13 cold calling tips from sales experts

cold calling tips

At QuotaPath, we firmly believe that the cold call is alive and well. In order to prove that out, we asked some top salespeople for their number one cold calling tip. Here’s what they had to say!

First name basis

“Getting past the receptionist can be difficult for those new to cold calling and even experienced salespeople. That’s why I like to research the company beforehand and at least have the name of one person working there.

I then call into the company asking for the person by their first name only very casually, giving the receptionist the impression I know this person. This gets me past the receptionist 90% of the time.”

Ryan Bradshaw, Director of Sales at Apollo Technical

Smile and dial

“My number 1 tip is to ‘smile while you dial’. As cheesy as that advice sounds, it’s important that sales professionals understand the importance of tone of voice. Your tone of voice is equally, sometimes more, important than the actual message you’re saying.”

Evan Donahue, Sales and Recruiting Manager at IWR

Be positive and energetic

“When making cold calls, smile. Be positive, kind, and remember that energy is contagious! If you aren’t excited about why you are calling how can a prospect expect to be? Bring up lighthearted topics briefly and use humor and laughter when appropriate. Communicate in a way that you are delivering good news. Positive attitudes drive sales.”

Lauren Cohen, Commercial Real Estate Leasing Executive & Certified Executive Coach

Assume the sale

“My number one cold calling tip is to always assume the sale. If you’re in the business of selling credit cards, don’t ask the client if they want the credit card. Instead, assume they want the credit card and ask them which credit card they would like. Offer them options that only you are comfortable with, meaning that you don’t offer not taking a credit card as an option. Now obviously you don’t want to force anything on the prospect, but if you assume the sale, you’re more likely to get a yes.”

Jack Choros, Sales Manager at IronMonk

Prepare for the discussion

“You have 10 seconds to show you’re worth referring to, so separate yourself from other callers. Switch the attention on your prospect by bringing in your analysis and personalizing the call once you have presented yourself.

For example: With praise, you might open on a recent professional achievement that you have come across through analysis.”

Eliza Nimmich, Co-Founder/COO at Learnt

Anchor the conversation

“Start each call with an anchor point. For example, you could call and say, ‘Hi, my name is Michael and I found you on LinkedIn’ or, ‘we are a service provider for your competitor, XYZ company.’ By providing some point of familiarity, you move from being one of the 7+ billion potential internet strangers, and someone that is a known entity is some way. From there, you can start to work to develop a conversation and relationship.”

Michael Alexis, CEO at TeamBuilding

Research first

“The most effective way to conduct cold calling is to avoid sounding like it is a cold call. We’ve all experienced cold calls. ‘Is this Andrew? Is this a good time to talk?’ Do the research you need to in advance so that you know who to speak to and what their pain points and customers are.

Research doesn’t need to be time-consuming. A simple search on LinkedIn or at a press release could reveal a lot about who is in charge of marketing, for instance. The contact that is listed on a public press release is a much better starting point than calling the general business line.”

Katie Zillmer, Account Director at KitelyTech

Set a goal beforehand

“Don’t place the call unless you have a clear goal in mind for the conversation. This goal should be something small, which gets the prospect into the habit of saying yes. For example, the goal might be to confirm a prospect’s email or to verify the person on the other end of the line handles strategic purchasing. Setting a goal for each call will not only help keep your conversation on track, but it will also make you sound more confident, which, in turn, will increase the chance of a follow-up meeting.”

Allison Potts, Senior Business Analyst at FitSmallBusiness

Try calling off-hours

“My number one tip for cold calling is to call before or after regular work hours. Typically, the decision-maker works longer hours than their gatekeepers and you’ll be able to get to connect with them more easily first thing in the morning or after the typical 9-5 day is done.”

Tom Pelisson, Head of Partnerships at Rejoiner

Listen intently

“My number one cold calling tip is to be a good listener. This may be easier said than done especially when cold calling. However, in the aggregate, you can learn a lot from your calls when you listen. You can learn what your clients are looking for and how to meet those needs in a short explanation so that you can find a way to engage and ultimately see to those clients. If you are pushy and busy telling them what you have to offer, then it can be difficult to really identify how you can provide a solution to their problem with your service.”

Scott Simrall, Senior Sales Representative at MyCorporation.com

Call in front of a mirror

“My best tip in helping salespeople succeed in cold calling is to have a mirror in front of them while making their calls. Even though your prospect doesn’t actually see you they do feel your energy. When you look in the mirror you quickly realize if you’re bringing an upbeat and energetic feel or not. It adds a real feel to ‘smiling and dialing’.”

Jonathan Kellert, Regional Vice President at Primerica

Use social proof

“One of the best tricks that has worked for us in cold calling is using social media proof in the sales pitch. We come up with a list of past and present customers who resemble the qualities of our potential buyer. We anticipate the fact that our leads want to know who else we have worked with and what were the results. We back up our customers’ testimonials with stats and numbers from social media to prove our claims and work on a great storytelling approach to get our lead excited hearing more from us. This has absolutely worked for our team in terms of converting cold leads into paying clients.”

Michael Hammelburger, CEO at Expense Reduction Group

Identify pain first

“To ace the cold calling, the number one technique that I can give you is: never pitch prematurely. First, find the pain point of your prospect, this can be done through some research about the company beforehand or during the conversation. Once you have created the environment of interest over call, pitch him/her the solution you are providing. Moreover, in doing so, remember that the time for yes/no questions is over. Ask your prospect open-ended questions with the fresh and enthusiastic tone because your old school monotonous tone cold calling strategies are not fruitful in 2020.”

Sarah Sibtain, Sales Manager at The Fashion Jacket

After you’ve used these tips to navigate your cold-call, transition to the pricing conversation with ease using these tips from SalesRight. Now that you read through these cold calling tips, time to hit the phone! And because you’re going to crush your sales quota, you’ll need a way to track your commissions. That’s where QuotaPath comes in handy!

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