How to Cold Call

Cold calling is one of the most difficult and frustrating sales activities for salespeople, as they are rejected as soon as the conversation starts.

Won You
· 8 min read
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Cold calling is one of the most difficult and frustrating sales activities for salespeople, as they are rejected as soon as the conversation starts.

Nevertheless, cold calling is a critical sales tactic for any B2B sales team, especially in the early stages when your brand and product aren't well known.

It is hard to get results, and even when they do, they can be exhausting for sales reps. So in this post, we'll cover why cold calling is important and how to do it well.

Cold calling is almost the only sales tool for early teams

Cold calling is an outbound sales method that involves reaching out to prospects first. It's called cold because the prospect is not expecting to be contacted by the sales team and often has no or very little intent to buy.

It's almost impossible to do inbound sales where customers reach out to your early team because they don't have a presence in the market yet. Of course, you should prepare for inbound sales early on, but cold calling is the only way to go when you need to get customer feedback and build your product quickly.

Cold calling is a very physically and emotionally demanding sales activity, with many customers rejecting you without listening to what you have to say.

Nevertheless, cold calling is the fastest way to get customer feedback, which can help you improve your product, launch a minimum viable product (MVP), or get initial customers.

Later, when outbound sales become a major strategy, you'll hire SDR / BDR roles primarily responsible for cold calling and emailing.

The purpose of cold calling is to generate interest, not to sell.

The most important thing when making a cold call is to understand the purpose of the cold call. It is to generate interest, not to sell a product or service.

And a key part of generating interest is recognizing a problem and getting them to act now to find a solution.

The biggest mistake people make when cold calling is to start talking about the product immediately. Prospects aren't expecting a sales call and often don't think they have a problem, so when a sales representative starts talking about the product, they naturally get annoyed and don't want to hear more.

If you think about it, we all get cold calls like this at least once a week. Whether it's a call to upgrade your cell phone or get a new credit card, most people hang up or decline before the conversation ends. If you are doing cold calls, listening to the cold calls you receive would be helpful.

Now, let's talk about how to keep your prospects interested and not offended when cold calling.

Two ways to get attention on a cold call

1. Ask prospects for help

We tend to respond a little more positively when someone asks us for help, so asking prospects for help works well, especially for early teams that don't know exactly what their customer's problem is or don't have any real-world examples.

At this point, it's more important to know your customer's problem than to talk about your product, and it's better to hypothesize than to ask them what their problem is.


Hi [prospect name], this is [caller name] from [company name]. Are you available for a quick call right now?

My team is conducting interviews to develop a solution for [problem].

I found you on LinkedIn, [prospect name], and I'm calling because I thought your previous experience might be helpful.

I'd like to ask you a few questions about [problem]. Is that okay?

2. Provide real-world examples of similar customers

A real-world example works well if you already have enough customers and understand your prospect's problem. Providing the example quickly builds trust and interest as soon as you start the call.

You can also use the challenger sale technique to lead the conversation with your customers, especially if you understand their problems well.


Hi [prospect name], this is [caller name] from [company name]. Are you available for a quick call right now?

My team is currently solving [real customer]'s [problem] with [solution].

I was wondering if [prospect company name] also has a [problem] and if we could talk briefly about it.

Depending on the situation, if you successfully pique the prospect's interest using the above two methods, you can proceed as if you were having a conversation, asking additional questions.

Next, let's take a look at six cold-calling tips.

  1. “Is this a good time?”
  2. Do preliminary research
  3. Schedule the next call at the end of the call
  4. Combine it with other outbound sales activities
  5. Keep it simple
  6. Tone

Six cold calling tips

1. "Is this a good time?"

Prospects aren't expecting a cold call, so they'll pick up the phone while they're at work, and it can feel rude if the call is a blind sales pitch.

We must let their guard down first to get prospects interested in what we say.

Hi, [prospect name]. This is [name] from [company name]. Is this a good time for a quick chat?

They may be in a hurry, in a meeting, or otherwise unavailable to take your call, which is why it's a good idea to ask if they're available for a quick call first and start talking when they say yes.

