13 cold call tips to make more sales (with definition)

Updated 25 May 2023

Organisations that focus on sales employ several strategies to bring in customers and increase their revenue. One of these strategies is cold calling, which is particularly useful for organisations that lack sufficient existing customers. If you're looking to enter a sales position, learning about the best ways to handle cold calling may make your job much easier. In this article, we explain what a cold calling strategy is and provide a list of 13 cold call tips to you make more sales.

What is a cold call strategy?

A cold call strategy is an approach to sales and marketing that focuses on using unsolicited leads to make a sale. Unsolicited leads stem from prospective customer interactions where the consumer doesn't express any direct interest in the product or service offered. This means that consumers might not even know about the product or service in the first place, which makes cold calling quite a difficult sales strategy to employ effectively.

Organisations that use cold calling strategies tend to acquire a list of leads via a subscription or through networking activities. As the consumer isn't expecting contact from the organisation, it's the salesperson's job to convince them to purchase the product or service in question. If you're looking to start a job that uses cold calling, you might consider using a pre-written script to guide the conversation.

Related: What is cold calling? A definitive guide (with advantages)

13 cold call tips

To help you make more sales, observe this list of 13 cold call tips:

Research your leads

Although cold calling means the organisation lacks an established relationship with the target customer, you may still perform due diligence by researching them before the call. Researching your leads gives you lots of insight and details that might help you when contacting them. If you learn more about your leads, you have the opportunity to personalise your interactions, make them feel valued and offer them products or services in a way that resonates with them.

For example, you might know the general location or postcode of your leads, so you might use this to talk about specific amenities or events in that area. By bringing in details the prospect knows about, you make it easier to build rapport quickly and convince them to buy your offerings.

Related: What is lead generation in business? A beginners guide

Follow relevant industry trends

If your prospect list stems from a particular sector or industry, research some of the current trends, changes in legislation or other notable developments related to it. This creates talking points and further chances to build rapport. You may also use these trends or developments to sell your offerings by connecting your products or services with a particular pain point that stems from these changes, developments or trends.

Related: List of 10 modern business trends for you to consider

Write a script

Using a script ensures that you cover the most salient points during your pitch. Additionally, a script acts as a foundation for you to refer to if you start struggling. Your script might include basic information about your offerings, ways to handle possible objections or even verbatim content for you to read from.

Make sure your script offers short, snappy points to grab the prospect's attention and keep the conversation flowing. There are a few ways to optimise your script, such as bringing in different approaches to start conversations with prospects. For example, you might want to inject a shared interest or talking point to start the conversation, followed by a statement that highlights your product or service as a useful asset for the prospect.

Related: How to create a successful cold call script, plus examples

Know your targets

When working in sales, it helps to know how many sales you intend to make. This gives you an idea of how much progress you've made and how many more sales you require to meet your target. Use a spreadsheet to monitor your cold calls over specific periods, like hours or shifts. This information gives you insight into how long it takes you to contact a prospect, how many calls on average it takes to make a sale and other useful data points.

Related: Sales targets: what they are and how to create and use them

Use a local telephone number if calling prospects

If you're cold calling via telephone rather than by email or in person, make sure you use a local telephone number if possible. Using a local telephone number increases your chances of the prospect answering the call. International telephone numbers or area codes that prospects aren't familiar with give the impression that the call is spam, which results in fewer answered calls.

Role-play your cold call interaction

One way to prepare for your cold call is by role-playing the scenario with friends, family members or colleagues. This helps you identify potential problems or challenges beforehand, giving you ample time to consider any possible solutions. It also lets you practise your script and ensure that it flows smoothly during an actual conversation. Once you're ready, start role-playing calls where you take on the role of the cold caller while the other person acts as the prospect. After the role-play, ask for feedback, advice or any other useful criticisms to improve your interactions.

Related: Role-play scenarios and a guide for their application

Speak to the right person

One of the most effective ways to improve your cold calling is by properly vetting callers so that you're always talking to the right person. For example, many larger organisations employ people who specifically handle purchasing decisions. To improve your success rate during cold calls, make sure you speak to these people, as they're better equipped to make a possible purchase. To do this, research the organisation and try to find the right person, then ask for them directly.

Make your cold call at the right time

Different industries have different working schedules, so try to determine the best time to make your cold call. There are a few ways to do this, such as bringing in tracking software to analyse when your leads are most likely available throughout the day. For example, you might find that most of your leads prefer morning calls instead of afternoon calls.

Make the call personal

A great way to quickly and effectively build a rapport with prospects is by making the call personal rather than strictly professional. This varies from person to person, but try to add some casual conversation throughout the call to make the prospect feel more comfortable. Bring in some of the main talking points from your script to bring the focus back to the sale.

Related: How to practise rapport building (with tips and examples)

Talk about the prospect and any pain points

If you identify any pain points or issues the prospect might be dealing with, use this information to tailor the call further. You might do this by using probing questions to determine their issues and finding ways to discuss how your offerings help with those issues. Allow the prospect to open up throughout the call, giving you more time to pick up on any issues or other talking points to keep the conversation moving.

Keep your questions open-ended

Another way to keep the conversation flowing smoothly is to always ask open-ended questions that require more than a simple yes or no response. By employing open-ended questions, you give the prospect an opportunity to speak at length about their issues. One way of doing this is by using the five was, which include who, what, when, where and why.

Make it specific

Transforming a cold call into a warm one usually involves tailoring the conversation to the prospect. Make sure you aren't being too vague in your messaging and offer clear talking points. It also helps to articulate well and provide key information about your offerings. Refer these points back to any pain points or issues the prospect faces.

Don't be afraid to leave a message

If you've attempted your cold call but not managed to contact the prospect directly, don't give up and move on to the next call. Instead, leave a message so that they may get back to you. For this to work, ensure you leave a brief message introducing who you are and why you were calling. Add urgency to the message, such as a time limit for a deal. Use their name to make the message personal. If you haven't heard back after a week or two, give them another call.

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How to Create and Use a Cold Call Tracking Sheet

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