Cold Calling Is Alive! How to Cold Call, Connect, Convert, and Crush on the Phone

If you’ve worked in marketing or sales over the past decade then you’ve most likely heard someone say: “Cold calling is dead.”

In fact, this is one of the most popular lines in the field. And yet, many of the most successful businesses still practice cold calling in 2020, and they won’t be stopping anytime soon.

Why? How is cold calling still viable? Is it still an efficient way to connect with B2B buyers in the digital decades present and future? 

In our complete guide, CIENCE meticulously answers all of these questions, and many more, to solve the mystery of cold calling. 

What Is Cold Calling?

In B2B outbound marketing, cold calling is a prospecting technique used to start business conversations with decision-makers over the phone. The goal is to raise awareness and ultimately set up a discovery appointment with the appropriate individual.

The cold calling technique takes its origin from door-to-door sales. It was first formally documented back in 1873; created by the founder of the National Cash Register Corporation, Henry Patterson. 

According to Cargill Consulting Group, the main principles of cold calling haven’t changed since Patterson. The three main tenets of cold calling require the seller to:

Main principles of cold calling: Arrange direct contact with a stranger; Prove that the workflow of their business can be changed for good; Prove that your product can make it happen

However, some changes have occurred. The way cold calling is conducted today has been changed by technology, channels of communication, supporting processes, and different goals.

In the past, the aim of cold calling was closing deals. Now, with longer sales cycles and more decision-makers involved in a single purchase, it is used to identify qualified future customers and start conversations at the very top-of-funnel sales process. 

Is Cold Calling Dead?

It is if you can’t do it efficiently. In 2018, The Rain Group studied 488 B2B buyers and 489 sellers and found some interesting stats:

Is cold calling dead? These statistics prove it's alive

So why does “the cold calling is dead” myth persist? Because a lot of cold callers lack knowledge, motivation, and persistence. Brevet found that it takes an average of 8 cold call attempts to reach a prospect. Meanwhile, according to this study, only 50% of decision-makers get a second call. And ZoomInfo found that 50% of sales happen after the fifth touch, while most reps give up after the second attempt. 

In a study of over 5 million calls, Chorus found that it takes 106 dials made to convert a single meeting. For what it’s worth, only 27% of those dials actually connect. So, technically, you have a chance of converting 1 meeting out of 29 connected calls.

Given those statistical odds, it seems logical to announce that cold calling is not dead, but it is hard, but worth it for acquiring new business. At least that’s what science tells us.


Cold calling and telemarketing terms are often considered interchangeable. However, this is not correct. According to Chron, telemarketing is a broader term that denotes any contact with potential customers, while cold calling is an unsolicited engagement with a view to selling a product/service. Both techniques apply the same channel of communication (the telephone), but telemarketing typically encompasses a broader, B2C-form, whereas cold calling is the province of a more targeted, B2B, inside sales attack.  

Warm Calling

There are cold and warm calls. According to Investopedia, a warm call is any telephone contact with a potential customer who has already been contacted. In other words, in a multichannel sequence, the first touch would be cold, the second touch, the third, the fourth, etc. would be warm.

Salesbuzz goes even further, claiming that warm calls are calls made to prospects who directly and proactively engage with a company on their own, e.g., via the website.

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Sizzling Duo: Cold Calling And Cold Emailing 

A cold email is an initial email that is sent to a recipient without prior contact in order to start business conversations. 

Do you have to choose between cold calls and cold emails? No, you don’t. CIENCE believes that the combination of email sequences and phone calls has the best resources-to-efficiency ratio for B2B. According to SalesLoft, if you use both and take one channel out of the outreach equation you risk losing up to 98% of your response rate. In the new decade, a multichannel outbound strategy is a golden ticket to success in sales.

To Call Or Not To Call – What Is The Purpose?

You can set many different objectives for your cold calls, ranging from collecting sales intel to raising your company’s awareness. But, just as all roads lead back to Rome, cold calling goals come down to one ultimate objective – setting up a meeting between a qualified prospect and a sales manager who can then close the deal.

