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60 Cold Calling Tips to Close More Sales

Written by:

Sean McAlindin, a business and arts writer, has a decade-long experience in music and culture journalism and recently ventured into business writing.

Edited by:

Sallie, holding a Ph.D. from Walden University, is an experienced writing coach and editor with a background in marketing. She has served roles in corporate communications and taught at institutions like the University of Florida.

60 Cold Calling Tips to Close More Sales

60 Cold Calling Tips to Close More Sales

Cold calling, my friends, is for the strong at heart. With success rates hovering between 1-2%, we all know this job is not easy. But with the right approach, it is totally possible to find success using this proven marketing strategy.

Whether you’re new to cold calling or a seasoned professional looking to bone up your skills, we’ve gathered 60 research-backed and easy-to-implement cold-calling tips to help you every step of the way.

So, take a look below at our ultimate list of cold-calling tips to maximize your selling potential and improve your cold-calling experience today. You might be surprised by what you learn!

Key Takeaways

  • Cold calling is a challenging profession, but it can lead to significant benefits if done with persistence, skill, and the right mindset.

  • To succeed over time in cold calling takes patience, reflection, and a willingness to grow. You’ll never stop learning if you’re a dedicated cold caller.

  • There are steps you can take before, during, and after your cold call to increase your chances of landing a sale, booking a meeting, or at least having a great conversation.

What is Cold Calling?

Cold calling is a form of sales that takes place between a salesperson and a customer they’ve never met. It generally refers to phone-based conversations but technically covers in-person and door-to-door interactions too.

As one of the oldest and most common forms of active salesmanship, cold calling allows salespeople to interact with prospects who may or may not know their brand. The key factor is that the cold call represents the first meeting between two people who have never interacted with each other before, and the call is neither scheduled nor expected. 

Although the sales representative is ultimately trying to convince the prospective buyer on the other side of the call to purchase the solution they’re selling, the immediate goal of a cold call could be as modest as setting a follow-up appointment, booking a demo, or simply making your customer aware of your brand. 

Cold calls give sales reps the chance to build a trusted relationship with potential clients. If that bond is formed, a real possibility of future business comes to life. That is the promise and the hope of cold calling.

The Ultimate List of Cold Calling Tips

In the worst of times, cold calling can be frustrating, overwhelming, and altogether exasperating. Yet, the feeling of landing a sale or even booking a potentially lucrative meeting can keep us motivated. Nevertheless, since we all need a little push from time to time, these tips have been designed to spark your creativity and drive to master the high art and supreme sales challenge of cold calling. 

Let me walk you through the most important points to remember as you prepare for, conduct, and follow up on your cold calls. Let’s start with what you need to do to get ready. 

Tips For Before You Make a Cold Call

1. Research your prospects. 

Making a cold call without doing your research is like diving headlong into a pool without checking the depth of the water. It’s likely not going to end well. 

The more you know about your prospect, the better your chances of making a sale. It’s as simple as that. 

To conduct needed research, look through your customer’s websites, Facebook pages, Instagram, and other social media apps. Read articles that are written about their company. Learn what strengths and weaknesses they have, so you can compliment them when they deserve it and help them where they need it. 

2. Know your product inside out.

Here’s the other side of the proverbial coin. You’ve researched your prospect, but have you checked to make sure your own house is in order? 

Before attempting to sell something, you better know everything about it. This doesn’t mean you can’t look up a specific feature or detail if the customer requests it, but you should be able to answer a preponderance of questions from the top of your head. No potential client is going to take you seriously if you don’t know what you’re talking about.

3. Make an outline. 

The next phase of your cold call preparation is to develop a thorough outline of your cold call. 

What is the big idea? And how do you get there? 

Your outline is the official blueprint for how your call should go. Be sure to include all the main points you need to cover with the prospect in order to book a meeting or set up the next steps in the sale. Prioritize your outline from beginning to end, so you know what’s most important to touch on should the call get cut short. Don’t include every detail — just focus on the most important stuff. 

4. Write a script. 

Do you think Broadway actors make up their lines on the spot? Unless you’re an improv genius, you’ll need to write a quality sales script. But clear, convincing communication doesn’t just appear out of the blue. It requires considerable work. 

