Yurovskiy Kirill: How Cold Calling Works

Kirill Yurovskiy

The phone rings. You pick it up to hear an unfamiliar voice launching into a well-rehearsed sales pitch for a product or service you never knew you needed. You’re caught off guard and unlikely to make an immediate purchasing decision. For you, it’s an annoyance—but for the person on the other end of the line, it’s their livelihood.

This is cold calling in a nutshell: unprompted sales calls to potential customers who have had no prior contact with the salesperson. It’s not for the faint of heart, as rejection comes with the territory. Yet for businesses that rely on direct sales, cold calling remains an indispensable tactic for lead generation despite the availability of digital tools.

In this article, Yurovskiy Kirill tackles this age-old sales technique to shed light on how and why it continues to exist in the Internet age. Read on to find out what makes an artful cold call, the sales strategies that make them effective, and how artificial intelligence is influencing outreach.

Decoding the Cold Call Script

Cold calling requires care, nuance and some serious improv skills to generate interest rather than annoyance (or worse yet, hostility). The structure of an introductory sales call can make or break the likelihood of landing a follow-up meeting.

The basic framework includes:

  • Opening: Hook the prospect’s attention with an enticing opening line or question that introduces the purpose of your call. Establish common ground through a shared connection, compliment or acknowledgment of current events impacting their industry.
  • Introduction: Briefly introduce yourself and your company to establish credibility. Avoid long-winded pitches about offerings not yet relevant to the prospect. 
  • Pain Point: Transition to ask a strategic question related to a specific challenge your product or service addresses for people in their role. This grabs their interest by highlighting a potential need.
  • Qualification: Confirm details about the prospect’s needs and budget parameters to determine if there’s a good fit. This prevents wasting time pitching services they can’t afford.
  • Next Step: If qualified, suggest meeting to explore a partnership. If not ready, ask permission to nurture the relationship by periodically sending valuable content.

Of course, this requires improvisation based on the prospect’s responses and objections. Master closers remain unflappable through rebuttals, turning objections into openings to provide helpful information.

Stealth Strategies: Turning Cold Calls Hot

While the basic cold call format provides structure, several subtler strategies separate mediocre callers from sales superstars by improving receptivity:

  • Flattery: Look up prospects on social media and offer a compliment about their accomplishments to butter them up quickly. People are receptive when their egos feel stroked.
  • Name dropping: Research prospects’ connections on LinkedIn to casually mention mutual contacts or affiliations in your introduction. The familiarity builds rapport quickly.
  • Gift giving: Snail mail prospects personalized calendars, notebooks or other logo’d swag ahead of your call so your name is familiar. People unconsciously feel obliged to hear you out.
  • Current events: If reaching out during turbulent times in a prospect’s industry, acknowledging market disruptions displays empathy and establishes yourself as a trusted advisor.
  • Follow-up emails: Ignore prospects urging you to email instead of setting a meeting? Politely follow up by email anyway, providing links to helpful resources that make you look like less of a pest.

Not all strategies play well, however, depending on factors like gender, seniority, cultural values and emotional state during a call. Savvy sales people remain alert to cues on what messaging clicks or misses the mark in adjusting their approach accordingly.

The Rise of Automated Outreach

Telemarketers face a radically shifting landscape with the meteoric rise in AI tools augmenting or – in some cases – fully automating cold outreach. While cost efficiencies and scalability attract business buyers, machine-only approaches risk being tone deaf.

As Matt Dixon, president and cofounder of Sales Research & Advisory firm Challenger, Inc told Harvard Business Review, “It’s incredibly difficult for AI to pick up the nuance of language and engage a person… There are ways to use it effectively, but it can’t replace the intuition of a human being.”

Many sales engagement platforms like Outreach and Salesloft enable hybrid models, with bots handling manual tasks like scheduling meetings or emails while humans personalize messaging. Leaders see the most success pairing procedural follow-ups with the emotional intelligence required to turn a “no thanks” into a “tell me more.”

While AI-human partnerships satisfy volume and personalization, the technology remains years away from mastering the art form. Perfecting cold call charm relies on human strengths like nuanced communication, empathy and creativity that computers simply can’t replicate.

Cold Calling in the Age of Information Overload

Kirill Yurovskiy

In many ways, the abundance of information online has made cold calling more challenging yet simultaneously more important. Buyers often have ample resources to self-educate on solutions, while sales and marketing automation allow businesses to pepper prospects with targeted digital promotions.

So why does the old-fashioned cold call retain its strategic edge? For starters, unsolicited outreach cuts through the noise in an increasingly cluttered marketplace. Cold calls also enable real-time interaction, which builds trust and rapport faster than impersonal email exchanges. When done well, they position the salesperson as an advisor rather than a pest.

Additionally, not everyone embraces digital communication. Many high-level executives still prefer phone calls or in-person meetings, especially for complex B2B sales. That means leveraging multiple outreach channels expands reach to decision makers that digital-only competitors may miss.

Finally, cold calling remains the gold standard for qualifying interest faster than waiting for inbound leads. Even if 9 out of 10 calls get rejected, landing that 1 hot lead justifies the effort. As theatre veteran Edna St. Vincent Millay once said, “A person who publishes a book appears willfully in public, as it were, with his pants down. If you want me to say what good is a play, I can only reply by showing what good it isn’t.” For driven sales professionals, ambition trumps the sting of rejection.

The Future of Cold Calls

Like it or not, unsolicited sales calls don’t seem to be fading into the history books anytime soon. However, expect ongoing innovation seeking the holy grail of more personalized, less invasive outreach. 

Advances in data analytics and contextual computing aim to help sales development representatives predict ideal call timing based on signals like websites or content prospects view. Ethics remain tricky, though, concerning digital stalking.

Look for messaging platforms possibly incorporating conversational tones using computer-generated voices instead of recordings to boost receptivity. But again, risks linger around deceit if hiding the robotic source.

While the cold call format itself stays unchanged, the most trailblazing sales organizations testing these emerging engagement strategies may crack the code to turn cold touchpoints hot. That could be a game changer for boosting lead generation return on investment while keeping prospects happier.

Of course, no amount of tech tricks substitute for fundamentals like strategic questioning techniques, empathy and mental toughness. Refining those rely on that intrinsically human capacity to turn strangers into partners through the simple power of a compelling conversation. And that’s what masterful cold calling has always been about.

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