2. Do preliminary research

About three minutes of simple preliminary research helps understand the customer's problem better. Here are some things that can help you with your preliminary research

  • Latest news
  • Homepage
  • LinkedIn
  • The tech stack they're using (Using Rayst or BuiltWith)
  • Stage of investment
  • Team size
  • Job postings

One important thing is not to spend too much time on preliminary research. Spending too much time on it can be a waste, as many times you won't be able to get on the call in the first place, they'll decline, or the conversation won't go well.

Simply do some preliminary research, and if the call doesn't go through, note what you've learned so you can use it when you call back.

Leaving a cold call in Relate.

3. Schedule the next call at the end of the call

Your sales efforts don't end with a single cold call. Cold calling can help prioritize which prospects on your prospecting list are worthy of further sales efforts.

Once you've found an interested prospect, you must schedule a follow-up meeting for further sales activity. Ideally, you'll want to set a specific date and time before the meeting is over, and it's also important to follow up with them one more time before the meeting to make sure there are no scheduling conflicts.

If your team is in its infancy, meeting with prospects face to face is a great way to learn more about their problems, the context in which they occur, and how they're currently solving them. And the more you know about their situation, the more confidently you'll make cold calls.

4. Combine it with other outbound sales activities

Rather than jumping right into a cold call, sending an email or LinkedIn message first and then reaching out can help lower your guard.


Hi [prospect name], this is [name] from [company name], and I was wondering if you had a chance to check out the email I sent you yesterday.

If you're using a tool for cold email campaigns, you can see who reads your emails. Cold-calling a prospect who hasn't replied but has read your email multiple times increases your chances of closing the deal.

5. Keep it simple

Cold calling requires a different kind of communication from face-to-face meetings. If your explanation is longer than two or three sentences, the person on the other end is unlikely to understand it, so it's important to be concise.

To do this, you should script out your key messages, get feedback from others, and refine your script, key messages, and keywords as you go along.

6. Tone

There's no one right answer when it comes to shaping your tone. However, a bright and confident voice is crucial.

Especially if your story doesn't come across well, if you sound too stiff, or if you don't sound confident, the person on the other end won't listen.

That's why getting feedback from others is so important when you first start cold calling. If you're in a situation where getting feedback is difficult, recording yourself and listening to it can be effective.

What to do depending on the situation

1. Prospect gets annoyed or tries to end the call right away

It's best to send a quick introductory email and reschedule the call rather than try to force the issue. It'll only make things worse and make it harder to talk again in the future.


I know you're busy, and I apologize for calling you out of the blue, but would you mind if I sent you a quick introductory email and called you back?

Let me know when you're available, say five minutes, and I'll try to fit you in.

Ideally, it would be great to schedule a call at a more appropriate time. However, if prospects just hang up or decline, it would be better not to contact them for a while.

2. When they ask you to send some materials first

First, getting the contact's personal email information is important if you don't already have it. If they give you their work email, it's best to politely ask for their personal email, as it may end up in the spam.

After you've sent your pitch, you can follow up with an email a few days later, and if you don't hear back, you can call and ask again.

Again, using a tool that shares your material as a link rather than sending it directly as a file is a great way to see if they've read it, and you can focus your follow-up calls more on prospects who have read it.

3. I’m not interested

If possible, it's a good idea to find out why someone says they're not interested: they might be too busy with other important things right now, their internal rules don't allow them to introduce new solutions, they might already have a new solution in place, or they might not be interested in the problem at all.

If you're inexperienced with cold calling, it can be difficult to respond to these objections right away; you'll need to organize your objections and then organize how to convince them.

The ideal conversion rate for a cold call is 10%

A 10% conversion rate from the cold call to the next meeting is very successful (source: EBQ). This means that even people good at cold calling get rejected and fail to get to the next meeting.

The experience of repeated rejection makes salespeople less confident and harder to cold call.

But if you remember that you only need to convert one out of every 10 prospects to a next meeting, you don't have to let repeated rejections get you down.

Rather, if you use cold calling to learn about your prospect quickly, the market, how to deliver value to prospects, and how to better target your ICP, you can quickly generate good results from cold calling.

So, just remember this when cold calling. The purpose of cold calling is to generate interest, not to sell. You just need to move to the next step, not close a deal.