After developing your outline, much like when you created them before drafting an essay in your high school English class, it’s time to turn your mindmap into a polished piece of writing. This process may require several drafts, and another pair of eyes to read through your work can provide critical feedback. 

Although your script will vary according to your customer, most sales reps lean on specific lines that they know will work to accomplish their goals. Like a great story, the script needs some real meat to cover all the important bases while also featuring some serious style and punch where needed. 

5. Personalize every call. 

While the vast majority of cold callers work from a sales script, the real masters know how to customize their calls for individual clients. They add and subtract from their script as required to include those little touches that help their pitch stand out. Seasoned pros understand the importance of making the prospects feel special — and not like just another number on your never-ending list of leads. 

Personalization takes time, but the effort upfront will more than likely pay off in the long run. This is where the true professional stands out from the everyday salesperson. It’s the way you break through and start to build a relationship with your potential customer. You put yourself in the prospect’s shoes and go from there. 

6. Set goals and measure progress.

Cold calling can sometimes feel monotonous and hopeless. You might imagine you’re Sisyphus, a character from Greek mythology who, punished by Hades, was forced to roll a boulder up a mountain over and over, just to watch it roll back down every time. This is where measurable goals can help to safeguard your sanity. 

For starters, make your goals totally doable. Perhaps you start by aiming for a certain number of prospects you hope to reach out to before lunch. Then, when the clock strikes twelve, check your progress. 

While setting certain monetary sales goals each week, month, or year can also be helpful, some aspects of your net profit are always going to be out of your control. That’s why it’s great to set goals that are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and timely (SMART).

This can help you stay motivated and positive during the inevitable ups and downs of the cold-calling cycle.

7. Learn to accept rejection. 

As a cold caller, you and the word “no” are going to spend a lot of time together. 

Less than 2% of cold calls result in a follow-up appointment or referral. (Keller Research Center, Baylor University)

The statement above means 49 out of 50 times, AT LEAST, you aren’t going to succeed. It’s been said that professional baseball players only need to get a hit 1 out of 3 times to be considered an all-star. The rates for you are much lower. If you only land 1 out of every 100 calls you make, you’d be considered average. 

Unfortunately, all this rejection can take a toll on salespeople if they don’t know how to handle it. When things don’t go your way, it’s important to accept what happened and work toward understanding and positively accepting your feelings. Treat yourself with compassion, and remember that it’s normal to feel hurt, angry, and disappointed in these circumstances. 

The key is to learn from your experience and continue to grow as a professional. When you look at it this way, rejection is just a natural process that can lead you to greater personal development and success in your career.

8. Focus on learning, not sales. 

Cold calling takes practice — lots of it. Especially at first, it’s essential to focus on professional development, rather than cold hard sales. In the beginning, you’ll be developing your rhythm, your cadence, and your comfort level with a variety of customer profiles and questions about your product. 

Every time you make a call, you learn something new. As you hone your ability to keep prospects on the line for longer amounts of time, your opportunities for learning will grow exponentially. The more sales you make, the more confidence you will gain. 

As much as some might want it to be true, no salesperson is an overnight success. Before you make the sale that changes your life, you will likely take many steps, suffer countless setbacks, and learn countless valuable lessons the hard way. You will get there eventually, however, if you keep an open mind and stick with it. 

9. Vet your leads. 

At least 50% of your prospects aren’t a good fit for what you’re selling. (Sales Insights Lab)

The sad truth is that far too many salespeople are working with shoddy leads. If your prospect was never a good candidate for your product in the first place, you’re simply wasting your time. Even if you purchase your leads from a reputable lead generation firm, it’s still essential to double-check them to make sure that they are really good. If not, it’s time to look elsewhere. 

10. Create an ICP

Before you even start prospecting, be sure you’ve created an ideal customer profile (ICP). Define the target market you’re aiming for by zeroing in on demographics like location, age, cultural background, and socioeconomic factors. If you’re in B2B sales, think about which types of businesses could benefit from your services. Then, evaluate your leads against these parameters.

11. Use referrals to your advantage.

Let’s face it, the likelihood of converting a personal referral on a cold call is going to be much higher than your average prospect. Personal recommendations and endorsements are the lifeblood of every business. 

