32 B2B Cold Calling Tips for Sales Success in 2024

Staring down the barrel of a cold call list can feel intimidating, especially if you’re inexperienced. Are they going to hate me? Am I just interrupting their life? Do I have value to give them? These are natural questions (and feelings) to have. However, with the right preparation and mindset, cold calling can be a game changer for your career. 

One of my favorite quotes by motivational speaker Jim Rohn is, “Successful people do what unsuccessful people are not willing to do. Don’t wish it were easier; wish you were better.” This is what cold calling is all about. You’re doing a hard thing that many are afraid to do, but if you succeed, you’re going to reap the benefits they can never get. 

Below, we’ll take you through a series of tips on what to do before, during, and after a cold call to set you up for maximum success. Keep reading if you want to make those next dials count. 

Quick Cold Calling Tips: Do’s and Don’ts of Cold Calling

The top cold-calling tips are about using a confident tone of voice, opening lines that lead to a conversation, asking open-ended questions, making the conversation about them, and never giving up. Check out this quick list of do’s and don’ts to get you started with some actionable tips. 

The do’s and don’t of cold calling:

Do: 

  • Be friendly, relatable, and caring to their needs. 
  • Use a confident tone of voice and be sure of what you’re saying. 
  • Know your product and the benefits it provides inside out before ever picking up the phone.
  • Research the person you’re calling beforehand. 
  • Have a canned opening line that naturally leads to a conversation. 
  • Ask questions and practice active listening. 
  • Understand what your goal for the call is and focus on achieving it quickly. 
  • Get to the point of why you’re calling before you start selling. 
  • Have an outline/plan for how a successful call will go and follow it. 

Don’t:

  • Be rude or self-serving in any way. If the call is about you and not them, it won’t go well. 
  • Read from your script. Reading out loud sounds incredibly boring compared to natural speech (this is something I’m trying to teach my third-grade son in his school presentations but it’s not going well).
  • Sell too hard too soon. State why you’re calling and learn their pain points. Then, you can pitch the value of your solution around those pain points. 
  • Expect to close the deal on the first cold call. It’s more reasonable to expect to book a longer discovery call than to close the deal. 
  • Forget to log calls, notes, and follow-ups in your CRM.
  • Give up. Cold calling isn’t for the faint of heart. A never-give-up mentality is the only way to win more sales. 

These tips are just the beginning. If you want to supercharge you’re cold calling game, there are actionable steps you can take before, during, and after the call to boost your chances of success. 

Below, we break down our cold-calling tips into before, during, and after. Use them to build out a cold-calling process that works for you.

Before the Call: 13 Cold Calling Tips to Prepare For Success

Much of the work of a successful cold call takes place before the call. Preparation, planning, and research are key. Just like in sports, having a game plan is essential to winning the game. 

1. Use Their Cell Phone Number

These days, many prospects work remotely or in a hybrid role. If a prospect has an office and mobile number, always try the mobile number first. You have a higher chance of getting your call answered on a cell phone than the old-school office desk phone. They’ll always have their cell phone with them, but how often will they be at their desk?

Actionable tip: Always dial the cell phone number first. 

Pro Tip: If you’re using Close CRM’s built-in calling software, you won’t need to worry about searching for the next phone number from your call list. See how Close can double your sales calling productivity.

2. Map Out a Blueprint/Cold Calling Script

The sales world is a stage, and to perform on stage, you need a cold calling script. While you should have a script that guides you through each stage of the call, you’ll treat it more like a blueprint that you memorize. 

Your blueprint should paint a clear picture of how you’ll get to your desired outcome—whether that's booking an appointment, scheduling a demo, or scheduling a more detailed discovery call. 

You can also have ‘journeys’ within your blueprint for different ways the conversation can go. For example, if you get a price objection, you can take the call in one direction. If you are interested right away, you can take the call somewhere else. 

Here are a couple of resources to help you structure your sales calls:

Actionable tip: Create a cold call blueprint/script that maps out different scenarios for how your call could go. 