It would be too optimistic to expect to land a sale after the very first contact. While it’s possible, it’s more likely the cold call will set the stage for further communication. Cold calling serves as a good point of departure for starting business conversations and setting an appointment where sales reps can take over.Key goals of modern cold calling: collecting sales intel and market feedback; increasing awareness about the company and its product; qualifying leads; generating individual value for potential customers; setting appointments.

The CIENCE Of Cold Calling 

At CIENCE, we use the cold calling term to denote any active, direct engagement with a potential customer regardless if they were contacted previously or not. It is made via phone and aims to set an appointment with a prospect.

Chron’s approach is interesting but, in our opinion, cold calling isn’t about selling a product/service. It’s only the beginning of the sales journey. In the 2020s, the time span of most B2B buying processes has increased significantly compared to the 1990s. Cold calls that turn into sales on the spot (the 1-call close) are incredibly rare, if not extinct entirely.

To overcome the challenge, sales teams have reorganized their work, introducing sales specialization in the early 2010s. They divided the sales process into several stages and handed the first two stages (research and prospecting) to SDRs. Cold calling was one of the responsibilities that transferred from account execs and managers to sales development reps.

Therefore, the key goal of this method is to introduce your business to your potential customers as well as gather sales intel, qualify the lead, and set an appointment rather than sell anything.

Most modern cold calls are made after “warming” the lead with a prior note, be it an email, a LinkedIn message, ads, or even a gift. 

Into The Wild: Cold Calling Preparation  

Back in the 1980s-1990s, a new sales manager got a list of phone numbers, a telephone, and a sales pitch. Then (usually) he was left to his own devices – to “sink or swim.” Applying this do-everything salesperson in 2020 is an ultimate ‘sink’ strategy. 

To succeed in prospecting and cold calling, a sales-minded organization needs to:

How to succeed in cold calling and set an appointment  via the phone? Take these 4 steps: Prepare an ICP; Develop Buyer Personas; Acquire lists of phone numbers; Warm-up leads.

Ideal Customer Profile and Buyer Persona

These are descriptions of companies and the people at those companies who you have identified as best fits for your product or service.

Ideal Customer Profile (ICP) contains firmographics and a list of titles that you want to engage with. A company needs to segment its outreach and target only those customers that are good fits to its products or services.

An ICP is created based on the company’s existing client base and market research.

Elements of Ideal Customer Profile: Industry/vertical, Annual revenue, Employee headcount, Geography, Budget, Size of their customer, Level of organizational or technical maturity; Technology they use

Buyer Persona summarizes the key features of a decision-maker that will help reps during prospecting.

A buyer persona helps you to understand your potential client better and thus deliver a more customized, personalized message. However, to make it more personalized, an SDR needs to gather sales intelligence on a prospect prior to cold calling.

Key elements of Buyer Persona: Name and job title; Personality; Buying Behavior, Working environment, Buyer Persona Summary

We have an article on ICP and BP where we deep dive into everything you need to know about these critical guiding documents.

How To Get Phone Numbers For Cold Calling

Once you know what companies and titles you want to target, you need a list of leads that fit your ICP.

There are two main ways to acquire the digits:

  1. Purchase from a platform or a lead generation company;
  2. Create it on your own (either by hiring a sales research specialist or by assigning this task to your SDR).

Given our experiences executing hundreds of thousands of cold calls in 151 different B2B industries, getting a new list of contacts from a lead generation company has a number of advantages:

  1. Lead quality

    Leads should match your ICP, be accurate, and up-to-date. In this case, you will obtain a high connect rate(e.g., CIENCE guarantees a bounce rate of less than 7%) and reach out only to prospects who should be interested in your product or service.
  2. ROI

    The best ROI is achieved by maintaining the highest possible lead quality to get higher conversion rates. By doing both, you can lower the price per lead. Check out our ROI calculator to compare the cost per appointment for outsourced teams against in-house SDRs.
  3. Resources

    In-house sales research requires hiring, training, and management allocation. These activities take precious time from your managers and cause additional stress.