84% of respondents said recommendations by friends and family are the most trustworthy way to learn about a product or service. (Nielsen)

Prospects won through referrals are proven to be more profitable than other cold outreach methods. So, maximize your use of referrals to get ahead of the competition and land more sales.

12. Emphasize quality over quantity.

Along the same lines as working with high-class leads, it’s important to focus on the prospects that are most likely to deliver. Don’t burn yourself out trying to get through every number on your call list. Instead, concentrate on your best leads and bring your A-game to every interaction. Remember, one successful call is worth more than 1000 wasted ones. 

13. Know the best times and days to call.

The best times to cold call are Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday in the late morning and early evening. While studies by CallHippo have shown that most times of day (barring late at night and Sundays) are fair game for cold calling, you may want to improve your odds by saving your best prospects for the golden hour. That way, you can play the odds that might help you to beat the house over time. 

14. Recognize trigger events as opportunities.

Whether your prospect visits your website, searches for your product, or calls your company for more information, your chances of making a deal are best in the window directly after this first point of contact. It’s when you know the customer is already thinking about their problem and actively considering you as a solution. 

The most effective follow-up calls happen within 60 minutes of initial contact. (CallHippo)

Many modern customer relationship management (CRM) programs have built-in notification systems to alert sales reps when trigger events occur. As a cold-caller, following up right away is going to increase your odds from the get-go. 

15. Visit your prospect’s social media accounts.

The most surefire way to learn about your prospects is to peruse their social media accounts. Whether on Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest, or TikTok, successful contemporary business owners are likely to have a vibrant social media presence. 

While websites are a great place to gather background information on your potential customers, social media is going to have the most current happenings and insight into what’s really going on with their brand.

78% of sales representatives who use social media report that researching prospects on social networks helps them perform better on the job. (Rain Group)

It’s also becoming increasingly common to connect with prospects directly over social media, although this can be perceived as invasive if you don’t have at least a second-hand connection with the person. Still, it usually doesn’t hurt to try. If you don’t already use it regularly, you’d be surprised by how many people respond immediately to social media messaging. 

16. Prepare your mindset.

Human connection is all about communication and energy. Customers will sense the feeling you bring to the call. A calm, confident demeanor will put your client at ease and help them open up to dialogue. So, get in the right mindset before you dial to shepherd your prospect to the promised land. 

Make sure to set yourself up in a comfortable, quiet environment where you can focus and communicate clearly. Take a few deep breaths before dialing to calm yourself down and mentally prepare for a positive interaction. As my teaching professor used to say, “Calm is strength.” I truly believe that this proverb applies to most areas of life, including cold calling. 

Now that you’re in the right mindset, let’s take a look at what you can do during a cold call to up your chances of success. 

Tips For Once You’re Connected On a Cold Call

17. Sit up straight.

Our physical bodies are connected to our mental bodies. Whether you’re a notorious slouch or a perfect yogi, practicing proper posture has been shown to make a remarkable difference in our mindset and emotional well-being. You’ll feel more confident and better prepared if you apply this simple hack before every call. Not only will you be presenting your best self to the world, your back and your neck will thank you after a long day on the job. 

18. Smile.

Sounds simple, right? But it works! Much like sitting up straight, smiling as you dial and speak with the customer can make a noticeable difference in your energy, tone of voice, confidence, and overall impression.  

As they say, a smile costs nothing, but gives much. So, wear one when making your cold calls and see how much better you feel. 

19. Read your script like an actor, not a robot. 

While it’s important to have a script to follow during your cold calls, you don’t want to come across as an automaton. It is best to approach reading your script like an actor. 

How can you breathe life into your lines? Where can you improvise and go off script? It’s those little flourishes and personal touches that make a sales pitch, like a cinematic performance, come to life. 

When all the world’s a stage, how are you going to make your mark on your customers? 

20. Speak slowly. 

Top performers speak 6% slower than the average salesperson. (Sales Insights Lab)

Many rookie cold callers make the mistake of rushing through their pitch. If you want to come across as calm and confident, slow down and take your time. Small adjustments in the cadence of your voice can help to draw the listener in and give them the opportunity to truly hear what you are saying.

21. Mind your tone of voice.

Do you want to come across as empathetic, assertive, urgent, or relaxed?

