas of your sales pipeline by reimagining cold calling for your sales team using the recommendations in this article.

Are Cold Calls Made by Scam Artists?

Absolutely. This is an issue for respectable salesmen who do cold calling. Customers who are leery of telephone scams may hang up on any stranger who calls, fearing it is a scam.

Some warning indicators of a fraudster include:

  • A claim that you were “specially selected” for a certain offer.
  • Using high-pressure sales techniques and “limited-time offers.”
  • A refusal to answer queries about the company that made the call.
  • You have been asked to confirm your personal information.

Cold Calling vs Warm Calling

Warm calling is just calling a prospect after establishing a context by communicating with them via email, social media, customer reference, and so forth. In other words, before you pick up the phone, you start creating a relationship with them.

Assume your client recommends you to a future customer. You have a shared relationship with the prospect, thus this is a warm lead. A referral will allow the prospect to be more forthcoming with you. In fact, nearly 75% of executives prefer to engage with referral-based salespeople.

The Bottom Line

Cold calling has always been a difficult task for salespeople, requiring tenacity and a thick skin. It is becoming increasingly tough in modern times. Fewer people have landline phone service, and unwanted callers are barred from cell phones. Door-to-door sales are less effective in the age of dual-income households.

“Warm calling” is certainly preferable, both from the standpoint of the salesman and the customer. The customer has expressed an interest in the product and a want to learn more about it.


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