Pro Tip: Enhance your cold calling strategy with Close's Call Assistant. It's an invaluable tool for managing your call scripts, keeping track of calls, and ensuring seamless follow-ups.

3. Do Your Pre-Call Research

Knowing everything you can about your prospect (within reason, don’t stalk) will help you tremendously. Simple and easy online digging can help you get a general understanding of their background and potential pain points that you can solve. 

Look for insights from their job title, past experience, company size, location, or what they recently posted on LinkedIn. LinkedIn will be a goldmine for your cold calling research since it has pretty much everything you need, but you can also use Google, X, or other industry-relevant sites. 

In addition to doing pre-call research, you can also research the latest happenings in your industry or at your prospect’s company. Things like regulatory changes, recent funding rounds, or new partnership announcements can give you great conversation starters or “reasons to call.” I always looked for public research grants and funding rounds when I was cold-calling biotech companies in my sales days. 

Actionable tip: Research your prospect on LinkedIn and other sources before calling. Stay up to date on trends you can use in your cold calls. 

4. Find the Right Person to Call

You can save a lot of time and back and forth by calling the person who can actually move the needle for you. This doesn’t have to be the CEO, but someone with enough power to influence purchase decisions. 

Actionable tip: Nail down which job titles in your target market are worth dialing and focus purely on them. There’s no need to cold call administrative assistants, but ‘VP or Director’ is usually a good bet. 

5. Use Historical Data in Your CRM

You should always double-check your CRM before making a cold call to ensure that this person hasn’t been called before, or at least not in a long while. 

You can also use historical data in your CRM to create cold call lists that are likely to be of higher value than a purchased list. These are old leads or inactive opportunities that went dark six months or longer ago.

Perhaps these leads weren’t ready back then, but they are now. I made a nice chunk of change doing this when I was in sales. This is partly because no one else on our team was doing it, which made it an untapped gold mine for me. 

Actionable tip: Search for your CRM to see if your cold lead already exists, and use inactive leads to generate new cold call lists. 

6. Warm Cold Leads up with an Email First

It can be helpful to pair cold emails and cold calls into the same outreach campaign. Instead of just dialing or emailing, you can create a cadence of emails and calls spread out over a 4-6-week period. If you start with an email, you can use a CRM like Close to track email opens and clicks. This achieves two things:

  • You can see who is actively opening and engaging with your emails, which indicates some level of interest.
  • It makes the prospect aware of who you are before you call, which could warm them up to the idea. 

After sending a bulk email campaign, you could focus first on calling prospects who opened your email since they are more likely to be interested than those who don’t. 

Actionable tip: Send a cold email before cold calling. Use your CMS to track email engagement and call leads who have opened your emails before those who haven’t. 

7. Don’t Sleep on LinkedIn

You’ll likely be researching on LinkedIn, so why not connect there as well? Before you do, optimize your profile to be about the solutions you’re selling. Instead of being a ‘salesperson’ on LinkedIn, show that you’re a consultant who helps people in your field. Then, you can add your prospects to further warm them up to your presence before the call. 

You can even start a conversation on LinkedIn and see if you’re able to schedule a qualifying call there. If not, move forward with the cold call. Either way, it doesn’t hurt. 

Actionable tip: Make your LinkedIn profile about being a helpful consultant in your field and add prospects on LinkedIn a few days before calling. 

8. Create a Daily Action Plan

Let’s be honest, you’re going to get burnt out making cold calls for eight hours a day. Plus, you have other stuff you need to do. So, instead of burning yourself out, create an action plan for the day that includes when you will make cold calls and for how long. 

This plan will help you conserve energy, show up strong to each call, and set aside time for all the other tasks you need to do. 

Actionable tip: Set aside certain hours that you will dedicate to cold calling. Choose a time when you will have the most energy and when your prospects are most likely to answer. 

9. Build an Effective Cadence

Are you going to call once and never again? Probably not, because that is a recipe for failure. Instead, you’re likely going to email, call, leave a message, send another email, then another one, then call again and they answer…but how can you remember all that? 

