Table of Contents
- Get to know your customer
- Strategically plan your approach
- Make a great first impression
- Keep your prospect engrossed
- Offer an incentive
- Call when prospects will actually answer
- Be persistent and learn from your mistakes
- Don’t be afraid to leave a voicemail or DM
- Invest in the right tools and technologies
- Use KPIs to measure success
- Cold Calling lessons from the movie ‘The Pursuit of Happyness’
- Artificial Intelligence is transforming B2B sales
- To summarize
Unlike the ’80s when blindly cold calling people worked just fine, today you need to know who you’re calling, what interests them, and how to convert cold leads into paying customers. In this blog, we discuss 10 cold calling tips that both B2B and B2C sales reps can benefit from,
This blog is put together from the data gathered by a few of the most popular sales software in 2022 like
based on an analysis of millions of sales calls, so you can improve your cold calling techniques.
Get to know your customer
You must be able to build trust and keep your customer actively engaged in the conversation from the minute you say ‘hello’. To do so, you must first ‘know’ your customer.
Strategize and be prepared
In B2B sales, one of the most essential cold calling techniques is to prepare for a cold call, much as you would for a sales call, and only contact prospects who are qualified.
To do this well, you require a list of your B2B prospect accounts with detailed personas. Your personas should have information like:
- Prospect’s needs, interests, and pain points
- Prospect’s industry trends
- Latest news or updates about their company
- Specific ways how your product offers them value
Research your prospect online
Find out everything you can about them online. This will help you engage them in a sales conversation that is relevant and tailored to their needs.
You can start with the B2B company’s website. It should contain a list of all employees and their contact information.
Use LinkedIn Sales Insights to look for connections or people that work at the company you want to call. By using Sales Insights, you can see both the data and the profiles of companies that interest you.
- Define your target buyers and users right down to the department level and job title
- Filter on industry, growth, and overall headcount.
This gives you essential information for predicting their pain points.
Now, do the same for the person you’re planning to call.
Look at their LinkedIn profile. Their profile will tell you more about them than any other source. Check if you have common connections.
Also, look for key phrases mentioned in their profile descriptions. This can help you initiate the conversation based on their interest.
Deepak Gawas – Head Of Product Marketing – ewiz commerce
Let’s evaluate the profile above.
You can use the details from Deepak’s profile to approach him in a similar dialect. You could say something like:
“Hi Deepak, This is XYZ calling from XYZ. I found your meme on LinkedIn really interesting! The one on ‘Insane cold calling fails’.
I was wondering if your organization would be interested in a sales calling tool that has improved cold calling success rates by 85% this year. Is this a good time to talk?”
Simply put, your prospect’s own words will resonate with them more than yours ever will.
You can also research your prospects with a simple Google search with their name or their company. This will help you find out if there is any recent activity or news related to them on literally any site on the internet.
Don’t forget to check out their social media pages like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat too! These can help you find personal information about their likes and dislikes that you can subtly use in your personalized sales script as well.
For cold calling to succeed, you need to know who you’re calling and what information you can use to resonate with them, so be sure to follow this cold calling tip thoroughly.
Strategically plan your approach
Strategizing and planning your approach are some of the most important cold calling techniques that B2B salespeople need to develop. And to get this right, you need to:
Ease your prospects in with ads
This is one of the cold calling tips that allow you to warm your prospects before calling them. Create a targeted social media ad for the list of B2B buyers you want to call. Let the ad campaign go on for a week.
So, whenever they scroll through their LinkedIn, Facebook, or Instagram, they will see your ad. This will subtly introduce your company to them and create awareness of your brand.
When you call them after this, they will be more receptive to what you have to say because they are already aware of your brand and the ads have swayed them to believe that your product will offer them value.
Use trigger events as your point of entry
To master cold calling, you need to keep up with a variety of online news sources to identify when to approach B2B buyers or identify easy-to-convert leads. You can do this by setting up Google Alerts to stay on top of new hires, company expansions, mergers, etc.
For example, you could convince a newly promoted sales VP to buy your product, which will help him to save costs and increase sales. This will likely work for you because he would want to prove his value to the company and be easy to persuade.
Prepare for potential objections and FAQs
If your cold calling script is personalized, you will always have room to manage common objections and FAQs.
Although it feels challenging, it is a good sign that your B2B prospect has knowledge of the market since educated prospects are more likely to close. Have your answers ready to deal with these objections in the most positive way.