Sometimes, it doesn’t quite so much matter what you say, as how you say it. When you cold call a prospect, they can’t see you. The way they perceive you is going to be based largely on how you sound. 

Tonality includes your pitch, volume, speed, and speech diction. The right tonality helps you to sound more authentic and connect better with the person on the other side of the line. So practice your “cold-calling cadence” to draw in your customer and guide them down the right path. 

22. Get to the point. 

Successful business people are, well…busy. If you’re lucky enough to get them on the line, you’re going to want to get your point across in a reasonable amount of time. That’s where an outline or proven pitch can help. Watch the clock, but don’t rush. Studies have shown cold calls between four and six minutes to be the most effective.

The average successful cold call lasts just under six minutes compared to just over three minutes for unsuccessful calls and includes an uninterrupted sales pitch of 37 seconds. (Gong Labs)

23. Ask open-ended questions.

One who never asks either knows everything or nothing.” – Malcolm Forbes

Asking the right questions can unlock opportunities you didn’t even know existed and take your sales career to new heights. So, put on your journalistic, therapeutic, and philosophical hats and dive deep into the mind of your prospect. 

While it’s good to share important information about your product, what you really want is to get your prospect talking about their business and the challenges they face. That way, you can offer your solution!

Top performers ask nearly 40% more questions in their discovery sessions. (Sales Insights Lab)

Open-ended questions can help to foster a conversation between you and a prospect and lead to some extraordinarily fruitful lines of communication you never saw coming. It’s the key to good conversation and the easiest way to discover where you can help your customers. 

So, be curious. Ask questions. Let your prospect do the talking. I guarantee you they will lead you down the path to a sale on their terms. 

24. Educate, don’t interrogate. 

While asking questions is a keystone of cold calling practice, the real secret to a productive cold call is striking the right balance between talking and listening. 

Successful cold calls often have a 55 to 45 talk-to-listen ratio. (Crunchbase

That means you should do around 10% more talking than your prospect. So, while it’s good to ask open-ended questions, be sure to drive the conversation and communicate what’s unique and important about your solution to their problem. They know you’re a sales rep, so sell them!

25. Make it a conversation. 

While cold-calling isn’t a free-for-all, it’s completely okay to go off-script from time to time, especially if you see an opening to deepen your relationship with a prospect. A sales pitch should ideally be a give-and-take exchange. 

By allowing your prospect to open up to you about their business and/or personal life, you build trust and empathy between both parties. The more each side shares, the stronger the bond between the salesperson and the prospect. It’s this bond that creates trust and paves the way for future sales. 

26. Use small talk.

Not everything has to be business all the time. Sometimes remarking on the weather, a recent news event, or something silly from popular culture can break the ice with a potential client and help them to feel comfortable with you. 

Everybody appreciates a break from the grind, so it’s perfectly fine to make chit-chat and simply shoot the breeze for a while. This natural, easy mode of communication helps you build empathy and come across as human. 

27. Be one with the silence.

Have you meditated on a cold call lately? 

Not every moment of a cold call needs to be filled with conversation. Allowing for a brief pause after a question, or before responding to a comment, lets your prospect know you are listening and fully present for the call. 

In fact, as a journalist who has done many interviews, I can tell you, some of the greatest surprises can come in that little space between thoughts. If you give your customer the room to process and vocalize their thoughts, they’ll often open the door to unexpected places. 

28. Don’t be afraid to get personal. 

While you obviously don’t want to divulge secrets of your personal life with someone you’ve never met, sharing a little bit about yourself can help to form a bond between you and your prospect. It takes a certain amount of judgment to know what is appropriate to share, and when is the right time to go there, but taking a small risk by being vulnerable can create an opening. 

Likewise, you may find that prospects are more willing to talk about themselves than you initially think. This definitely isn’t meant to be a therapy session, but it’s important to form a human relationship. 

29. Show empathy. 

Human beings are wired for connection. 

Showing another person that you can understand and, furthermore, feel what they are feeling is one of the greatest ways to establish a trusting relationship. So listen to understand, ask questions with genuine curiosity, and be present and patient with your cold calls. 