Instead of pulling your hair out trying to organize your cold outreach cadence, you can pre-schedule a call and email cadence in your CRM. Once scheduled, your daily tasks for the day will show up when it’s time for them, and you can quickly go back to the lead to review their info and make the call. 

For more, check out these resources for tips on building an effective sales cadence:

Actionable tip: Create a reasonable cadence of cold calls and emails that makes sense for your target market. 

Pro tip: Close CRM enables your team to create Sales Workflows that automatically begin a pre-determined cadence of calls and emails when a lead is enrolled.

workflow-full-app

START YOUR FREE 14-DAY TRIAL

10. Have a Separate Script for Gatekeepers

Even though you are generally trying to avoid them, gatekeepers can actually help you. In some cases, they are the only person who can get you on the phone with your prospect. Rather than avoid them, you can turn them into an ally by being polite and explaining why it’s worth their while to make you an appointment with the head honcho. 

Check out our article on how to build an effective gatekeeper script to learn more. 

Actionable tip: Write a script for gatekeepers that will help sell your value and build their trust. 

11. Get Into the Right Mindset

Many people struggle when they start cold calling. They feel like they're interrupting someone’s day to drum up business, and their lack of confidence brings them down. Their approach is too timid, and they give up too soon when they encounter resistance. They don't manage objections well and fail to produce results.

It's not a lack of skills that trips them up, but instead reluctance and insecurity (which is natural when you're starting). To help one of my colleagues overcome these fears, I challenged him to screw up one cold call per day purposely. This completely changed his attitude and helped him realize that failure was nothing to fear. 

From then on, he approached cold calling with the fearless attitude that it takes to keep smiling and dialing. 

Actionable tip: Do something to make you feel confident before you begin cold calling. This could be meditation, pushups, jumping jacks, motivational videos, whatever works for you. Also, remember that failure is ok. 

12. Set a “No Quota”

No sales book has helped my cold calling game more than “Go for No! Yes is the Destination, No is How You Get There”. The lesson from this book is simple, set a quota for failures rather than successes. 

If you set a quota for yesses, you’re going to stop once you hit your goal. If you plan to get a certain number of ‘Nos’ each day, you’re more likely to get a higher number of yesses along the way. This will also help your mindset since you’ll be expecting a certain number of rejections, each one won’t hurt so much. Plan for rejection and gain more success. 

Actionable tip: Set a quota for the number of failures each day rather than successes. 

13. Use a Sales Dialer to Save Time

Manually dialing, listening to the ringtone, and waiting for someone to answer is a huge waste of time. Cold callers can get that time back by using a sales dialer to increase their call volume. 

A sales dialer can help you reach 60 percent more leads by calling through your list automatically. With Close’s built-in Predictive Dialer, you can dial multiple numbers at the same time. The software only connects you to a call when someone answers the phone.

Actionable tip: If you’re a sales team leader, set your team up with a sales dialer (or use Close CRM with a built-in dialer). If you’re a salesperson, advocate that your company invests in one. 

During the Call: 12 Cold Calling Tips to Nail Your Pitch

Now that you’re ready to start dialing, the real fun begins. Hearing that phone ringing can be stressful, but these 12 tips can help you make the most of your calls and increase your chances of success. 

14. Eliminate Distractions

According to a study done back in 2018, the average knowledge worker checks a communication app every 6 minutes. Salespeople are no exception, as many either unconsciously or consciously distract themselves with dopamine-releasing messages and social media. 

If you’re setting aside a one or two-hour block for cold calls, you need to get in the zone, and that means no distractions. The only thing that should be pulled up is your phone dialer and the CRM page with info on the lead you’re calling. 

Actionable tip: Put your phone on airplane mode and close all windows except your phone dialer and CRM until you’re cold calls for the day are done. 

