Cold Calling Best Practices

Sep 12, 2022
Collin Stewart

There’s a lot of advice on how to be better at cold calling, but the best cold call tips focus on the conversation over metrics. Cold contact tends to put prospective customers on edge; the key to booking more meetings is to approach each call to make a genuine connection.

As the world’s leading experts on sales development, we’re sharing our favorite cold calling methods, on-call best practices, and must-haves for effective cold calling. 

1. Keep calm and comfortable

Nerves can be a serious issue on cold calls. It’s intimidating to pick up the phone, especially for newer sales development reps (SDRs). Prospects will know immediately if the SDR seems uncomfortable–which isn’t a great start to any sales call.

That’s why it’s so important to focus on staying calm. If you feel nervous before a call, try implementing a short routine to boost your confidence before dialing. You could review your buyer persona notes, double-check your customer research, or complete a short visualization exercise of the call going well.

Remember that nerves are part of the process, and you’ll improve with practice!

2. Focus on the conversation, not call metrics

No one wants to have a conversation with a robot. Ensure you’re having a two-way conversation rather than just talking at the prospect without pause. Leave space for them to interject or ask questions. 

The best cold calling scripts leave room for improvisation to let the conversation flow naturally, while still working to direct the prospect towards the next step.

3. Always work to move leads downstream

Remember that the purpose of a sales call is to book a meeting. The goal of an SDR should always be to move the lead further along the pipeline, to nurture and qualify prospects before handing them off to an account executive (AE). 

Keep that goal in mind throughout the conversation. Small talk can be great to open the call, but don’t let the conversation drift too far into irrelevance.

4. Make an emotional connection

We buy with our emotions. The best way to cold call is to approach the prospect with genuine interest and work to build a relationship rather than just make a sale. 

Whether or not the prospect realizes it, their buying decision will be heavily influenced by how they feel–which means as a salesperson; it’s in your best interest to make a strong connection.

5. Truly listen

When it comes to best cold call techniques, active listening is severely underrated. Everyone wants to feel heard and understood, and your prospects are no exception. Listen closely to what they say and repeat it back to them to ensure you understand the situation correctly.

6. Understand pain points

Speaking to the prospect’s pain points is a tried and true cold calling technique, and it should undoubtedly be a part of your process. Showing empathy for the prospect’s situation builds trust and a closer relationship.

Before you pick up the phone, make sure you have a strong understanding of each buyer persona and how their pain points differ. Different personas will deal with different problems. If you need to, you can try mentioning several pain points on the call to see what resonates most with that individual prospect.

7. Frame the offering as a solution

No cold call best practices list would be complete with presenting the solution. After you’ve discussed the prospect’s pain points and built a rapport, it’s time to introduce your company’s offer as the solution. 

Remember to focus on emotional benefits over features. The prospect isn’t interested in a long list of use cases; they’re interested in how your offer solves their problem. If you’ve followed the other tips on listening and understanding their pain points, then this part should be easy.

8. Invite questions

Don’t forget to pause and invite the prospect to ask questions. Many sales reps skip over this step because they think it means losing control of the conversation, or they’re afraid the prospect will ask a question they don’t know the answer to.

In reality, prospects appreciate the chance to contribute to the conversation. If they’re asking questions, that’s a sign they’re interested in hearing more about the offer–and an opportunity to get additional buy-in.

9. Stay on the phone and ask discovery questions

Discovery questions are an important part of any sales call. Asking the right questions can help you qualify the lead and ensure that you only book meetings with prospects who are a good fit.

10. Look to cross-sell or up-sell other offerings

If your company sells several different offers, there could be a chance for you to cross-sell or up-sell another solution. Just be careful that what you’re offering is a good fit for the prospect, and try not to force anything. If you’re not trained to sell another solution, you can simply connect the prospect to a different SDR that sells what they need.

Conclusion 

These 10 cold calling best practices will help you book more meetings, thoroughly qualify each prospect, and navigate the sales conversation with confidence.

If you need help with your outbound sales strategy, click here to book a free discovery call! Our sales development coaches have helped thousands of companies generate predictable revenue with proven cold-calling techniques.

We’ve compiled 31 of the most relevant outbound sales stats, covering everything from email outreach and cold calling to some surprising trends in the sales job market–and an unexpected reason your reps may be losing hours of productivity. 

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