August 9, 2019

Successful Cold Calls in 10 Steps

5 min

The last cold call we received was very funny. The salesman had no idea where he was calling, who he was talking to and what he had to tell us. In fact, he phoned his competitor to sell his services… He hung up soon enough when we told him what we were doing! Have you ever made this mistake?

If so, do not worry. We have selected the best tips we use at the agency in B2B selling to help you avoid this kind of situation.

1. Create a List of Potential Customers to Call

The first step is to select the prospects corresponding to your customer avatar. A customer avatar is a fictional character with the characteristics of your target customers—the ones to whom you want to sell your products or services.

In order to do this, you can consult business or association directories; study the LinkedIn profiles of your contacts; revisit the business cards you have been collecting for years; scan newspaper articles or newsletters published in your area to find businesses, amongst other information.

Target the highest ranked person in the organization—or the one with decision-making power—and take note of his or her contact details.

Dig deeper and do some research on your prospects to learn more about the context of their business.

The goal is to find links between you and them. Are you part of a common organization? Do you have similar interests? Did they just won a prize or were they published in a newspaper? This information could help you build a relationship with your prospects during your calls and bring a touch of humanity into your conversations.

2. Identify the Main Purpose of the Calls

Would you agree to marry a complete stranger? We do not think so!

Desmond Morris, a renowned zoologist, says there are 12 steps into shaping interpersonal relationships, ranging from eye contact to much more intimate contact. What parallel can we do with business development?

At first, it is important to understand that your potential customers must know your existence before becoming your brand ambassadors. If you are aiming to sell a $250 eco-friendly product during a cold call, you will certainly have a lot of difficulty and will soon be discouraged.


Mr. Morris explains that skipping two or more steps is considered aggression. In business, the simple principle applies. If you try to convince someone into buying too quickly, he may hang up the phone on you. You will then fall into the “annoying telemarketer” box.

Your goal could then be to get known by potential customers and give them the opportunity to continue the discussion at another time. For example, suggest a future phone appointment in a few days, following the sending of catchy documents.

3. Select the Right Person to Communicate with Your Prospects

Now that you know the customers to approach and the purpose of the call, identify someone in your company—perhaps you—who is best equipped to do this.

This person must be very knowledgeable about your business, have good interpersonal skills, empathy, enthusiasm, perseverance and repartee.

The individual we told you about at the beginning of the article seemed to be very new to the business and lacked confidence. We felt it right away. Do not leave this job to a recruit who has not received any training. It is always better if it is a manager who makes these calls—especially if there are links between him and the prospect.

4. Prepare a Text and a List of Frequently Asked Questions

The worst mistake to commit is to recite a text during a call. The purpose of the exercise is to help us formulate key messages that we wish to convey to our interlocutor.

Here is a simple introduction text that you can adapt:

“Hello Sir/Madam <FAMILY NAME>. My name is <YOUR FIRST NAME & NAME> and I am managing <NAME OF YOUR COMPANY>. I heard about you from an excellent client of ours. Is it a good time to discuss very briefly? <PAUSE—POSITIVE RESPONSE>

Thank you! Our company helps <YOUR TARGET CUSTOMERS> to <YOUR CUSTOMERS MAIN GOALS>, so that they can <YOUR CUSTOMERS BIGGEST DREAM> without <YOUR CUSTOMERS MAIN FRUSTRATION>. Does this sound interesting to you?”

Next, you can go on by asking relevant questions to determine if he is a good potential customer for your business and ending with an invitation, such as a proposal to meet in person.

Another telemarketer contacted us a few months ago and presented himself as being a Google associate. We finally understood that he was from a private company that had nothing to do with the giant… Above all, do not lie about who you are and be very clear from the start.

Also, be ready for objections or questions. The more prepared you are, the more confident you will be and the best are your chances of establishing a fruitful relationship with the prospect.

5. Have an Excellent Phone Line and Good Tracking Tools

Cell phones and IP phone lines may have some crackles. Make sure your line is of excellent quality and that you are not on the road or in a cosmic storm somewhere. Sometimes, we hear very well the background noises!

For example, use a computer to take notes and do some research for the client if there is a need.

6. Set the Ideal Moment and be in Shape!

According to a CallHippo study conducted in 2017, the best times to call organizations are Wednesday and Thursday between 11 a.m. and noon and between 4 p.m. and 5 p.m.

At ECOLEAD, we prefer Thursday morning. It’s perfect for our target clientele.

Nevertheless, do your own tests and identify what period works best for you.

Another tip: be in top shape. A prospect gets in five seconds how he feels about you.

Visualize yourself succeeding with the call and creating a great first impression. While the phone is ringing, smile and let your interlocutor’s mirror neurons light up to catalyze a good feeling in him.

7. Listen Actively to Your Caller

Warning! Do not do several things at the same time during the call. It is easily noticeable when a person does not listen to us…

Active listening will help you determine if your potential client needs you and if you need him.

In addition, empathy is your best friend in a two-way communication context. Acknowledging and understanding the feelings and emotions of your prospect will inspire you to lead the conversation like a pro.

If he did not have a great experience before, you can reassure him by saying for example that you understand the situation and that you will be happy to help him whenever he wants.

8. Do Not Try to Sell at All Costs

Every day, we are exposed to hundreds of commercials in our personal lives. We certainly do not want to feel overwhelmed at work on top of everything else.

If the person does not answer, you can leave a short, positive message with your name, organization, the purpose of your call and when you will call back. All this should last a maximum of 15 seconds.

9. Spoil Yourself!

Take breaks between calls. Treat yourself with an organic and fair trade hot chocolate before carrying on. This makes the process less arduous and it is good for you.

10. Follow Up With Your Prospects and Evaluate Your Performance

Ideally, you should track your calls with a customer relationship management (CRM) software such as Salesforce or Microsoft Dynamics 365. Otherwise, an Excel file can “do a good job” for some companies. Write down the date of the call, the person you spoke to, the results and the next actions to take. You can also schedule follow-up alerts to be performed on certain dates with software such as Outlook.

Here are some data to record if you wish:

  • Number of people called;
  • Number of people reached;
  • Number of qualified people;
  • Number of people to whom you have made a sale;
  • Average duration of the calls.

Do not forget to speak with your heart: behind every call is a human. We always do H2H business (human to human) in the end…