Getting to know your customer is one of the most important cold calling tips that marketers need to follow. And this is mainly because the rest of your conversion strategy simply cannot work if you get this wrong.
Make a great first impression
Let’s be honest. The chances of a B2B buyer entertaining you on your first call are slim to none.
And this is why your introduction sets the tone for the entire sales conversation.
Here’s what you need to do to get your introduction right:
State your full name
Introducing yourself with your full name commands respect.
This is how it sounds:
“Hi Janet, this is Jovita Mendonca calling from ewiz commerce…”
It works because
- Whenever you meet people, they give you their full names.
- By stating your name and the name of your company upfront, you maintain control.
- When you’re the one asking questions, you can control the conversation.
If you don’t state your name and your company’s name upfront, the prospect will ask questions like “Who is this?” or “What company are you with?”
Ultimately, this puts you on the defensive, which is bad.
Don’t ask, “Did I catch you at a bad time?”
Cold calls that opened with this line had a 0.9% success rate.
Here’s what to do instead.
Ask “How’ve you been?” instead
So, why does this particular question work so much better than any other?
It is a completely unexpected pattern interrupt that baffles the prospect in a good way!
Tell them why you’re calling
This is one of the cold calling tips that can be the difference between you booking a meeting or the prospect hanging up on your face!
Use collaborative language (“we” instead of “I”)
You need to view yourself as the biggest team player of all when you contact B2B buyers for the first time. This means using words like “I” and “Me” is a big NO.
Successful cold calls have a We-to-I ratio that is approximately 35% higher than unsuccessful ones. Similarly, their Our-to-My ratios are 55% higher.
A successful call also included collaborative words like “ourselves” and “us.”
Getting your opening right is one of the cold calling tips that really work. And ultimately, it will help you to book more meetings and close more sales.
Keep your prospect engrossed
You need to keep your B2B prospects interested throughout the conversation. And to do this, you need to
Do everything you can to buy time
Furthermore, successful cold calls are twice as long as unsuccessful ones.
Your job is to keep your prospect’s attention throughout the entire sales conversation. And to do this well, you need to build a clear conversion path and follow it.
One of the most important tips for cold calling scripts is to remove each and every unnecessary word from your sales script.
Know your talk-to-listen ratio
Listen more, and talk less does NOT apply to cold calling. The whole point of this call is selling a meeting. And to sell, you need to talk.
Your job on a cold call is to sell the meeting. You can ask them about their priorities later.
Have a different approach for different people
Different words will resonate with different people. And your job as a B2B sales rep is to figure out and use words or phrases that will resonate with each B2B buyer individually and allow you to book a meeting.
Own the conversation to convince your prospect
Sales reps speak more on cold calls than on other types of sales calls (in those calls, you listen more and speak less). That’s because to get a prospect to agree to a meeting, you must first inform and educate, and then you convince.
They also involve more frequent monologues (70% more 5+ second monologues) from the sales rep—20 monologues as opposed to 12.
Don’t ask too many questions
Another one of the most important cold calling tips for B2B sales teams is to limit the number of questions they ask. A few tactically placed questions here and there can help get you the information you need to personalize your sales pitch, but anything more is completely unnecessary.
There is no significant difference in the number of questions asked by the rep during successful cold calls and unsuccessful ones.
Create a highly personalized pitch for why the buyer should participate in a meeting instead. Intelligent pre-call research combined with economical questions is your best bet.
Ask “Yes” or “No” questions
“Can you tell me about your sales goals this quarter?”
This question seems like it would get you lots and lots of details about your prospect, right?
Wrong. Nobody wants to answer open-ended questions from a stranger.
The prospect is actually evaluating whether or not it is even worth talking to you at this point. And frankly, they might just be waiting to just drop the call.
So only ask them easy questions that they can answer fast. This can help you steer the sales conversation in the direction you want instead.
“Would you like to know how our product help improve B2B sales calls by 85% this year?”
The answer could be a yes or no. If it’s a yes, you can move on to offering them a strong value proposition. If it’s a no, you can simply insist on emailing them a report and they can look at it whenever they want to.
Let the prospect respond too!
Just because you have to talk more on cold calls, it doesn’t mean you can’t give the prospect a chance to respond. Your call should begin as a monologue but then evolve into a two-way conversation.
