Cold Calling Explained: How It Works and Why It Matters

05 Dec 2023

Man and woman are speaking through their microfons and computer as a customer success representatives.

Cold calling is between a sales rep and a lead with little to no prior contact with the company or person placing the call.

Despite the rise of digital marketing and more nuanced sales strategies, cold calling remains a valuable tool for companies looking to expand their customer base and increase revenue.

The basics of cold calling

At its core, cold calling is initiating contact with prospects without prior interaction or relationship. This unwanted outreach can take many forms, including phone calls, emails, or personal visits. The term cold emphasizes the absence of warm leads or pre-existing relationships, making it a challenging yet potentially rewarding endeavor. The average cold calling success rate is 2%, but surprisingly, 49% of buyers prefer to be contacted through a cold call.

Key components of a cold call

1. Introduction: Setting the stage

The opening moments of a cold call are critical. A well-crafted introduction is designed to capture the prospect's attention quickly. This includes stating who you are and the purpose of the call and identifying a common pain point or need that establishes immediate relevance.

2. Value proposition: Communicate value effectively

Once the introduction has generated interest, the next step is to clearly and meaningfully articulate the value proposition. This is the heart of the cold call, where the caller must briefly communicate how their product or service solves a specific problem or improves the prospect's business or personal life.

3. Handling objections: Turning challenges into opportunities

Objections are an inevitable part of cold calling. Whether concerns about budget constraints, existing solutions, or lack of immediate interest, skilled cold callers are adept at handling objections positively. They view objections not as roadblocks but as opportunities to provide additional information, address concerns, and ultimately move the conversation forward.

4. Close the call: Moving the prospect forward

The primary goal of a cold call is to move the prospect to the next stage of the sales process. This may include scheduling a follow-up meeting, sending detailed information, or sometimes closing the sale on the spot. A successful cold call ends with a clear understanding of the following steps and a commitment from the prospect. Don’t worry; 82% of buyers accept a meeting that starts with a cold call.

Challenges and considerations

Cold calling has unique challenges. In an age where privacy is highly valued, unsolicited calls can be perceived as intrusive, resulting in a significant rejection rate. In addition, technological advances, such as caller ID and call-blocking features, create barriers to connecting with prospects.

Overcoming these challenges requires a combination of resilience, adaptability, and a keen understanding of the prospect's needs and objections. You can use some tactics from the statistics; for example, cold calling prospects between 4 PM and 5 PM is 71% more effective in booking meetings than calling between 11 AM and 12 PM.

Some tips before you go

Every sales strategy has its own positive and negative sides. If you are sure cold calling is a fit for your company, check out these tips to improve your success rate.

  • Be personable: Take time to actively listen and engage in real conversation - be a human, not a robot. The language you choose matters. Is this a good time as a common opening phrase is 6.6 times less effective than How have you been?
  • Write a cold calling script: This will help you during your call - but do not read word for word. The threat is more of a helpful checklist.
  • Don’t start with a sales pitch: Do not scare your lead. Take time to ask what they need, tailor the offer you are calling to their needs, and start your pitch.
  • Remember that it is a dialogue: Do not forget that conversation is not a monologue. Once you start to talk endlessly and don’t give your lead a chance to talk, you will be regarded as yet another pushy seller.
  • Learn from your mistakes: Nobody is perfect, but we must learn from our experiences. Try to use conversation analytics tools to help you improve yourself through non-verbal cues and context throughout your calls and meetings.

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