How To Warm Up Cold Leads

As we mentioned above, most cold calls today are actually “lukewarm“. Companies first reach out to their prospects via other channels to ‘prepare’ them for the upcoming engagement.

Ways to warm up leads:

  • Email;
  • Social Media (LinkedIn);
  • Offline outreach;
  • Ads.

Here are some stats to support a multi-channel approach:

Statistics to support multi-channel approach in prospecting

Some sales sequences don’t leverage the phone at all. They perform outbound outreach via email and social networks instead. In addition to the stats above, these campaigns often under-perform. Multi-channel campaigns are still the most efficient way to set an appointment.

Crafting Your Outbound Cold Calling Strategy

Google “cold calling strategy” and you’ll be surprised to find that most websites provide tips instead. Unfortunately, people often confuse strategy with tactics, techniques, and methods. 

At CIENCE, we consider cold calls to be a critical part of a multichannel, orchestrated outbound marketing strategy:

  1. Perform market research and client analysis;
  2. Define your ICP and Buyer Persona;
  3. Outline your unique value proposition based on your product and potential customer base;
  4. Set up budgeting, time frames, goals, and KPIs;
  5. Choose the channels you’ll be using, along with cold calling;
  6. Outline the prospecting sequence;
  7. Choose and obtain automation tools, e.g., CRM, dialer software;
  8. Hire and train SDRs;
  9. Create content (email, scripts, messages on social networks);
  10. Obtain a list of contacts;
  11. Initiate the multi-channel outreach;
  12. Analyze the results and introduce the changes if necessary.

Those 12 principles of outbound represent a 30,000-foot view of what executing a sophisticated, effective outbound campaign looks like. If you’ve worked as, with, or alongside a sales development team, you know how complex and time consuming each point above is. 

When we drill down into cold calling only, the best sales organizations execute meticulously crafted cold calling plans to perfection. They all have six vital elements:

  1. Call Scripts
    – Greeting;
    – Call Entry;
    – Reason for calling;
    – Killer questions;
    – Lead qualification;
    – Setting an appointment.
  2. Process
    – The SDR’s daily routine;
    – Number of dials per day/ per prospect;
    – Sales intelligence;
    – Work with software;
    – Personalization and value generation;
    – Analysis of the phone calls;
    – Reporting;
    – Looking for new prospecting and calling techniques.
  3. Employment Terms
    – Hiring;
    – Training;
    – Promotion;
    – Commissions;
    – Pay Structure.
  4. Management
    – Time allocation;
    – Sales leadership tactics;
    – Goals, KPIs, quotas;
    – Result analysis.
  5. Supporting reps
    – Motivating;
    – Rejection coping strategies;
    – Call reluctance tackling;
    – Retraining and improving skills.
  6. Efficiency
    – Analysis and evaluation;
    – Looking for ways to increase the efficiency of cold calling.

Cold Calling Scripts

Cold calling script is a written algorithm that describes a cold call step by step. 

Cold calling script helps to: train SDRs, deal with call reluctance, control the conversation, help with the next call, deliver value proposition, achieve confidence.

Pros And Cons of Cold Calling Scripts

There are both proponents and opponents of cold calling scripts. Both rivaling parties have some substantial arguments to support their ideas.

Possible Cons:

  1. They can turn a conversation into a monologue.
  2. They can sound unnatural (voice volume goes up, speech becomes faster and you sound like a robot).
  3. They can kill the creativity of the salesperson.