In this case, you’ve educated the customer enough (in a really short time) to engage them in a real discussion.
It’s important to say your bit and then shut up. Silence is good, it means they’re thinking! Sit back and handle the objections as they come. Also, don’t be afraid to say “I’ve been referred to…”— Ryan Doyle, Owner, Magic Sales Bot
One of the most critical cold calling tips is to know what to say and when. And if you fumble, all your cold calling efforts will go down the drain.
Offer an incentive
Now that your prospect is engaged and listening to what you’re saying, it’s time to make your pitch and sell the meeting.
Strategically offer your value proposition
A generic pitch that boils down to “Our product is the best in the world” will never work. Ever.
Have a look at this pitch analyzed by Gong.io instead.
Here are the steps you need to take to have a successful cold call:
- Start by referring to the competition to get the prospect interested.
- Describe a pain point to show the prospect that you know what he cares about or struggles with.
- Give a solution to eliminating the pain point without directly mentioning the product or service.
- Finally, sell the meeting while making the prospect feel in control with the phrase “You can judge that for yourself”.
Did you notice that the product or service wasn’t directly mentioned even once?
This is one of the cold calling tips that can ultimately be the reason you convert uninterested prospects as well!
Book the meeting and schedule your next steps
Close your call by asking, “Do you have a calendar handy?” And then wait until they pencil in the meeting in their calendar.
Devote a lot of time to discussing the next steps at the end of every sales call because “Next Steps” consumed about half of the sales conversation in most of the conversations analyzed by Gong.
Call when prospects will actually answer
You know how hard it is to do cold calls and keep a B2B buyer engaged. So, why not do it in days and times that statistically work?
- The best days to make calls
This is because Mondays are for transitioning back into work and Fridays are spent gearing up for the weekend. So prospects don’t really want to start new sales relationships at that time.
However, on Wednesday and Thursday, prospects have already transitioned into the workweek and probably won’t find your call an interruption.
The best times to make calls
The worst time to call is early morning between 8:00 a.m. and 9:00 a.m. when prospects are rushing to work. And they will probably spend the first hour or two taking care of urgent business.
However, these times can work for people who start their days really early or end them really late.
Reaching B2B prospects at the right time is undoubtedly one of the cold calling techniques that will save you unnecessary work. And frankly, if you try it out, you’ll see the difference in your answer rates almost overnight!\
Be persistent and learn from your mistakes
One of the most obvious yet effective cold calling tips is to be persistent. The more you call your B2B prospect, the higher the chance that your prospect will recognize you and talk to you.
Even then, there is a chance that you’ll face rejections. And when this happens, you need to:
Be willing to accept rejection
When you face rejections, ask the prospects for feedback. You could say something like:
“I appreciate your honesty. The hardest thing about my job is not knowing whether we can help someone. Do you mind telling me why you don’t think we can help you?”
There will also be times when prospects are rude to you. Try not to take it personally and find humor where you can. But that is easier said than done.
One way to find humor in such situations is to create a chat group for your team where they can share funny stories about their experiences.
Leave with something to show for your efforts
Even if our cold call is unsuccessful (this time), leave with something. Convert the objection into an opportunity.
If you get answers like:
“I don’t have time right now”
“I’m not interested”
“I’m not the right person”
Address them positively and go for a secondary ask.
If they say, “I don’t have time right now”, say something like:
“I understand that you’re busy at the moment. May I know what time is convenient for you to speak and I can call you back then?”
Here’s what was done in just these two sentences.
- Validate and label the objection: Show that you understand and make the prospect feel heard
- Follow up with a secondary ask: Try to take something of substance from the rejection.
Persistence is key.
That sounds like a marketing cliché, right? But believe us when we tell you that this is one of the most important cold calling tips that you need to follow.
Don’t be afraid to leave a voicemail or DM
How can you make the best of this situation?
Leave a voicemail and a DM!
Voicemails can be a great opportunity for you to make a connection with a prospect. Here, you can try to offer something of value that will persuade the prospect to call you back.
Things to keep in mind while sending a voicemail
- Keep your voicemail under 20 seconds or less
- Leave your name and info
- Speak in an upbeat and energetic tone
- Incite urgency
- Don’t try to sell in a voicemail
- Follow up after
Leaving a voicemail or a short message through social media is one of the best cold calling techniques that you’ll find. Try it out and see! When your voicemails are on point, people will call you back for sure.
