Cold Calling Definition and Quick Tips

Cold calling is the best-known sales tactic in the world today. Offering an easy way for companies to reach and qualify potential leads at scale, cold calling paves the way for valuable business conversations. Use correctly, cold calling can form the foundation of many company sales strategies.

Cold Calling Definition: Cold Calling Meaning

Cold calling is the act of reaching out to large groups of people by calling a phone number, often provided as part of a list or directory.

With cold calling, salespeople and other professionals reach out to contacts with no prior knowledge of that person’s needs, expectations, or background. The key to success with this kind of call is often in making large numbers of calls, to find potential prospects by casting a wide net.

Cold calling is a less-informed alternative to warm calling, where salespeople reach out specifically to prospects who previously expressed interest in the business. Sometimes, the term cold-calling can also be referred to other forms of “cold” outreach, like connecting with people over an email or SMS.

Cold Calling in Sales: Does cold calling work?

Cold calling in sales is one of the oldest and most common methods of collecting prospects for potential sales pitches. There are countless high-level companies that continue to use cold calling as the foundation of their sales strategy today.

While cold calling doesn’t have the best reputation in sales, it can be effective when used correctly. The right cold calling strategy can deliver valuable prospects to businesses. Many companies will use cold calling to help fill their pipeline.

How cold calling works

Cold calling involves a salesperson contacting individuals who haven’t expressed interest in their service or product in the past. Usually, the term refers to contacting a potential lead by phone, but it can also define in-person door-to-door visits and messages.

If a prospect is interested in what a salesperson has to offer, that contact number can then be promoted to the next stage of a sales cycle. If a cold call is met with frustration or a customer hanging up, the number is simply removed from the queue, or placed at the back to try again later.

What is cold calling? An example

In the investment industry, brokers in a financial company might use cold calling to find potential clients. These brokers may choose specific groups of numbers they’d like to call based on other factors. For instance, they might call numbers for people located in a specific geographical location or contact people who previously signed up for newsletters on financial investment.

While companies can sometimes narrow their focus with their cold calling practices by choosing specific groups of numbers to contact, the people they reach out to have not previously shown interest in their brand – this is what makes it a cold call.

Cold calling tips

Cold calling can be a difficult skill to master. Many professionals involved in cold calling will go through numerous failures before they have a successful interaction with a customer. To improve your chances of successful cold calling, follow these tips:

  • Research: Research prospects, when possible, to help personalize the conversation. 
  • Follow a script: Following a cold calling script based on proven strategies can boost conversions. 
  • Prepare a powerful opening sentence: Prove you’re worth listening to in the first few seconds.
  • Use rejection as a motivator: Don’t allow rejection to get in the way of perseverance.
  • Overcome call reluctance: 80% of salespeople fail due to call reluctance; overcoming the jittery feeling before a cold call can help with this.
  • Time calls correctly: Finding the right time to call potential prospects improves the chances of them listening to a call, rather than ignoring it because they’re busy.
  • Use social proof: Referencing the success of another customer in a sales call can make you more credible and trustworthy.
  • Ask open-ended questions: Ask plenty of questions to gather information about a prospect. This will help if they move on to the next stage in the sales journey.
  • Watch the tone of voice: A positive tone of voice will make prospects more likely to listen.
  • Don’t give an easy out: Don’t open with “is now a bad time,” stick to personalized statements and keep them in the conversation.
  • Listen: Listen to prospects, when possible, to build trust and gather details for the next stage of the sales journey.

Using Cold Calling for Sales

Cold calling might be one of the oldest sales techniques, but it’s also one of the most complicated to master. Gaining a deeper understanding of how cold calling works, then following the cold calling tips we outlined above will help to set you up for success when you’re reaching out to new potential prospects.

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