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How To Cold Call And Close More Deals18 minutes read

As a consumer — we all hate getting unsolicited calls to be sold on credit cards and overpriced barbeque grills. But imagine getting called by a recruiter at a dream company you always wished to work for since you were a teen. Or getting a call from a company that wants to partner up and work on a collaboration that could benefit you both. 

Cold calls have gotten a bad reputation — and that’s because only few people know how to cold call right. Cheaper calling and data costs have made it easier for everyone to pick up the phone, which has lowered the barriers for scrappy sales teams.

Throughout this guide, we’ll learn how to cold call, and do it in a way to delight your prospect and qualify them for sales. 

Starting with the fundamentals, let’s explore what a cold call is.

What is a cold call?

A cold call is an outbound phone call made to leads who haven’t yet shown their interest in your product or service yet. In B2B sales, SDRs make cold calls in hopes to qualify a lead for their need and intent for their product or service(or educate them), so they can then be passed on to AEs and Managers.

As cool and convenient it might sound — cold calling does come with some caveats. In some regions, administrators do have regulations around unsolicited cold calls made to consumers. Apart from this — services like Truecaller make it so that frequent cold callers can be easily recognized and blocked. 

Suffice to say — if your intent to cold call is heavily skewed towards “closing” — you’re likely to get reported and blocked, which defeats the purpose behind cold calling. But if done right, the benefits of cold calls can easily trump these shortcomings.

Key Benefits Of Cold Calling For Sales 

Supplements Your Sales Pipeline

Oftentimes, marketing channels that make up for sales opportunities in your sales pipeline can fall short on targets. Cold calling makes for a fairly easy way to supplement a deficit. This is because phone numbers are easy to find using tools and directories. And with the kind of data available today, it’s easier to qualify leads before calling. Better qualification enables you to avoid connecting with irrelevant leads. 

Generates Instant Feedback

With traditional outreach and marketing methods like email, website content, etc., feedback isn’t instantaneous. Calls on the other end, require your leads to make quick decisions and provide feedback on the spot. This helps in speeding up the sales process, making it quicker to cycle through leads and refine the process at the same time.

Direct Connection To Leads

Another great advantage of reaching out to leads via cold calls is that you get direct access to your customers. This further helps speed things up with each deal where you’d need direct feedback and communication with your customers and decision-makers within the target accounts. This is especially true in case your leads are busy executives and business owners, who usually have assistants filter out their emails and social media messages. Phones avoid these obstacles and give you the ability to directly interact with your leads.

Cold calls are tricky, sure — but you can’t ignore the obvious ways it can help your sales team find more prospects. Next, we’ll explore how to set up and operate a cold-calling sales process to make the most of your lead generation efforts.

7 Step Cold Calling Process

Generate Leads

To be a cold caller — you would need a list of leads to reach out to. Fortunately, it’s fairly easy to find phone numbers, compared to say, emails. Using local directories like Yellow Pages, Yelp, etc., you can find your leads and their contact numbers. You could also use tools like Zoominfo to collect phone numbers of leads in your target accounts and later qualify and call them up.

Based on what you’re selling — you’ll have to filter out leads based on several criteria. For example, if your target market is made up of restaurant owners, you’ll have to filter out all other businesses from your leads list/database. If you’re finding leads online using various tools, look for leads first on networks like Twitter or Linkedin, and then find their contact details using tools.

Qualify and segment leads 

Before you can reach out to leads over the phone — it is important to consider if the person on the other end might need you. If that’s not the case, not only are you less likely to close, but you’ll also end up annoying your lead. This is counterintuitive to the sales process and makes your lead want to avoid and block you. 

This is why you should qualify your cold calling leads on a high level, so you can avoid contacting irrelevant leads. Calling up leads that are more likely to listen to you increases your chances of conversion. It also saves others from the annoyance of getting cold called randomly. Based on how well your cold leads database is enriched, you can use the fields to segment and qualify the contacts or leads based on their geography, business vertical, number of employees, etc. This will enable you to reach out to each of these segments with a separate approach and script based on their needs and how your products solve them. 

Dial Qualified Leads

Once you’ve qualified and segmented your cold leads – start calling them in a set cadence. Start with the segment that is most likely to convert, and go down from there. This will allow you to hook onto good leads earlier and deal with others towards the end, and spend less time on each lead as you go. Use sales diallers with integrated solutions to record and transcribe your calls, so you can document them for later.

Also, be mindful of your contact number reputation – some dialler tools have this built-in. But if you routinely call from your company cell with the same outgoing number, there’s a likelihood that you might get blacklisted at some point. Both Android and iOS have utilities built into them to block spam calls. So when someone eventually reports your number as spam, you’ll get blocked on a lot of other devices as well.

Ask Qualifying Questions

Once you’ve got the lead on the other end of the call engaged with your pitch, it’s time to qualify them a level deeper. Ask them more questions regarding their problems. This will enable you to qualify them further, as in which features might be of the most use to them. It’ll also help you judge their intent and prioritize each lead better when they’ve been passed on to the Accounts or Inside sales team.