To do this, you may have to work mindfully to let go of any hidden biases you could be harboring. And while it’s important to acknowledge your customer’s experience, refrain from offering unsolicited advice, at least right away. Once they’re done sharing, you may choose to open up about a similar experience you’ve gone through in business or life, if you think the moment is right. 

30. Keep it positive. 

The problems businesses face are real, and they can sometimes feel overwhelming and daunting. In a world of endless challenges, the most successful entrepreneurs and salespeople somehow manage to keep an open mind and respond positively to the changes around them to rise above the tide. 

Always remember, the purpose of your call is to make someone’s day better. You are there to solve a problem and potentially move their business forward. Leave the negativity behind and approach each conversation with a positive attitude and an expectation of good things to come. 

31. Use Humor.

A good laugh makes any interview, or any conversation, so much better.” – Barbara Walters. 

The surest way into somebody’s heart and inner circle is to make them laugh. Humor bonds us as humans and makes light of the problems and challenges we all face. If you can get a rise out of your cold call prospect, you are truly on the way to becoming a master salesperson. 

And while not all of us can be Robin Williams, it is certainly possible to approach the world, and your work, with a lighthearted attitude and willingness to share a laugh with others. 

32. Stay on the line. 

Do you want to know one of the common mistakes cold-calling salespeople make? They give up too fast. 

Studies show that the longer you can extend the call, the better your chances of making a follow-up appointment or landing a sale. 

Top performers’ discovery calls are 76% longer.  (Sales Insights Lab)

So, do what you can to keep the prospect on the line. The more time you can spend with them, the better able you will be to build the relationship you need to proceed with an eventual sale.

33. Try booking a meeting. 

Not all successful cold calls need to end with a sale. Booking a meeting for further discussion is often a logical next step down the road toward making a deal. 

If you can land a meeting from the first cold call, this is called progress. It also gives the prospect an easy out if they’re busy or unable to commit. Once you’ve made a good first impression, you can prepare to work your sales magic on the follow-up call. 

Now, let’s examine some tips for actually landing the sale and bringing home the bacon. 

Tips for landing the sale on a cold call

34. Identify the gap. 

The best salespeople know they need to provide something that solves a problem for the prospective customer. If your prospect doesn’t have the problem you are addressing, or they already have a solution that’s working for them, they’re probably not going to be interested in what you’re selling. 

As you listen to your prospect during your phone conversation, it’s essential to make note of any gaps in their business that you could potentially plug in. If you don’t know what you’re fixing for them, then you’re not offering anything of value. 

35. Leverage social proof.

Humans are social creatures designed to operate within the context of their cultural community. 

According to American psychologist Robert Cialdini, in his 1984 book “Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion,” “We view a behavior as more correct in a given situation to the degree that we see others performing it.”

You need to show your prospects that others are using your product and that they’re happy with the results. Positive online reviews, case studies, and examples of customer success go a long way in boosting your company’s credibility and convincing a potential client that what you’re offering lives up to the hype. 

36. Help, but don’t lecture. 

No one wants to sit through a never-ending spiel on the features of a product or service. If a prospect is really interested in the details, they will usually look them up and read them for themselves on their own time. 

During a cold call, you want to focus the conversation on how you can solve a problem that your prospect is facing. If you can figure out how to help them with their business on a basic level, the details will face into place. 

37. Anticipate objections.

We all know cold calls don’t always go according to plan. Beyond that, it’s almost guaranteed that your prospect will raise at least some kind of objection to what you’re selling

Before the call, and as you listen to your customer, jot down potential roadblocks you expect to come across. If you can have an answer to their question already in mind, it’s going to boost your credibility and assure the potential client that you know what you’re talking about. 

As you gain experience and get into the groove of selling particular products, you should start to notice trending objections that prospects tend to get stuck on. The more you can anticipate these arguments, the better chance you’ll have of keeping the conversation on track and moving your prospect down the sales pipeline. 

38. Make the right ask. 

When the time comes to present your prospects with a decision, be sure to only give them options that work for you. This could be a follow-up appointment, a request for more information, or an actual sale. 

Either way, you need to hone in on what you want. Don’t sell yourself short, or allow them to cop out on something that’s not actually going to get you anywhere. 

The best conversation in the world doesn’t amount to squat if you don’t follow the next steps in the sales dance. But sometimes you have to improvise, so it’s always good to have contingency plans in place depending on where the cold call leads. Be prepared with several additional action steps you can offer to move your prospect forward at the end of the call. 

