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How to Make Cold Calls: Sales Prospecting Strategies that Work

3 min readFebruary 16, 2020

We’ve said it before and we will say it again: cold calling is hard. But, every single sales team in every single industry absolutely must make them. If your team does any type of sales prospecting, your reps need colds to reach new leads, capture new clients, grow their network, and ultimately generate more revenue.

However, if your reps make bad cold calls, all the time they spend prospecting will go to waste. On average, sales development reps must make 9.1 sales calls before they connect with a lead. That makes each connection very valuable. To best capitalize on efforts made to capture leads, time spent making calls, and your sales prospecting strategy, use these cold call strategies to make the most of your cold calls.

Make cold calls when answer rates are highest

It is no surprise that the vast majority of cold calls result in a non-connection of a voicemail left. That’s why you should shift your prospecting strategy and daily schedules so that reps can make cold calls between 10 and 11:30 am in their respective time zones.

A Revenue.io analysis of over 130 million sales calls made through conversationAI found that the optimal time for sales call connection is within that period. This means that your reps have the highest likelihood of connecting and having a conversation on one of their cold dials.

Provide value right at the beginning of your cold call

Cold calls are an interruption for the recipient. That’s why it should be a prospecting strategy to provide maximum value as early in the call as possible. CSO Insights found that buyers valued three things:

  1. New ideas for taking their buying process forward
  2. Help to shape a new vision for their success
  3. New ways to meet their goals

If your reps can quickly demonstrate that they will provide new ideas, improve businesses, and help meet goals, they will immediately pique a contact’s interest and have a successful conversation.

Use the right tone on the cold call

Research has found that 7% of how a message is perceived is in the words that are spoken, 38% is how the words are said and 55% is based on facial expression. When you’re on the phone, the 55% from facial expression is eliminated and how you speak becomes significantly more important.

Reps doing cold prospecting should seek to develop the tone that they use on cold calls. This does not mean using a fake voice, rather it can mean sounding more inquisitive, friendly, or helpful. This will unconsciously trigger their contacts to be more interested in what they have to say.

Help your reps develop their tone through cold calls, call recordings, and role-plays.

Do more listening than talking

Top-performing sales reps do far more listening on cold calls. Rather than rambling off a script, they deliver a quick pitch and/or introduction, and then listen to what their prospect actually says.

When sales reps listen to their prospects, they can tailor their talking points to fit their needs. They also can gather and record information that will help them later in the sales cycle.

Don’t stick to the script

Sales call scripts are not only important to create, they are also very useful. They ensure the right questions are asked and messages are conveyed. But, your reps should not spend their entire cold call reading from a script.

Instead of a script, the best cold callers have a general outline that they follow. It allows them to have a map for their conversation, but still allows flexibility.