8 Cold Calling Tips to Boost Your Success Rate (& Keep It Fun)
Believe it or not, cold calling success isn’t about the script you use or the structure of your call.
Those are important elements, of course, but they aren’t what matters most.
What does move the needle, you ask?
Keep reading to learn 8 advanced cold calling tips that anyone can master — all but guaranteed to boost your success rate and help you hit your numbers faster.
Let’s dive in…
Cold Calling Tip #1: a Lesson from Stevie Wonder
Weirdly, the #1 cold calling tip can be summed up in an old Stevie Wonder song.
Here’s what I mean by that…
It might not be the first thing you say to someone when you cold call them, but Stevie Wonder nailed it with his lyrics, “I just called to say I love you. I just called to say how much I care.”
My tip? You must have the right mindset.
To truly succeed at cold calling, you need to care about the person on the other end of the line. And to express that concern, you need to have a positive mindset.
Think about it…
Your mindset affects your tone of voice. When you’re feeling positive and upbeat, your voice is brighter. When you’re tired, depressed, or angry, it’s flat and less inviting.
All of this gets transmitted to the listener. And it sways them unconsciously to stay on the line… or not.
So Tip #1 is this: Go into your cold calls with the right mindset.
Now, to be clear. It doesn’t change the fact that you’ll get a ton of nos, but as the old saying goes, “No is one step closer to the Yes.“
With the right mindset, you’ll stay positive and upbeat no matter what. Even more important, you’ll brush off negativity and respond to the nos politely and professionally.
Tip #2: Set the right goals for your calls.
In addition to having the right mindset, you need to have a clear goal for every call. Maybe you want to:
- Book a meeting
- Sell a product directly
- Get the potential client to accept a trial
Whatever it is, it needs to be clear and actionable.
I recommend you set a small goal to get you started and celebrate every time you hit it. As your success rate climbs, you can adjust your goals too, and you will see a gradual improvement in your efficiency and success rate.
Tip #3: PRACTICE, practice, practice.
This is where failures tend to happen — either by the sales organization or by the overconfident “how hard can it be to call” sales rep.
The first is a BIG company failure. (That’s not on you, sales rep.) The second can be resolved very fast. (But only if you apply yourself! This one is totally on you, rep.)
Think about actors for a moment…
The best actors in the world practice like crazy before a role. They deep dive into the role and become the character they’re going to play.
In 1989, when Daniel Day-Lewis starred in the film My Left Foot, in which he played an Irishman with cerebral palsy, Lewis did not leave his character’s wheelchair. Crew members were required to spoon-feed him. He also adopted his character’s slumped posture, which eventually caused two of his ribs to break.
I´m not saying you need to go to those extremes, but to become great at your work, you need to practice!
First, make a script. It will help you stay focused, especially in the beginning. Think of the script as your wingman. When you need support, it’s there.
Your goal, though, is to get to the point you don’t need it.
Don’t worry. That should happen naturally over time. Starting out, you only need to be able to deliver it with confidence, because it gives you a framework that’s been proven to work.
Then, as you grow more comfortable with it, you’ll start to personalize it. Eventually, you’ll have a unique script that fits within the framework but is all “you.”
Now, let’s look at 3 ways to practice delivering your script.
1. Listen to others and let them listen to you.
This is more helpful than you might realize. Some years ago, I managed an outbound call center, and every time we started a new employee, we quickly got them up to speed by giving them:
- A predefined script
- 1:1 training without the phone (role playing)
- Dedicated time for listening to some of our best reps
Later we let them try it themselves — with one of us listening to them and giving them constructive feedback. Using this approach, you never feel alone. You listen and learn from the best.
2. Practice with your colleagues, manager, etc.
You will find your own style — and the more natural it sounds (be you), the better and more confident you will feel. (And I promise, the people you call will feel it.)
There is also a ton of software that lets you tape your sales calls so it’s easy to review your calls for training and to be sure you follow the script.
3. Focus on your voice.
Remember, on cold calls, you can’t display your body language or facial expressions. Your voice needs to communicate everything. You’ll do that by moderating your pacing, your tone of voice, and your volume.
Pace. Speak a little faster than the person you speak to. That will help them feel like you’re thinking and working in sync. People from different regions can have completely different pacing, so pay attention to the other person’s speaking style, and then adapt to it.
Also, vary you’re pacing. If you use the same flat pace with no variation, it will sound boring (and scripted). It sounds more conversational to vary your pace, depending on what you’re saying.
Tone of voice. Similarly, you should change your tone, depending on what you are talking about. This can be difficult at first, but when you begin to lower and raise your voice at the right places, it tells your listener that you’re engaged and interested.
Volume. I´m not recommending you scream but speaking out a little louder than you normally would transmits security and confidence
Tip #4: Pay attention to your body language.
It seems odd but it works. It´s hard to “fall asleep” or “be boring” when you move your body in the right way.
Here’s how to do this:
- Stand up while calling.
- Put a smile on your face.
- If you have the option to walk around a bit, you will be surprised how much it affects your tone of voice and confidence.
One piece of advice: If you start pacing up and down the office floors, your co-workers may not like it, so make sure it’s ok with your colleagues. 🙂
Tip #5: Treat your prospects as people, not a phone number.
This seems obvious, but I have seen it countless times: The second you forget it’s a human being on the other end of the line, your success (and motivation) drops like a stone.
Tip #6: Don’t go into a call unprepared.
You must know your product cold.
Know what you’re talking about. Do your research before you start calling potential clients. Understand the problems your product solves and how the potential client will use it.
Back to practice: You have 10-15 seconds to get their attention, so make sure they count.
Tip #7: Make or get a plan for handling objections.
You will get objections. Period.
If for no other reason, you’ll get objections because your prospects get calls all the time, and their default response is one of 3 things:
- I don´t have time.
- Send me an e-mail.
- I’m not interested.
So be prepared with a response that disrupts this default pattern. Just make sure it fits into the goal of your call (meeting, trial, or a direct sell).
Tip #8: Don´t take it personally 🙂
Cold calling is a tough job. You’re going to get a lot of No’s. So think about it like this:
The people who give you a well-deserved Yes are one step ahead of their competition (who may have already given you a No). You are making a difference to their business. Well done.
Some of these tips may be obvious, and they may sound simplistic. But you’d be surprised at how often they’re forgotten.
If you’re looking for cold calling tips, you don’t necessarily need another script, more pep talks, or better affirmations.
The first thing you need is the right mindset. Believe it or not, that trumps every other cold calling tips you might learn. But you also need the right foundations, things like proper goals and plenty of practice.
That’s a good place to start improving your cold calls. Then try the other tips in this list, until they become second nature and send your success rate soaring.
What’s your biggest challenge with cold calling? Do you have cold calling tips to add to this list? Let us know in the comments below.