Invest in the right tools and technologies
Your cold calling efforts can work better if you deploy the right technologies. And the reason you need these technologies is to make your life easier.
Without the right technologies, you’d be lost!
Imagine for instance that you have the best sales calling team that money can buy. But, you don’t have the technologies that will keep their call lists and other data organized.
What do you think is happening now?
Your “power team” is scrambling around looking for printouts of call sheets. They are completely lost and disorganized. And ultimately, their talent along with your money is wasted.
To avoid such blunders, you need to deploy the right sales calling tools and technologies.
Some of the best sales calling and intelligence software on the market include Gong, Chorus, and Sales Intel. So do your research and choose the sales calling technologies that fit your business needs and goals specifically.
One of the best cold calling techniques to maximize conversions is by integrating the right technology into your processes. And the reason it works is that automation is the best way to organize your sales calls, content, data, and everything else.
Use KPIs to measure success
One of the best cold calling techniques to measure success is tracking your performance. And the best way to do this is by measuring key performance indicators (KPIs).
But what KPIs should you track?
Don’t worry. We got you covered!
It is likely that you will have a thousand different KPIs on your sales calling dashboard, and tracking too many of them will confuse you. To avoid this confusion, we have compiled a list of the KPIs you need to monitor specifically for cold calling success.
When you track the right KPIs, it becomes easy for you to numerically understand what you’re getting right and what you can improve on. And this cold calling tip will ultimately help you increase your answer rates and book more meetings.
Cold Calling lessons from the movie ‘The Pursuit of Happyness’
Have you watched the movie ‘The Pursuit of Happyness’? While this movie does offer a lot of life lessons, it also gives us valuable sales insights.
In the movie, Chris Gardner’s company expected sales interns to cold call clients using the “bottom to top” approach. The leads were listed according to the positions they held. CEOs were listed right at the top, and other influential decision-makers were listed below, followed by the rest including the doorman, drivers, and so on.
This meant spending hours calling every single lead and asking them if they’d like to buy from you.
Do you remember the scene where Chris skips the standard sales protocol set by the company and becomes a top-performing sales rep?
Here are a few sales cold calling tips and lessons you can learn from the movie.
“Learn from the mistakes of others” – Eleanor Roosevelt
While it may be beneficial to call a bunch of people just because you can, you don’t necessarily have to.
Chris decided to focus on calling only a select few prospects at a time. He also made sure that he kept calling them over and over again, trying to arrange a meeting in every way possible.
“Bring your best to the moment”– Angela Bassett
With his unique approach, hard work, and determination, Chris not only bagged a meeting with a top-level pension fund manager (who invited Chris to watch a game), but he also networked with other high-end prospects (present at the game), and turned them into paying customers!
“Don’t try to do everything by yourself, connect with people and resources” – Chieu Cao
B2B sales reps can only be successful when they can correctly identify the decision-makers from the rest, or identify the people who could connect you with a decision-maker in due course.
“All business is personal…” – Robert L. Johnson
Too scared to talk to top management? Don’t be.
It’s actually a lot easier to get referred from the top than the people listed at the bottom. And, they are also easier to talk to because they’ve probably been in your shoes.
A Chief Revenue Officer might have had to cold call in his/her early career to get there, right? Even if that’s not the case, they might simply understand your job better, and probably have their own teams cold calling people like them, so they would respect it.
“Growth and comfort do not coexist” – Ginni Rometty
In the movie, Chris was caught off-guard when the client said he would like to meet him immediately. You have to be ready to sell, even if it’s just a discovery call. So always be prepared to pitch and have your answers ready!
Artificial Intelligence is transforming B2B sales
By 2025, Gartner expects:
70% of all B2B seller-buyer interactions will be recorded to extract competitive, deal, and market insights using artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML), and natural language processing (NLP).
75% of B2B sales organizations will replace traditional sales playbooks with AI-based guided selling solutions.
80% of B2B sales interactions between suppliers and buyers occur in digital channels.
No matter how good web optimization and product recommendations get, cold calling is and always will be the best way to connect with B2B prospects.
To get your cold calling game on point, you need to follow our 10 cold calling tips to get a meeting backed by research. These cold calling techniques will provide you with the ammunition to approach your B2B prospects in the most effective way and convert them.