Cold Calling Do’s and Don’ts


Cold calling.  How does it work? What does it do? Does it still work? How we can do it better, and what goes on from there? I have been doing sales for a little over 20 years, both in-home sales (door-to-door sales), as well as over the phone and digital marketing. We want to make sure you’re successful when you are going out and gathering clients.

Does It Work?

I get asked this question quite a bit. When you think about it,  conventional wisdom tells us that the Jordan Belfort way of aggressively cold calling like they did on “The Wolf On Wall Street” has gone away. I don’t disagree with that. 20 or 30 years ago when those wall street guys were just cold calling people, they had different technology. The buyer’s behavior was different. Trust was easily explained over the phone because that’s how people were used to doing it. However, recently with everybody moving out into the digital marketing age and the internet to make those buying decisions, selling in a cold call at first glance might not be the way to go. It might seem obsolete, which is why I am not surprised at all when I see on comments Facebook, YouTube, or I get emails, that cold calling is dead and buried.

I, however, disagree. I think cold calling is not dead just yet. I honestly believe that there are winning aspects that can happen via cold outreach. It definitely will help you in this new relationship era that we’re currently in right now. With that being said, you must know how to do it for it to work for you correctly. So I’m going to break down the current state of cold calling, how you guys can either do it yourself or hire a sales rep, and that cold calling can be a positive outreach. 

The Breakdown

Let’s look at numbers for the cold calling. Here is where we get scientific about it because the debate about to call or not to call is the question of the day. It comes out to be a fierce one. So let’s check out the significance of cold calling in 2018 to 2019 to 2020, and if it continues being where it needs to. published both in October 2018 and in October of 2019 almost the exact same percentages. Referrals in 2018 rounded the top off at 77% of the top methods for sales. Number two, however, was cold calls on the phone at 46%. Number three was group sales.

The webinars that groups like WP elevation, Mavericks, and other groups hosted had 39% for reaching prospects and selling. 30% went to trade shows, and 29% went to social selling, which would be your Facebook and your Instagram. 23% went into email campaigns, 13% went into drop-ins, where you stop in and talk to somebody about doing their marketing or whatnot. 8% went into the other category. The other category of 8% hasn’t changed much between 2018 and 2019, which leads us to believe that overall the selling aspects have not changed. So the big takeaway that we should take from here is that although cold calling does have its bumps and bruises, the people that tell you it’s dead have not told you the whole story.

Making calls. Doing those calls consistently has got to be one of the top things when reaching out to people and is essential to your sales. Reaching out to the warm leads, the cold leads, everything… it all happens on the phone. Now another surprising fact is that cold calls are what 77% of buyers have responded positively to, along with an email from a prospective vendor in the last 12 months. So taking those two workings together, cold calls are still alive. Does cold calling work? Does cold email work? Those are actually two different questions, but they still overall have the same response factor.

What we are seeing in the industry right now with our Done For You program that has our cold callers, cold callers we train, or just other cold callers we work with, we see people closing about 25% of unqualified leads over the phone and over 50% of qualified leads…50%. That is huge when you’re talking about digital marketing, where the conversion rate is so much lower than conventional marketing. 25% to 50% is enormous when it comes to unqualified and qualified leads.

Now I’m not gonna say that cold calls convert better than a referral or even necessarily some digital marketing. However, you have to look at the variables that are in there, to see how your cold outreach is going to work and see what really happens to it. Because if you don’t have a high-quality list, are those calls going to happen for you? This is why most people think cold calls are dead.

Remember, the majority of B2B decision-makers believe that sales reps are unprepared for sales calls. This is another reason why it fails. You have to get your people prepared. They’re not ready and they don’t know how to do it, so they get very anxious and scared of that cold call. So make sure that they’re prepared and have done their training. Because if they’re not, that failure falls on you as the owner of the company. So you need to figure out the best way to train your sales teams. Then the reps can do better on their phones, have better lists, have better equipment, systems, all of that. 

Make it work

Instead of saying, “Why will doing cold calling work for me,” you should ask yourself, “How do I make cold calling work?” Because 92% of customer interactions will happen over the phone. Phones are still very valuable. If you want success, set your sales rep up for success, and do not give them unrealistic quotas. Keep your quotas realistic. That allows them to crush it. Okay?

