Don’t Fear Cold Calling in Sales! Here's How to Make Them a Success

BY Jessica Helinski
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Love it or hate, cold calling in sales isn’t going away. While some professionals predicted its demise as digital communications became widespread, B2B cold calls continue to be routine for many. 

Why is cold calling in sales still popular?

Despite sellers embracing other forms of outreach, like email and social media, they continue to make cold calls. 

Cold calling remains a robust sales strategy in the B2B landscape, primarily because it creates a direct line of communication with your prospects,” explains Leanne Calderwood in a blog post. “This swift, straightforward approach often translates into immediate feedback, thereby allowing sales reps to adapt their approach in real time.”

And buyers actually pick up cold calls. RAIN Group found that 69% of buyers accepted cold calls from new vendors in the past 12 months. Additionally, 27% of reps say this method is “very/​extremely effective.”

Prepare for common challenges

If you aren’t a fan of cold calls, understanding and overcoming common challenges of cold calling in sales is key. One of the biggest is the fear of rejection. While rejection happens in cold calling, it doesn’t happen every time. It’s up to sellers to adjust their mindset and approach calls feeling confident rather than expecting defeat. 

And if you do hear a no, Calderwood urges sellers to remember “it’s not personal. Developing a thick skin and maintaining your focus on long-​term gains is crucial.”

If your fear of rejection is preventing you from picking up the phone, take a look at these tips to reframe your mindset. Also, read SalesFuel’s advice for how to deal with rejection and how to turn it into a positive when it does happen.

Adjust and update your strategy

While cold calling in sales has been around for a long time, you do need to evolve your strategy. Buyers change, and smart sellers make time to fine-​tune their approach accordingly. 

No longer does simply knowing the name of a business and their industry be enough. When you make a cold call, you need to have performed pre-​call research. You must have specific, detailed knowledge about the lead in order to keep them on the line. 

Familiarize yourself with recent company news, any recent challenges they might have faced, and their achievements,” Calderwood explains. “This will allow you to bring up relevant topics that show you’ve really done your homework.”

You’ll also stand out from other B2B callers. SalesFuel’s Voice of the Sales Rep study revealed that a shockingly low number of reps engage in important pre-​call activities. For example, only 21.5% prepare discovery questions based on pre-​call research.

And another tip? Put that research to use immediately. As Calderwood writes, “The first 15 seconds of your call determine whether the other party stays on the line or disconnects. Instead of diving right into a pitch, try asking a relevant question based on your research.”

Take time to listen

Another important aspect of successful cold calling in sales today is listening. While you’re likely anxious to hook the lead, you will also impress them, and learn, by pausing to listen. Remember, sales isn’t all about you; wow the buyer right away by showing you care enough to be quiet.

Yaagneshwaran Ganesh agrees that active listening is key. Writing for Avoma​.com, he explains, “Don't go over your talking points trying to sell, but actually, listen to what they're saying. Double-​check with them on key points and ask them about additional details. This way, your prospects know that you're actively paying attention and looking for a way to help them.”

If you’ve never heard of active listening or feel like you could use a refresher, take time to brush up on effective practices

If cold calling in sales isn’t your favorite, take action to change that. Simply preparing for and responding to challenges, and using updated methods, can make these call easier to make. And you’ll find that the more comfortable you are making them, more responsive leads will be.