  1. Build a Foundation: When a new outreach campaign starts, a cold calling script serves as a starting point for an SDR. 
  2. Gain Confidence: SDRs don’t have to worry about forgetting something.
  3. Improved Conversation Experience: taking away the stress from an SDR gives them an opportunity to build a better rapport with the potential client.
  4. Apply Logic: scripts provide algorithms to apply for any situation that might happen during the conversation with a prospect. They also enable the rep to lead the conversation to some logical conclusion, i.e., lead qualification, appointment.
  5. Listen Actively: because reps can memorize a script by heart, they can concentrate on listening to what the prospect is actually saying to them rather than trying to come up with what to talk about next.
  6. Better Results: According to Selling Signals, 82% of buyers agree to meet with sales reps who interact with them through cold calls.
  7. A/B testing: sales teams can check what messaging works best with their potential clients.

A good sales script can make cold calling easier for reps and increase the efficiency of prospecting. Great outbound scripting will convert prospects into mid-pipeline prospects and help SDR managers hit quota goals. 

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Components Of A Good Cold Calling Script

  1. Introduction + Building Rapport

    Be human and be helpful. Don’t explain what your company does at the very beginning. Introducing yourself is essential. Make a pause as if giving your interlocutor a time to recall who you are. You can add this part to your script.

    While a copywriter can craft the body of the script, it’s up to the individual SDR to build rapport.  The best way to do this is to collect some sales intelligence beforehand and praise the prospect/their company for their achievements.

  2. Nail Your Key Message

    This is the reason why SDR calls. It’s your value proposition. The key suggestion here is to write a marketing text and then rewrite it from your prospects’ perspective. Focus on the one big thing that will matter to them.

    Example of a seller-centric value prop:

    ACME helps firms like yours overcome call reluctance by providing unique training that has shown 90% improvement rates across all the sales teams we worked with.” 

    Here’s how to create a “you” message:

    I’d like to talk to you about call reluctance. I’ve noticed that you hire reps on a regular basis. From my research, it looks like you have between 15-20 internal SDRs. Am I in the ballpark?…. Did you know that about 80% of new salespeople flame out in just the first year? We analyzed our clients and found the key reason behind it. It turns out most companies don’t provide sufficient and regular training. Does this sound familiar to you?

    The first example seems like a monologue. It’s impersonal and probably won’t resonate. The second message is about the value you can bring based on the present pain points. A dialogue between you and a prospect gives you an opportunity to adapt your message and make the most of your communication. 

  3. Prequalifying Questions

    Cold calling can provide important information about a company that your sales team can use. Another important task of CC (and ultimately prospecting) is to check whether a company is a good fit for you. Talk to your sales managers and ask what pre-qualifying questions they want to ask to the prospects.

  4. Talk High-Level Values

    The value should be based on the prospect’s answers to pre-qualifying questions. What you can do is ask sales managers for some examples of value they generated for a client and incorporate it into your script for the SDRs to reference when the conversation calls for it.

  5. Conclusion – Appointment Setting

    When a call nears the end, the worst thing an SDR can do is just hang up the phone. It’s important to negotiate the next steps – either an appointment or a follow-up call or email (or both). Write an option for each situation.

Include these elements to be fully prepared to capitalize on appointment opportunities:

  • Answers to common objections;
  • Canned responses;
  • Voicemail.

We suggest analyzing the script in the field, i.e., listening to real prospecting conversations and identifying areas of improvement. Your SDRs can provide useful feedback, too. Using AI tools for call analysis can reveal hidden insights in a non-biased way., for instance, identifies talk ratios, marks call stages through keywords, detects topics, and more. 

Learn more about how to create a cold call script to get an appointment in our additional article dedicated to crafting scripts to set appointments.

Cold Calling Scripts that Work

The Rain Group provided some interesting statistics on content that works in B2B sales.

