What is Cold Calling: definition, meaning, tips

Some people might say that cold calling is dead. But many companies, be that startups or Fortune 500 businesses, still use it to successfully drive revenue.

What is cold calling in sales?

As opposed to warm calling, where there is already an established connection, cold calling is defined as making an unsolicited call to a prospect. Because there is no established communication, the prospect is not expecting the call.

Cold calling isn’t particularly a salesperson’s favorite thing, as the rate of success is low, and the time put into it is high. But don’t let the following numbers discourage you, make them encourage you to do better cold calls:

Upsides of cold calling

After reading the cold calling meaning, you might view it as a dead sales technique. Still, despite the bad reputation, it’s a vital component of B2B sales that has quite a few advantages, as it’s: 

Personalized

The power of hearing a human being on the other side of the phone line helps personalize the pitch in a way cold emails can’t. A cold email can be easily thrown away, just like direct mail.

Informative

There’s much to say about a human touch when calling a prospect, whether it be a cold or warm call. A cold email can give some information, but a salesperson can be asked questions and give answers without wasting the prospects’ time on researching the product (which is something no one wants to do!). 

Easy to follow-up

If nothing else, making the 2nd call gives you the chance to give an even more personalized experience, make a business connection, and hopefully make a sale (or, at least, come closer to making it). Often prospects will want to be given time to decide, and multiple calls and meetings can help.

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How to cold call effectively

With research into potential prospects, tenacity, patience while being rejected, and a good script, you can eventually make a sale. When making a cold call, there are some helpful guidelines to stick to:

Prepare your opening statement ahead of time

You don’t want to ask questions that may derail your sales pitch, nor do you want to come off rude, so have a solid opening for your pitch.

Prepare a script for any possible calls

This also includes scripts for situations when the call goes south. You want to know prior to any cold call how you will handle it, no matter what mood your prospects are in or what questions they may have.

Make sure your data on the prospect is up-to-date

It’s important to know who you are talking to and how to approach them. Be prepared by knowing everything you can about the company and the person you are contacting.

Listen to the prospect, don’t do all the talking

Once you get through your opening statement, a cold call should turn into an interaction, which requires letting the prospect talk and ask questions.

Be persistent

Don’t give up on your sale; prospects need time to decide, and that takes more calling them and more patience on your part.

Ask for the 2nd meeting

Tell your prospect you would like to meet and be specific, e.g., “I’m getting coffee at 2 pm, would it be a good time to meet to discuss this more?”

Be friendly

This may be obvious, but be nice to everyone, as this reflects upon your character in a positive way.

Downsides of cold calling

As we’ve mentioned in the cold calling definition, it means you are just showing up out of the blue, not completely knowing if prospects will be interested. Despite some tips, you have to be prepared to get many rejections, including being hung up on and having your number blocked. At such a low rate of success, you have to choose whether you find it worth the time.

Cold calling can be tedious with no guaranteed success. So, in this highly technological age, cold emails, social media interactions, and new technology are much more utilized. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t use it. It just means that it takes more time and effort to do.

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Unfortunately, most prospects do not like cold calling. Scam artists and spammers frequently use it as a method to defraud, which hampers the effectiveness of legitimate cold calling. In the US, it’s even harder to cold call now. Due to infinite robocalls, the government has set up Do Not Call Registry laws, which in theory keeps spammers from contacting you on your personal phone. This law doesn’t apply to companies, but it makes people wary of unknown numbers. 

So, you can no longer be sure your call is even going to be picked up when making a cold call. If you are not picked up, either leave a message or try again later.

Wrapping up

Indeed, cold calling is not a popular marketing strategy anymore, but it is still used widely. The key to its success is patience and preparation of what you will say as soon as the phone is picked up on the other end. Don’t get discouraged by the lack of positive responses – for every hundred you call, there’s at least one diamond in there. 

In cold calling, you have precisely one chance to get it right. Make those scripts and practice a lot. Learn everything you can about your prospects and demonstrate you have done your homework on them and their company. Be confident and be among 37% of salespeople who don’t mind doing cold calls at all.

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