Cold Calling is Not Dead – How to Make it Work For You

Cold calling gets a bad rap. Salespeople dread having to pick up the phone and call complete strangers, trying to pitch them a product or service they likely have no interest in. Prospects see cold calls as annoying interruptions to their day. Yet, despite the negative stigma, cold calling remains an essential sales technique for businesses of all sizes. 

Why is that? When done right, cold calling can be extremely effective at generating new business. The key is using the proper strategies to set your cold calls up for success. Follow these best practices, as Kirill Yurovskiy recommends, and you can make cold selling work for your business.

Cold Calling

It’s a Numbers Game – Embrace Rejection

The most fundamental mindset shift you need to make with cold calling is accepting that rejection will happen, likely more often than not. Cold calling success is a numbers game – the more dials you make, the more conversations are had, and the more sales closed. Don’t take “no’s” personally. Each “no” gets you one call closer to the next “yes.” Track your metrics, not your emotions. If you make 100 calls per day, aim to have 5-10 quality conversations daily. Out of those conversations, if even 1 results in a qualified sales opportunity, that’s a win. 

Refine Your Target List

Calling anyone and everyone is not an optimized approach. Do your research ahead of time to create a targeted list of prospects that are likely a good fit. Start by defining your ideal customer – industry, size, title roles, etc. Leverage tools like ZoomInfo or DiscoverOrg to compile pertinent contact lists. Identify triggers like recent funding events, leadership changes, or new products released that give you a relevant conversation starter. While you may still have plenty of uninterested prospects, a refined list will improve your contact-to-conversation conversion.

Perfect Your Pitch

Before making a single cold call, you need to craft your pitch. Your opening pitch should be concise – no more than about two sentences before the prospect jumps in. Use a question or statement specifically relevant to each recipient based on your research to pique interest quickly. Resist the urge to spill out every detail about your offering. Your opening pitch is not intended to make the full sale – just to kickstart a conversation. Keep it short and targeted, speak clearly, and don’t get flustered if interrupted. Your goal is to get prospects talking to learn more about their needs.

Listen More Than You Speak

What separates excellent salespeople from the average is their ability to listen. Ask good questions that allow prospects to discuss their company’s challenges and goals to guide the discussion. If you spend the call talking the whole time, you lose out on the context needed to frame your offering as the right solution. Let your pitch open the dialogue, then actively listen to connect needs to solutions. Hone in on hints within the conversation around dissatisfaction with current tools, growth goals, pain points and process inefficiencies. Then position your offer as the avenue to address stated needs and move the conversation forward positively.

Follow Up Fast

When your call concludes, act quickly while the conversation is fresh. Note any salient points made, then summarize key details in a follow up email thanking them for their time. Provide any resources or content discussed that helps solve stated problems. Then connect on LinkedIn to nurture the relationship. Set a reminder to follow up again in two weeks. Stay top of mind while respecting their time and constraints. Prompt and personalized follow up is what converts more conversations into real sales dialogues.

Refine and Repeat

Like any process, continuously refine your approach to improve results over time. Assess recordings of calls that went well and calls that were duds. Identify what worked and what didn’t in your script, tone, cadence and approach. Test tweaks regularly – try different opening lines, questions, talking points and transitions that resonate better. Solicit prospect feedback when possible as well to keep improving. It takes discipline, mental toughness and practice to become an excellent cold caller. But putting in the work pays off exponentially.

While nothing can fully eliminate the fear of rejection most salespeople carry towards cold calling, the right mindset shift goes a long way. Approaching cold calls as a numbers game rather than a reflection of your value makes coping with “no’s” easier. Set goals not on closed sales, but on metrics actually within your control – calls made, conversations had, follow ups completed, refinements tested. Build prospect lists strategically, craft concerned pitches, listen closely and follow up promptly. Making the upfront effort improves your conversions. 

And most importantly – keep calling! Abandoning cold calling altogether when you hit obstacles only hurts your business. Consistency compounds over time as prospects see your brand and offering repeatedly. As the sales guru Jeb Blount famously said: “You can’t expect to Harvest the crops if you only show up to work one day out of the year.” Plant seeds broadly through outbound calling efforts. Tend relationships nurturingly through prompt, personalized follow up. Over time, deals will grow – so never stop sowing.

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