Why B2B Buyers Accept a Meeting with Sellers? Stats

Tips For Writing a Pitch-Perfect Cold Calling Script:

  1. Define the ultimate purpose of your call (appointment, lead qualification, brand introduction, and awareness, warming up, collecting sales intel, etc.)
  2. Make sure your unique value proposition matches the actual buyer’s needs
  3. Use the language of your Buyer Persona. For example, CIENCE provides lead generation services to both sales and marketing teams. However, we use different terms for each of them (sales development + prospecting vs. outbound marketing and email marketing)
  4. Don’t turn your dialogue into a monologue (write short sentences)
  5. Chorus recommends the ideal number of questions to ask is 5
  6. The ideal ratio for successful cold calls has the SDRs talking 55% versus 45% listening (including prospecting questions)
  7. Because personalization matters, leave some space for sales intel that a rep fills in
  8. Create content for any situation that might happen during the conversation (have all the possibly needed information in front of your eyes)
  9. Study common objections and provide answers to them
  10. Write a F.A.Q. about your company and product/service

Cold calling scripts help sales reps to conduct more meaningful conversations with prospects. However, they will be useless without the ability of your SDRs to handle one-on-one conversations with decision-makers.

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Cold Calling Tools CIENCE Uses

There are many different programs on the market that help sales teams do cold calling more efficiently. We find these tolls invaluable when cold calling.

1. Everyday workflow – Google Apps

Similar to any business process, cold calling is a collaboration activity. It requires sourcing, collecting, recording, and storing information. That’s where Google Apps come in handy. They are free of charge. They are user-friendly. They are popular. 

Most decision-makers have Google Accounts and use Google apps on a regular basis. Many use Gmail as an email management app. And that’s the reason why most other apps and platforms synchronize with Google and Google accounts.

CIENCE uses Google docs to share content with each other. The app enables multiple contributors to comment on the texts and edit them. All of our cold calling scripts, ICPs, template questionnaires, and other important data are stored there. 

We also use Google sheets to record and store the contact data of our prospects as well as to upload this data to CRM. Finally, we leverage Google Calendar to set up meetings for ourselves and for our clients.

2. CRM 

A Customer Relationship Management system (CRM) is a must-have software that helps you to:

  • keep track of your potential and existing clients;
  • store all the interactions with them;
  • build, monitor and control your sales pipeline;
  • conduct and monitor the outreach via multiple channels;
  • analyze the stats (such as open rate, conversion rate, channel ROI).

Forrester claimed that a properly integrated CRM can give you a 245% ROI. Salesforce, HubSpot, and Zoho are the leaders of the CRM industry, but there are plenty to choose from.  

3. Conversation Intelligence Software

According to the Bridge Group, a rep has 6.3 meaningful conversations per day. That makes 31.5 conversations per week, per SDR. The average conversation duration, according to Topo, is 13.1 minutes. That makes around 30.26 hours of conversations per month, per rep.

Who would have time to store, listen, transcript, and analyze what most successful reps have in common? A Conversation Intelligence (CI) Software is here to do all of the above. Gong,, and SalesLoft are among the top CI providers in the industry. If you are looking for a simple direct dialer, you can use one of the VoIP software providers, such as Dialpad, CloudTalkPhoneburner, or RingCentral.

Tip: Before purchasing software, make sure that it can be integrated with the other tools your team uses on a regular basis.

Making A Cold Call

Much has changed since the days when sales newbies received a yellow book, a push-button telephone, a sales pitch, and a “swim or sink” line. Sales training is becoming increasingly popular. And salespeople are accumulating the best practices to share with each other.

This section of our article contains the best tips on how to make a cold call from the most efficient sales reps and managers at CIENCE.

Best Time to Cold Call

Not all the days and not all the hours are equally great to make a cold call. 

Best and worst time to cold call. Best and worst day to cold call.

So, when is the best time to cold call your audience? Testing is the only sure-fire way to gain certainty. This can be done in-house, or you can always hire CIENCE to do a comprehensive evaluation for you.


A gatekeeper is a person who works closely with a decision-maker and sorts all the incoming calls. Usually, they have an administrative role. He or she has no power to make a decision on a deal but does have the power to prevent an SDR from getting through to the decision-maker.