39. Discuss pricing upfront. 

Sometimes you just want to yell, “Show me the money!” 

Win rates are highest when pricing is discussed on the first call. (Gong Labs)

Unfortunately, price negations are a common stumbling block for many otherwise capable and competent salespeople. We all know services cost money. All the humility and modesty around compensation simply isn’t necessary. Your customer will appreciate you for being straightforward and honest about the cost of your product. So, get to the point and tell them what it costs!

40. Whether you make a sale or not, ask for a referral. 

The overwhelming majority of people will happily give you a referral if you only take the time to ask. The problem is salespeople often don’t ask. Successful salespeople are actively gathering referrals at all times, and that means getting in the habit of asking for referrals both from prospects you land and those you don’t. If you ask, you will receive. 

Nearly 91% of all customers said they would be willing to give a referral, but only 11% of salespeople actually asked for a referral from them. (Service Bell)

Cold-calling conversation tips

41. Prepare a strong opening sentence. 

First impressions are everything in life and in sales. Valuable prospects are busy and you only have so much time to catch their attention during a cold call. Most great works of literature begin with a memorable first line. So spend some extra time on the opening sentence of your sales script, so you can open the door to a productive conversation.

42. Ask how your customer is doing. 

According to a study by Gong Labs, cold calls that opened with the simple question, “How have you been?” increased success rates by up to six times! The reason for this is that it creates a sense of empathy by demonstrating that you care about the prospect and how they are doing. It sounds simple, but there’s a reason why this is the most common greeting in the world. 

43. Discuss the reason for your call. 

Who are you and what do you want? 

Recipients of cold calls want to know who you are and why you are calling. Beginning your cold call with a proactive reason for your call can more than double your success rate. Humans crave reasons, so give them one right away! 

44. Permission-based openers

Nobody likes to feel as if their time and personal space are being intruded upon. By mentioning that you do not know the person at the outset of a cold call, you will lower the resistance of your prospect. As a result, they will trust you more and be increasingly willing to listen to what you have to say. 

Some examples of permission-based openers include:

“I know I’m calling out of the blue…”
“You probably weren’t expecting my call…”

“We’ve never actually spoken before…”

43. Replace “I” with “We”

You want your prospect to feel like you are all on the same team. Studies have shown that replacing “I” with “we” can increase sales success in cold-calling situations. It’s a subtle shift, but it marks the difference between a one-way street and a shared agenda. 

On average, the “we-to-I” ratio is 35% higher in successful cold calls than in unsuccessful ones. (Gong Labs)

Other collaborative words like “our”, “ourselves,” and “us” can have the same positive effect. 

Big picture tips to raise your cold-calling game

44. Sell what you know and believe in. 

While any truly talented sales rep could probably sell a ketchup popsicle to a woman wearing white gloves, it makes a big difference when you actually believe in what you’re selling. If you are 100% committed to your product and you know without a doubt that your option is the right one, that confidence is going to come across clear as day to the prospect on the other end of the line. 

On the contrary, if you know that what you’re offering is nothing more than excrement disguised as gold, it’s going to take a whole lot more smooth talking, and frankly, lying, to convince another person to trust you. And honestly, they shouldn’t. 

Ideally, we would all like to work for a company that we wholeheartedly believe in. While this is commonly not the case 100% of the time, it’s helpful to focus on the positives your brand brings to the table. 

Your services may not be perfect (and it’s okay to acknowledge that), but there is certainly value in the product you are offering. Otherwise, why would someone have created it? If you truly can’t find anything of worth in your product, it’s probably time to find a new job. 

47. Remember, you are there to help. 

Along the same lines, it’s important to bear in mind that your ultimate purpose as a cold-calling salesperson is to provide complete strangers with an elegant solution to one of life’s ever-present problems. If they don’t have the problem you’re focused on, or you can’t help them for some reason, they’ll find someone else. 

But when you do hit upon that prospect that fits your customer profile for all the right reasons, your appearance can seem like an epiphany. It’s as if you’ve arrived and suddenly the clouds have parted, the rain is gone, and the sun is brightly shining on a spring day. 