Qualification questions can be ones around the problems your leads are currently facing. What it’s costing them, what have they tried to solve it before, etc. Make the questions engaging enough so they’re the ones talking most of the time — making it easier for you to listen and capture as much information as you can.

Plan Next Steps

When you’ve gotten into talking terms with a now warm prospect, figure out ways to move them to the next stages of the conversation. Most of the time – the objective is to get them to book time with your Account Managers. Oftentimes, leads can also have objections against moving forward with demo calls — they might need time to think, etc. Either way – once you’ve positively engaged with a lead, make sure you don’t part the call without deciding on the next set of actions towards closure.

For example, if the lead says they wouldn’t want to continue without extended trials, or discounted pricing for the first few billing cycles, etc, the next step should be to confirm the same with the Accounts team and getting back to your lead. Or follow-up on an agreed date with your lead when they’ve mentioned they didn’t have time in the current week. 

Follow-up

There’ll be times when your leads will show positive signs and interest in your products. Only to later disappear or ghost you. This is very likely to happen, especially when you’re approaching leads cold. However, just because there’s no initiative from the lead’s side, doesn’t mean the potential for a deal has died. Make follow-up calls, get their attention back and engage them with better deals, terms, etc. so they find it easy to move forward.

Also, don’t limit your follow-ups to phone calls. Use other channels like social media and email. Just like phone numbers, you could use tools and databases to find your leads’ email addresses. Emails aren’t as intrusive as phone calls – so the tolerance for follow-ups is higher. Emails also give you the ability to send multimedia files and attachments, which makes it a great medium to nurture your cold call leads on. You can use sales engagement tools like SalesHandy to automate your email follow-ups and remove the legwork out of the equation.

Pass Prospects On To AEs

After you’re done following up and priming the leads for the next stage – Demo calls, and have gotten them to agree to hop on one, pass them onto your Account Execs or Managers. You might be part of a smaller team and are the SDR-cum-Account Manager. In which case, jump on scheduled calls a few minutes before time and follow up if you sense a no-show. 

Once you hand off leads from SDRs to Account Executives, the medium of communication also tends to change. It usually goes from phone to something more formal, like emails. Emails are the preferred mode of communication for most businesses. So once your cold lead is warm-ish, you can switch over to engaging them over emails. Emails can be used to share calendar invites, pitch decks, etc, unlike how it is with phone calls. So following up, booking meetings and closing cold leads over emails gets easier, once you’ve nurtured them over phone calls.

Here are a few cold calling tips and tricks that will further help you understand how to cold call for sales and convert more leads.

Bonus Tips and Strategies

Avoid closed-ended conversations

Asking open-ended questions gives your lead the opportunity to tell you their story in greater depth. This helps you know and understand them better, which is crucial to move forward in the sales process. Ask questions starting with ”how” and “why”, which demand a more lengthy and descriptive response. 

Leverage social proof

When you talk about how your product has already helped other related businesses to your leads, it makes it easier for them to trust you. This is partly because it helps them understand the product’s impact better. And partly because of FOMO (Fear of Missing Out). If you have an existing set of prestigious/well-known customers, talk about them. Also tell how your product impacted them, ideally with the help of numbers.

Be mindful of their time

Another consideration to keep in mind when you’re cold calling is to respect your leads’ time. When you call a contact, it’s likely that they aren’t prepared or ready to talk regarding your product. This is the case because you’re making an unsolicited call. Don’t be overly pushy – judge their intent to speak based on their tone and responses. Once you feel they’re comfortable, then move towards the rest of the call.

Go out of your way

Most cold calls are low-effort, and rightly so, because of low conversion rates and small ticket sizes. This presents you a great opportunity to differentiate yourself by putting in some extra effort into the engagement.

Tone it right

When you’re talking to your lead over the phone, they can very much be influenced by your tone of voice. Be intentional with your tone – convey how much your product matters to your lead. Also try to communicate how much you care about them through your tone of voice. Jordan Belfort details this very well in the video below.

THE PERFECT OPENING TO A COLD-CALL | Whiteboard Wednesday

Expect and embrace objections

When you’re making unsolicited, cold calls, it’s important to understand that you might face objections and rejections from leads. By internalizing the fact, and expecting objections is essential to be able to make productive conversations with your leads. When you are faced with objections over a call, respond to them positively and offer them the next best solution. End the call on a positive note. When time comes and you’d need to connect with them again, it shouldn’t feel awkward or desperate.

Now that we’ve seen the process behind how to cold call and close customers, let’s look at a few examples of cold calling scripts you can use to pitch your products.

6 great cold calling scripts

General script – do you have a XYZ problem?

Hi, am I speaking with {contact name}? My name is {your name} and I’m the {title} at {company name}

I came across your profile on {online publication} where you talked about how your company’s business has been thriving despite the few glitches around {problem your product solves}. 

Can you tell me more about this — how much is this costing you in lost opportunities and revenue? I work for {product/company name} and I think I can help. We’ve helped {competitors} in the past and they’ve made an average of {revenue improvement} back. Do you think {contact’s org} would be interested in exploring {product}?

[Negative response]: 
I completely understand, no worries at all. Can you connect me with someone who I can talk in depth about {problem}? I’d really appreciate it if you could help me find the right person here.