There isn’t a tactic on how to get past a gatekeeper that all the salespeople agree upon. Here are the most efficient ones:

1. Try to research the direct number of a person, not a general line. Getting straight to a decision-maker will save you time.

2. Never sell to a gatekeeper. Gatekeepers are not in charge of buying decisions, so you will just waste your energy there.

3. Be polite and build rapport. Remember, a gatekeeper gets messages to the decision-maker. If you are polite and friendly, your message has more chances to make it to a receiver.


According to Zoominfo, 80% of calls go to voicemail, and the average voicemail response rate is 4.8%. Probably, that’s the reason why 80% of callers that get to voicemail never leave a message. Sales pros have a different opinion.

Why Should You Leave Voicemails?

  1. A voicemail is a touch – the more touches the more chances to start a business conversation with a prospect.
  2. 80% of salespeople including your competitors don’t leverage this opportunity to stand out.
  3. Prospecting is about meticulously reaching out to your prospect via all possible channels. Missing one of them decreases efficiency.

How To Create a Good Voicemail Script?

Voicemail script is as essential as a cold calling script. An SDR who hasn’t got it, or hasn’t practiced enough is at risk of delivering a very vague message. That’s why, to avoid it, make sure that your cold calling script has a voicemail in it.

Good voicemail consists of 5 parts. Parts of a voicemail script: introduction, value proposition, call-to-action, your contact data, a promise to follow up

Tips for a Great Voicemail:

  1. Try to make it in less than 20 seconds in a slow calm voice. Nobody will listen to an SDR longer. 
  2. Capture a prospect’s attention with their name, their company name, and their competitors. Leverage personalization whenever appropriate.
  3. Use short sentences. Keep it simple and fun (if possible and where appropriate).
  4. Never just focus on your company (me-message), never sell your services/products over a voicemail, and never use indefinite timeframes (e.g. call me someday, whenever you find appropriate).

Presenting Yourself 

An introduction is an essential part of a cold call. If you don’t present yourself, you’ll give your prospect the reason to ask: “Who am I talking to?” According to sales pros, the person who asks questions controls the conversation forcing another person to either answer or sound impolite.


  • Use the prospect’s name;
  • Introduce yourself and your company;
  • We suggest not describing what your company does in the introduction part. It’s an obvious me-message and you’ll risk losing your prospect’s attention.
  • State the reason for your call, or:
  • Ask “How’ve you been?” It will help you to build a rapport, especially if you empathize with what the prospect says, e.g., “It’s great to hear” “Congrats on that,” “I’m really sorry to hear that but I’m sure you can overcome it.”

“Hi, Marc, this is Jane Ash from Dust company. How’ve you been?”

It’s crucial to say it in a calm confident voice. In contradiction to the popular saying about the second chance to make the first impressions, people change their opinions over time.  Unfortunately, you don’t have that time.

Many who are new to cold calling are initially reluctant to use this phrase. They’ll say, ‘it doesn’t make sense to say ‘how have you been’ when we’ve never spoken with this person before!’

To that, we say: exactly. The phrase assumes a prior conversation, which makes any prospect pause for a moment and focus on figuring out who this is. Achieving this level of focus off-the-bat makes this opener, statistically, the best performing nowadays.

How SDRs (and their leaders) can boost cold calling confidence?

  1.  Have a CC script in front of you. Good scripts provide a structure for a call.
  2. Train, train, train. It is the best way to boost cold calling skills.
  3. Prepare before calls. Spend five minutes browsing the LinkedIn profile and website (news, blog) to learn more about the prospect and their company.
  4. Remind yourself that you’re there to help and deliver value. 
  5. Listen to salespeople. They know their job well and can provide some valuable insights. 
  6. Be proud of your job. It takes a lot of strength to dial a number and begin a conversation with a stranger. 

Lead Qualification Questions 

According to The Bridge Group Report, Sales Development has two different models: appointment setting (used by CIENCE), and lead qualification. 

In the first model, an SDR focuses mostly on booking a meeting with a prospect (selling an appointment in other words).