If you really think about it, it takes a lot of guts and generosity of spirit to put yourself out there on the line with someone you’ve never met before, just hoping to help them reach their goals. You’re a savior, so to speak, a traveling mind reader. As a cold caller, you’re always there to help, so don’t forget it. 

48. Overcome call reluctance. 

Did you know studies by psychologists at Behavioral Sciences Research Press have shown that 3 out of 4 salespeople will experience call reluctance at some point in their careers? 

Sales call reluctance syndrome is a common psychological problem among sales professionals that manifests as a hesitation or reluctance to make sales calls. It comes in many shapes and sizes, from simple procrastination to outright avoidance, but even low call reluctance levels can significantly impact one’s success and productivity. 

49. Use a CRM. 

What’s a CRM? If you have to ask, you’re already behind the times. 

If you’re not using a customer relationship management system by now, it’s time to get on board. Modern software offers a host of options to help you organize your customer data, vet leads, track trigger events, and generally manage all information and sales strategies related to your customers. 

These programs will support you in planning and executing your cold calls for maximum efficiency and effectiveness.

50. Learn how to navigate gatekeepers. 

When it comes to getting in touch with the bigwigs, you’re going to have to deal with gatekeepers. 

Whether it’s a rock star’s agent, a CEO’s public spokesperson, or the office manager of a small business, there will always be somebody handling access to your target audience. It’s essential to develop your skills at charming these people and persuading them to grant you entrance to Shangri-la.

Be polite, yet exude confidence. Treat the gatekeeper as a resource, rather than an obstacle. It’s a good idea to mention your connections to the company and why you are calling. Refer to the person you’re seeking by their first name. It will create a sense of familiarity. 

Be honest with the gatekeeper about your intentions and work to align with their goals and expectations. If you can win them over, a private conversation with the right person is as good as yours. 

51. Take breaks, especially after a bad call.

If you’ve got any experience as a cold caller, you know all too well about bad calls. I’m not just talking about a hang-up, a conversation cut short, or a disinterested prospect. I’m talking about the kind of interaction that leaves you questioning your sanity, your morality, your personal well-being, and, at the very least, your career choice. 

When you’ve just gotten off the line from a disaster of epic proportions, it’s important to take a step back and take a break from your work. If you’re upset or angry, that emotion is going to carry over to your next call. Give yourself a chance to process the call and get back to a calmer baseline before you get back on the phone. 

Remember, cold calling is an ultra-marathon, not a 100-yard dash. You’re going to need to refuel, reset, and retool your approach as you go if you expect to succeed in the long run. 

Five or ten minutes getting ready for your next call, rather than letting one bad prospect spin your day out of control, is well worth the time. So take a break — you deserve it. 

52. Take notes and reflect. 

After you’ve had a chance to process a cold call and record any essential information in your CRM, it’s always a good idea to take a minute to pause, reflect and write down any thoughts or reactions you had about the call. This doesn’t need to be a bleeding heart “Diary of a Sales Rep,” but a running log of observations will help you to take a step back from your work and see things from a clearer perspective.

Before you start your next work day, look over your notes from the day before. This moment of reflection will help you notice your successes and areas for improvement, and mentally prepare for the work ahead. As time goes by, you’ll be astonished by how much growth and experience you’ve gained as a salesperson. 

53. Debrief with your team.

Periodically, after a particularly rough call, and especially when you’ve landed a big sale, it can be useful to go over what happened with your team. Verbalizing the events that led to your breakthrough or downfall will help you to process what you’re dealing with and better understand what’s working and what isn’t. 

It’s also helpful to hear from other people who are going through the same situations as you. By sharing this knowledge and experience with others, we can broaden our perspective and gain key insights into useful strategies and stumbling blocks. It also helps to clear the air and reset your mind for the challenge ahead.

54. Don’t take it personally. 

It’s easy to feel offended, disrespected, or downright lousy when a cold call doesn’t go your way. It’s key to remember that no matter how rude or inflexible a prospect may be, it’s not about you. Don’t take it personally when someone hangs up, calls you nasty names, or puts down your product. Rejection is part of the game when you’re putting yourself out there on the line day in and day out. If you do have an emotional reaction, take a break and reset your energy before continuing with your work. 

