The Top 5 Cold Calling Tips – (That Actually Work)
You’ve had it, haven’t you?
That awful nervous feeling clenching at your stomach when you pick up the phone and start to call your target prospect.
You aren’t alone. Even the most seasoned sales pros still hate the thought of making cold calls.
The trick is to stop thinking of them as “cold” calls. Think as though you are calling an old colleague
Drawing on tried-and-true advice from veteran cold callers, as well as from proven research, here are our top 5 cold calling tips to help you make your intro and win more meetings.
- Smile and Dial
Next time you go to pick up the phone, try opening up the webcam on your computer or setting up a small mirror near your desk. Take a moment to check your smile before you dial, recommends Yesware Sales Consultant Timothy Song.
While it may seem a bit daft at first, recent research suggests that wearing a smile – a real one or not – brings certain benefits that can help reluctant cold callers:
- Reduce stress. University of Kansas researchers found that smiling during a stressful situation can lower heart rates and reduce stress response.
- Build some rapport with your prospect. Smiling affects how we speak, to the point where your prospect can pick up on your facial expressions and even identify the type of smile based on sound alone. When they hear you smile, science tells us that it’s only a matter of time before the brain’s mirror neurons fire up, creating the ‘feel good’ sensation in their own mind that’s associated with smiling.
Bonus benefit: Allowing your internal emotions reflect on your face intensifies them, so punctuating your cold calling pitch with smiles can make you feel happier throughout the day.
- Stand Like a Superhero
Research by social psychologist Amy Cuddy shows that body language matters, even if the person on the other line can’t see you. Standing in a power position— feet apart, hands on hips— for two minutes is proven to:
- Increase testosterone levels (increases confidence)
- Decrease cortisol levels (decreases stress)
This also holds true when you’re seated at a desk. Sitting up straight rather than slouching can help you feel in control and wipe away feelings of nervousness.
- Phone a Friend
Bring a snapshot of the person you love most in the world to work, and tape it to your computer monitor. The next time you’re waiting for your prospect to pick up, pretend you’re calling the person in the photo instead.
Why it works: Looking at a photo of a loved one not only makes you feel happier, but it can also relieve pain, put you at ease, and make you less susceptible to anxiety.
Thinking of your loved one while you speak can also remind you to be more patient and attentive to the person on the other line. And if we’ve learned anything from our ‘smile and dial’ research, it’s that sounding friendlier and approachable never hurts.
- Speak a maximum of Two Sentences at a Time
Studies show that the human brain can only hang onto 20-30 seconds of information at any given time. By that measure, your prospect will likely only retain 30 seconds of a fifteen minute conversation, so get straight to the point
You need to consider that when you make that cold call, the person you are speaking to has never heard of your company, and is unfamiliar with the product or service you are offering. Rather than overwhelm them with information or industry-specific jargon or acronyms, it’s recommended that sales professionals speak clearly and stick to high-level explanations.
If your prospect starts asking for specific information, you’ll know they’re interested in learning more. Take this opportunity to set up a meeting when they can discuss any questions in more depth.
- Handling Rejection
Do you handle rejection well?
Few people outside of sales would answer yes to that question, yet rejection is a normal part of a salesperson’s day-to-day, especially when making cold calls. But this isn’t necessarily a bad thing. The key is learning to see rejection as a form of motivation, rather than letting the no’s get you down.
For example, instead of trying to get a certain number of “yes’s” per day, Management Consultant Robert D. Smith decided to chase down “no’s.” Most days, Smith said, he wouldn’t be able to meet his desired number of “no’s,” because he kept getting too many “yes’s.”
Focusing on “no” has a doubly positive effect: it allows you to increase your sales pipeline velocity, thereby improving your sales performance.