In the second model, the purpose of sales development is to identify prospects that are good fits and those that are not. 

Both models have their pros and cons and require different questions from reps.

What questions to ask when cold calling?

The first thing that comes to mind is the BANT methodology created by IBM over half a century ago. 

We suggest using an up-to-date, buyer-centric, lead qualification methodology called NOTE. It enables learning more about a potential client and generating value as well. There are four sets of questions in this methodology: 

  • Need –  ask a prospect about the current situation and the desired one.
  • Opportunity –  ask a prospect about problems that stand in the way of attaining goals and KPIs and ask more about the challenges.
  • Team – learn more about the people that can influence or be influenced by the purchase of your service.
  • Effect – generate the value based on the questions above and discuss the expectations of your potential from your service.

I Object! How to Handle Objections In Sales Calls

Rejection is an inalienable part of cold calling and prospecting in general. And though sometimes “no” means “no,” on multiple occasions, decision-makers use objections as a knee-jerk excuse to avoid talking to an SDR.

Types of objections in sales calls

How To Handle Objections In Sales Calls

1. “I’m not interested”

Handle: “Is it because something else is a top priority for you right now, or perhaps you have a solution in place?”

2. “We have no budget”

Handle: “At this point in time, it’s not about purchasing something. Our experts have studied [Company] and your [business process] and want to share a useful insight.”

“In your opinion, what will be a financial effect of [increasing efficiency of a business process by 30%]? Can you give an approximate figure in USD?”

3. “It’s not the right time for us”

Handle: “It might not be the right time for implementing this solution. But what about planning? We can offer you a fair expert opinion about [process]. And we can share some tips on how you can improve.” Or suggest circling back in a month or two.

4. “We’re working with your competitor”

Handle: Ask several questions on their level of satisfaction and plans. Then offer to have a “second pair of eyes” on the process.

5. “Send me some information”

Handle: “Do you want to learn more about [attaining Goal 1] or [solving a challenge 1]. Or maybe you want to learn how we can help you [increase ROI by xx%]?” And make sure you send that information. 

Setting Up An Appointment

An appointment is the ultimate goal of your cold call (not the sale).

When the call comes to an end, it’s time to talk about the next steps.

How to set appointment at the end of your cold call?

Call Reluctance

Call reluctance is a problem that most sales representatives have faced at least once in their life. It affects both beginners and veterans. It is a mix of call anxiety and panic that creates a mental block preventing you from making a call. Call reluctance has a severe impact on individuals and their well-being, the performance of a sales team, as well as general work atmosphere.

There are multiple reasons why salespeople feel reluctant. These include the natural fear of rejection and neurological predisposition. However, not only SDRs are the source of the problem. Corporate culture and inaccurate lists of contacts can also increase call reluctance in reps. Nobody wants to get things “wrong”.

How To Overcome Call Reluctance

Sales professionals consider that the best way to overcome call reluctance is to admit the problem and start talking about it. 

Tips on coping with call reluctance

Cold Calling Tips From Sales Pros

1. Make pauses.

Begin your call with “This is {Name} from {Company name}.” Then make a short pause so that information sinks in. Salespeople often talk too fast because they fear a prospect hangs up before they have the chance to say it all. They rarely make pauses.

The key secret here is that you need to say it with stone-’cold’ confidence. Try to picture how you would call an account manager of a company that provides you with services. You would sound like you have the total right to ask questions and to be remembered.

2. Silence is not an option.

Are you one of those people who usually keep silent when the other person is talking? Well, it’s nor very good for cold calling.

The phone doesn’t provide any picture for you to ‘read’ nonverbal information. Your voice is the only instrument you can use to build rapport. Make sure you use it. Never forget to add in prospect’s pauses: “I see,” “That makes sense,” “I can relate to that,” “I understand,” “Aha,” “Yep,” “Sure thing!” to show that you are an empathic listener and that you actually listen and care.