[Positive response]: 
Great! If you could spare some time this week, I’d love to give you a detailed walkthrough of our product, and we can discuss how we can integrate it with {contacts’ org} better. Do you have 30 mins on your calendar tomorrow? I can send you an invite over email right away.

I was referred by a mutual contact

Hi, am I speaking with {contact name}? My name is {your name} and I’m the {title} at {company name}

{mutual contact} told me a lot of good things about you, and I really am looking forward to discussing {contact’s org} with you. How have things been around {problem your product solves}? I wanted to see where I could help - your expertise being {function}, I thought we could work together to unlock revenue and cost efficiency for {contact’s org}. Would you be interested to see how we could help you with {product}?

[Negative response]:
Absolutely, I understand. In that case - would you mind me following up with you regarding [objection] in the next few weeks? I feel we really could do something about {contact’s org}’s {problem your product solves}. Either way, I see we have nothing to lose.

[Positive response]:
Perfect - let me send you a calendar invite. Can I just text it to you or would you prefer to have it over email? Let me know, so we can discuss things over this week itself and get things moving. 

I have heard xyz about you

Hi {contact name} - I’m {your name}, the {title} at {company name}. I’m a huge fan of your work and wanted to introduce myself and find a way for us to work together.

I was talking to a few colleagues and advisors recently and they’ve all told me about how you turned around {project} at {contact’s org}. Would you mind telling me more about how you’re managing {problem your product solves}? We’ve helped companies like {company 1}, {company 2}, and more with this and feel {contact’s org} could also be a great fit. Would you be interested in knowing how integrating with {product} could help drive significant improvements in {outcomes}?

[Negative response]: 
No problem! Can we stay in touch over email and [social platforms]? I’d love to keep up with your updates at {contact’s org} and we can explore this some other time.

[Positive response]:
Okay, how about I take you on a full product demo over a call this week, and then we continue the discussion from there? I’ll send over an invite to my calendar.

What was it like working for {contact’s old org}

Hi - am I speaking with {contact name}? I’m {your name}, and I work as the {title} at {company name}.

I see that you got to work at {contact’s old org}. They’ve been a client of ours and at one point we were generating an extra {outcome} for them. What was it like working at {contact’s old org}? Now that you’ve joined {contact’s new org}, are you facing the same challenges with {problem your product solves}? Why not explore {product} and see if it helps?

[Negative response]:
Yes, I get it. Thanks for letting me know. If things do change and you feel like you could still utilize {product}, please do reach out. I’ll have my assistant send out my visiting card with my details on it. Wish you the best!

[Positive response]:
Alright, let me send you a calendar invite to book a slot this week, and we can go through the product in detail and take the discussion further. Meanwhile, if you have any questions, don’t hesitate to call or text me on my number.

Would you like XYZ at [XX]% off?

Hi, am I speaking with {contact name}? Hi, I’m {your name}, {title} at {company name}. 

I recently came across {contact’s org} and since then have spent a lot of time learning more about your business. I’m really intrigued by it, and would want to dive deeper into your approach towards {problem your product solves}. {product} has greatly helped {competing companies} and generated some great outcomes. Based on a few specifics, I’m ready to offer you a {X}% discount. What do you think of it?

[Negative response]:
No problem! I just wanted you to know about the ongoing campaign. I’ll hold my offer for another couple of weeks, in case you change your mind. If you do, please ring me back on my number. Or alternatively, I can follow-up over a text the day we close the discount campaign.

[Positive response]:
Awesome! I’ll have my assistant schedule a demo call with you this week and we can go over all the details, and I’ll also give you a walkthrough of the product. How does that sound?

Are you hiring for XYZ roles?

Hi, am I speaking with {contact name}? I’m {your name} at {company} and I help companies like {contact’s org} solve for {problem your product solves}

I saw that you were hiring for {XYZ} roles on linkedin. I thought of reaching out to you since you were heading the {function} department. Most of the new openings seem to be focused on helping {contact’s org} with {problem your product solves}. {Product} could very well be the solution to this - minus the hassles around hiring, training and retaining talent. Would you like to know more about it?

[Negative response]:
Hey, no problem! If this still bugs you, or you need recommendations for hiring good engineers  - let me know, I have a few good recruiters I can introduce you to. 

[Positive response]:
Let’s then get on a call where I can demo the product to you. I’ll text or email you the link to my calendar and we can get things moving soon as possible. Thanks for your time!

Find good leads, Follow-up and Delight them

A lot of thought leaders and influencers might believe and preach that cold calling is dead. But there’s still plenty of ways you could make it work. Most of which goes back to the first principles of sales outreach and engagement. Finding good leads will enable you to have more productive conversations, which will lead to more conversions. Furthermore, following up and going out of your way to delight your leads will add on to the experience and help you close more deals.

Set up your cold calling process based on your team’s targets – generate a top funnel of leads to call. Also have a cadence of activities to follow-up over email and social channels, and convert them within your sales cycle. Ultimately, great cold calling techniques don’t scale much without processes in place, and the same is true when learning how to make cold calls.

How has cold calling worked for you? Share you experience, tips and advice below!

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