15. Don’t Read from Your Script

Have you ever watched a movie or play where the actors read from a script? Maybe you’ve seen a table read or rehearsal, but it’s never as good as the actual show. That’s because reading out loud is boring, but acting out a memorized script can be entertaining and engaging. 

Your cold call is the same way. Do yourself a favor and either memorize your script or map it out in your head before the call so that you don’t sound like you just got randomly picked to read the next passage in front of the class. 

Actionable tip: Memorize and/or map what you’re going to say instead of reading a script. 

16. Optimize Your Tone of Voice

Words aren’t all that matters; your tone of voice is more important. Seven percent of communication happens through spoken word, while 38 percent is through tone of voice (the rest is through body language). 

Sounding confident and worthy of your prospect’s time might not be something you can just naturally do, which is why I recommend taking voice training or online lessons. You can start with the video below. 

Actionable tip: Watch this video from Close’s CEO to learn how to optimize your tone of voice for sales calls. 

17. Master Your Opening Line

The first thing you say is most often the difference maker between continuing a conversation or not. Needless to say, this is extremely important to nail down. You need to state who you are, why you’re calling, how you know who they are, and how you can help, all within a few seconds. A fumble here is likely to get a quick hang-up. 

Actionable tip: Read our article on cold call opening lines and come up with two or three options you can test. Pick the winner and stick with that. 

18. Ask open-ended questions, then listen

A good cold call is all about asking the right questions. These questions will get your prospects to think about their problems and realize that they need a solution—and that perhaps you can help. 

By asking the right open-ended questions, you can naturally drive the conversation in the direction you want it to go. But the trick is to truly listen to their answers. Don’t think about the next question you’re going to ask while they’re talking; just listen and jot down anything useful. Then, you can use that to fuel the next question. 

Actionable tip: Write down 5 open-ended questions that would likely move prospects in the right direction. Test them out, then add the ones with the best results to your script/blueprint. 

19. Embrace silence 

After you’ve delivered your opening line or any other question within the call, learn to embrace the few seconds of silence that can come afterward. Your instinct might be to fill the void with another question or value statement, but that’s not going to help. 

Silence is not only a power move, but it indicates that you’re listening and awaiting their response. It shows you want to know and care about what they have to say. 

Actionable tip: Pause after each question you ask and wait for your prospect to respond. Resist the temptation to fill the air. 

20. Don’t pitch too soon

It’s common for newer salespeople to jump into a pitch early on in the conversation. They think that’s what “selling” is. However, we seasoned vets know that selling is more about listening and understanding your prospect's needs than tailoring your pitch to them. 

Actionable tip: Wait until you’ve uncovered at least one key need before jumping into a sales pitch. Center your pitch around that need. 

21. Emphasize pain points

If you want to keep your prospect’s attention on this short call, you shouldn’t waste any time on unimportant details. To truly captivate their attention, focus on the pain that your solution can relieve rather than the features it provides. 

It’s the classic “sell the benefits before features” adage from the sales world. Hook them on how you solve their pain, then reel them in with the specific features/solutions you provide later on. 

Actionable tip: Uncover your prospect’s pain point and emphasize how you solve that throughout the call. 

22. Value Before Price

You’re bound to get asked, “How much will this cost?” early and often in your cold calls, but you never want to spill the beans on price too soon. That’s because if you haven’t fully demonstrated the value of your solution, the price may not seem justified.

When you get this question, don’t just give a hard no, but gently deflect towards a value-based question first. You can simply say, “Before I can quote you, I’ll need to know more about your specific needs.” Then, you can get started qualifying their needs and give the price after doing so. 

Actionable tip: When asked about price early in a call, deflect with a value-based qualifying question that you’ll need to be answered before giving the price. 

23. Get Prospects to Open up

Often, salespeople will get into a cold call with a potentially good prospect who just won’t give them the info they need to qualify them. Usually, this is because they don’t trust salespeople. They see you as having an ulterior motive (which, be honest, you do) instead of someone excited to help them. 