Cold calling tips and tricks

3. Use these phrases.

  • Ice-breakers:

I’ve read your article/ listened to your Ted Talk, watched your webinar/speech at a (recent) event. And wanted to ask a question…” – make sure that the question is really smart. To achieve it – fully dig into your personalization research. 

It shows that you care, you did your research, and actually processed the information. Don’t forget to thank them for the explanation! In most prospects, this approach prompts a feeling of reciprocity; a kind of obligation to hear the rest of the message through to the end.

  • Reasons to call:

Our clients face {problem} (e.g. lack of leads) or want to attain {a goal} (e.g., increase the productivity of their equipment), does that sound like you?” – that’s where your buyer persona comes in handy.

I’ve studied your (website, business process, manufactured product) and I found a problem that you might be missing/ overlooked” – when you’ve done some great sales intel.

  • How have you been?

According to, and as touched on in the voicemail section, this line has 6.6 times higher success rate compared to baseline. It shows that you care, especially when pronounced in a cheerful tone.

4. Be responsive.

According to Forbes, that responsiveness is the only characteristic that helped cold callers succeed.

Responsiveness is the way you adjust your reaction to the words of another person. You can do this in three ways. 

  1. Echoing – you repeat certain phrases after the prospect to emphasize them (you can stress certain words).
  2. Rephrasing – you tell what the prospect told you in other words.
  3. Summarizing – you provide a summary of prospect words + add valuable information for them.

Note: These are really three ways of saying the same thing. Make sure that the prospect knows that they have been heard and understood. The conversation should take any information a prospect shares into account, so we are talking ‘with’ them, not ‘at’ them.

5. Never use these phrases:

  • Did I Catch You At A Bad Time?” – A prospect might say “yes”. found that you’ll be 40% less likely to set an appointment if you say this line during your call.
  • Do You Have a Minute to Talk?” – A prospect might say “no”. Instead, speak about the reasons you called.
  • Any excusing phrases –  Remember, you’ve called to deliver value to your prospects not to ask for a favor. Your product/service can make their business processes more efficient, help them attain their goals, overcome challenges, and meet KPIs. What you do is important for them in the first place.
  • This isn’t urgent, call me when you can” – Prospects hear “this isn’t important” so why should they bother and call you back?
  • When should I call you back?” – A prospect might say “never”. Instead offer a particular date and time.
  • I’m just checking in/touching base” – Just don’t say it. It is used over and over again and it reeks of a sale.
  • Do you make the decisions on company purchases?” – It shows that you didn’t do any research and that you probably will be very pushy with making a deal.
  • We’ll try to do it for you” – It’s not enough. Use: “We’ll do it for you.”
  • I don’t know about that – let me get back to you.” It’s OK not to know something. However, this answer seems like an excuse to hang up and never call back.

Here’s an interesting way to answer: “Can I ask you a few questions so that I can talk to our [department name] specialists and get you the answer you’re looking for”?
In this case, you show that you really care. You also give the impression that you will provide an expert opinion. Not just say that you’ll help, be helpful.

If you are thirsty for more advice, check out more cold calling tips that will come in handy.

How To Make Cold Calling Fun

Performance depends on whether you enjoy your job. People can hear a smile on the phone – and if that smile’s genuine. To make this complicated process more fun and enjoyable is possible, you just have to bring some fun into the cold calling.

How to make cold calling fun?

Cold Calling Facts 

To boost your confidence that cold calling is alive and effective, we have some stats and facts to back up this statement.

Facts and stats proving that cold calling is alive and effective.


Cold calling is an efficient outreach tactic that can help you engage with companies that you want as well as convert them into your clients. To succeed in cold calling, you need a multichannel outreach strategy, an Ideal Customer Profile, a great content writer, an accurate list of leads, a dedicated and well-trained SDR, a bunch of software tools, a good script, an experienced manager to control the implementation, and much persistence and patience. 

Alternatively, you can hire CIENCE and let us own all activities for your cold calling success.

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