55. The numbers don’t lie. Sales will come. 

While we’ve established that cold calling success rates are generally quite low, salespeople will have success if they stick with it and adhere to proven sales practices. Some people will take your calls — it’s only a matter of time. 

Nearly 70% of buyers accepted a call from a new salesperson in the past 12 months. (Rain Group)

So, while we all hit a rough patch from time to time, the law of averages dictates that things will eventually balance out for talented, hard-working salespeople. Sometimes you just need to keep going until you find the prospect that’s been waiting for your solution for longer than you know. 

56. Be persistent.

No cold caller finds success on every call. It just doesn’t happen. Even stringing together multiple sales in a row can be a rare occurrence. Ask any successful sales rep and they’ll tell you: building your skills and confidence as a cold caller takes time. 

It takes an average of 18 or more dials to reach a tech prospect with cold calling. (LinkedIn)

It’s sort of like fishing. You’re going to cast your line a whole lot more times than you reel in a catch. 

57. Keep following up.

Too many salespeople make the mistake of giving up on a hot prospect after one failed attempt to land a sale. Data shows that it typically takes multiple calls to reach the point of sale, or even pin down a meeting. 

80% of sales require 5 follow-up calls or more. (IRC Sales Solutions)

Just because things didn’t go your way right away doesn’t mean it’s time to throw in the towel. Smart cold callers keep following up with their prospects, knowing that each successive attempt increases the odds of getting the conversation they’re looking for. 

58. Work on your voicemail skills. 

If you’re going to work as a cold caller, you better accept the fact that you’re going to be leaving a lot of voicemails. 

80% of sales calls go to voicemail. (Hubspot)

You’ll want to keep the length of your message between 20 and 30 seconds. Lead with the information that is most relevant to the prospect, and ask a question that you wouldn’t necessarily pose in an email. 

Speak slowly and clearly in a relaxed and confident tone. Mention your follow-up plans, whether that’s an additional phone call or an email. Although most phones are equipped with caller ID, be sure to share your contact information so they can easily get in touch with you. 

59. Embrace the grind. 

Half the battle of being a successful cold caller is simply showing up every day and dialing those numbers. With its generally low success rates, cold calling takes persistence, dedication, and a thick skin. 

See yourself as the chiseled, wizened sales professional that you are. Embrace the sales persona and lean into the grind of this age-old sales strategy. You will get better over time if you keep practicing and refining your skills. 

60. Celebrate your success.

At the end of the day, it’s important to acknowledge your accomplishments, especially when you’re doing something as challenging as cold calling. Every time you have a productive conversation, book a meeting, or make a sale, take a moment to recognize the hard work you put into this success. 

If you don’t taste the fruits of your labor, you may quickly tire yourself out and lose your motivation. So, celebrate your success as a cold caller. After all, you’ve earned it. 


Now that you’ve read this ultimate list of cold-calling tips, you’re ready to take on one of the most demanding, yet proven sales strategies, to grow your market. Keep this list on hand as you work through your cold calls to remind yourself of what works in this classic profession.

Cold Calling Tips FAQs

How can I make a positive first impression during a cold call?

To make a positive first impression, introduce yourself confidently, speak clearly, and be friendly. Ensure you have a well-rehearsed elevator pitch that highlights the value of your offering. Listen to your prospect and answer their questions in an efficient and helpful manner. Be prepared to set a follow-up appointment if they are busy or would prefer to talk at another time.

How can I handle objections effectively during a cold call?

To handle objections, actively listen to the prospect’s concerns, empathize with their perspective, and respond with relevant information or examples that address their specific objection. Before making a cold call, anticipate objections you may receive and plan how to respond.

How do I overcome the fear of cold calling?

Overcoming the fear of cold calling takes practice and a positive mindset. Prepare adequately, remember that rejection is a normal part of the process, and focus on the value you can provide to potential customers. Celebrate each call as a learning opportunity and work to see the positive aspects of every conversation.

How can I measure the success of my cold-calling efforts?

You can measure the success of your cold calling by tracking metrics such as the number of calls made, the number of positive responses, the conversion rate to sales or appointments, and the feedback received. Regularly review and analyze these metrics to identify areas for improvement. An analytical CRM can help to organize and make sense of the mountains of data related to your cold calls.