Do’s and Don’ts

We are going to talk about the dos and the do not’s of cold calling. One of the first things that need to happen when you do cold calling is to make sure they’re warm leads. Gone are the days where a cold caller could pump out 200, 300, or 400 calls a day. Don’t do that to your sales reps. Do not do that to your callers. Just set up your callers to be successful and let them do a quick warm-up process. How do you warm them up? Search for them on LinkedIn. Look at if they’re Tweeting or is there’s somewhere else the CEO posting. Is it Facebook? Is it Instagram? Learn something about the company and person you are calling. 

Do let your personality shine. I’m a very personable person. I love talking to people, especially on the phone and I let that show. I buy into what I sell, and because I buy into it, I’m very happy. I’m not awkward and robotic. I’m very warm. I have that personality, and it helps engage your prospect. It goes a long way to crack the jokes. Let them know that you’re not just going to try to sell them.

You want to get to know them. You are sowing the seeds of a relationship. Here are some starters you could use. “I notice that in X city, you guys just had a big storm come through. How is everything over there? Do you guys have a lot of damage?”  Number two. “Man, it is so cold outside right now. I am surprised you made it to work. But then again, we’re from the Midwest, so we’re used to – 30 below as you know.” Things like that. Another great one that I love to do is, “What are you looking forward to right now?” Kind of get that rapport going and keep it open.

If you’re talking to a CEO, another one I love is, “Have you read any really good books lately? I’ve got to say I’m currently reading Pitch This.  I’m really enjoying those. Is there something that you could recommend for what you’re doing?” It segues it into a discussion, which again removes that uncomfortability.

Now we’re going to go into a don’t. Do not let your sales reps or yourself freestyle calls. I am a big believer that you do not need to be robotic, and that you shouldn’t sound like you’re reading from a script. However, you need to have a guideline for the call to follow. You have to have an approach for your calls. That way, you can cut down a little bit on the “uhs” and the “ums” and other filler words. You’ve got to have some sort of a script. You don’t have to follow it word for word, but it has to guide you to where you need to be.

Don’t keep them on the phone for too long. They’re busy. You’re calling them out of the blue, and you’re breaking their routine. Your whole goal should be able to get a meeting booked in as little time as possible. You want to get your product or service into that prospect’s hands as quickly as possible. So don’t call them multiple times. Try to get them in one, maybe two calls. Don’t go much past that. Make sure that you have an email address so you can send them relevant information on your service and whatnot. That will get them in your email list even after the call is over.

This is not a numbers game, so do not treat it that way. You will never win. You will not be successful. Back in the day, you used to be able to pop out 200 calls, and you could really nail it. But cold calling is not a numbers game anymore. You have to make sure that they don’t feel like they’re just another call to you. Brian Tracy, who is a sales expert, has recommended frequently pausing and taking your breaks. In doing your calls, allow your prospects to tell you their story and their problems, and include them in on their pain points without you just punching them through a funnel.

Do make sure you send a follow-up email. Sending a thoughtful email shows that you’re committed to your product. Make sure you reach out to the ones that want to make appointments. But make sure you reach out to the ones that are on the fence or might’ve just said, “Hey, look, I don’t, I don’t know if I want to move forward or not.” Give them information, let them read over it and think it over. Make sure you have some templates designed out for it. You can build one and or use something like Infusion Soft,, things like that. Make sure you have these templates set up. That way, you don’t have to sit down and write messages from scratch for every email. 

Another big don’t is don’t freak out because something doesn’t work correctly. You are going to stumble, and you are going to fall. So don’t freak out and don’t feel like you’re not capable of doing this. All right? I’ve got one more do because I love leaving things on a positive note.

Do make sure you leave a voicemail. I have seen so many people who call me to make a sale as the CEO, and they don’t leave a voicemail. I don’t call them back because I don’t know who they are. And the way I view it is if you don’t leave me a voicemail, then I’m honestly not going to call you back because it wasn’t that important for you to leave a voicemail. Leave them a voicemail. You want them to feel encouraged to call you or connect with you. Because some of these guys are busy, so make sure you reach out and leave a voicemail.

If you think cold calling will work for your company, or if not, let me know why. I’d love to hear from you, and we enjoy helping you guys. So if you have any questions on cold calling or cold emailing, hit me up. Let me know because I want to know how you’re going to approach your cold calls for Q2, Q3, and Q4 of this year in 2020 and moving into 2021. I think that cold calling has definitely changed. So leave a comment below, and I will catch you guys on the flip side.


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