Your job is to ease that tension and build trust. Show them that you are a real human who wants to help, and not a predatory Wolf of Wall Street type. A good way to do this is to address the tension head-on by saying something like, “I bet you don’t trust me because I’m a sales rep, but if you let me know about (insert pain point), I’m confident that I could help you out. My job is to help you, and I can’t do that without knowing a little more.”

Actionable tip: Address tense prospects head-on by calling out that yes you are a salesperson, but you are truly here to help. 

24. Nail Your Voicemail Game

The average sales rep spends 15 percent of their time talking to themselves, aka leaving voicemails. Voicemails can be nerve-wracking. You only get one chance to leave one, and if you screw it up…that’s it. 

Too many voicemails are either too fast, rambling, and not getting to the point, or filled with so many “ums” that they lose their potency. Plus, many aren’t saying their call back number until the end of the voicemail, which means the prospect has to potentially listen to it several times just to write the number down to call you back. Do you really expect them to do that?

Your voicemail should directly answer the following: Who are you? Why are you calling? What value do you have to offer? How do I call you back? Craft a voicemail script that you can easily repeat that simply answers these, and you’ll be in good shape. 

Actionable tip: Say your phone number at the beginning of the voicemail so it’s easier to call you back, “Hi Bill, this is Tom calling from 555-123-4567…”. Then, state exactly who you are, why you’re calling, and what value you can provide in as few words as possible. 

Pro Tip: If you’re using Close for calling, you can record your one perfect voicemail message and drop it when needed. No more awkward voicemails or constantly repeating yourself!

25. Close by Scheduling the Next Call 

Closing your call well is just as important as opening it. Unless you’re selling a quick and easy solution, chances are you haven’t closed the deal on the first cold call. Therefore, the best way to close a cold call is by scheduling a deeper discovery call or product demo. 

You can “pitch” having another call as a benefit to them as well, “Instead of sending a bunch of emails back and forth, why don’t we schedule a 30-minute discover call where I can fully explain how we solve for X”. You can also have them invite other key stakeholders to the call so everyone who’s involved in the decision can be there. 

Actionable tip: Create a “closing question” that asks for a discovery call. Try different techniques to entice them into the longer call until you find one that works. 

After the Call: 7 Cold Calling Tips to Make Every Call (and Follow-Up Call) Count

Your work isn’t over once the call is done. This is just the first step towards making the sale. Here’s what you can do post-call—whether or not you were successful—to help you improve over time. 

26. Analyze and Improve

If you’re making lots of cold calls, you should try to learn as much from your successes and failures as possible. Most salespeople will focus on how well they built rapport, but that’s not the only way to measure success (and it’s also hard to measure). 

Instead, you can analyze how your call went based on two questions:

  • Are the next steps well-defined?
  • Is your prospect excited about taking those steps?

If you have a yes to both of these, you just had a successful call (regardless of rapport). If not, try to understand what went wrong. 

Actionable tip: Analyze your call based on the two key questions above. 

27. Determine the Next Steps (Aka Follow Up!)

Ideally, you close your call by booking the next meeting in your sales cycle. If that’s the case, your next task is to simply send a meeting invite. 

If you haven’t booked the next meeting or left a voicemail, you need to figure out the next best course of action, which will involve strategically following up. This might be a phone call in a week, an email after the call, or something else. You should have a pre-planned follow-up cadence that’s ambitious enough that you make things happen but not overly aggressive to the point of annoying your prospects. 

One thing to note, there is no real reason to stop following up until you get a hard no. I followed up with a prospect once a month for over two years, then they finally responded and I ended up closing a $40k deal. Unless it’s a no, it’s fine to keep following up, even if only once a month. 

Actionable tip: Create a follow-up formula and plan your next follow-up after the cold call. 

Log Calls and Schedule Follow-Ups in Your CRM

As Sales Managers are famous for saying, “Remember to log your calls!”. It’s not just so the manager can track your activity, it will help you organize your sales cadence and have notes to refer to on your next touchpoint. 

Close’s Call Assistant makes this super easy by automatically logging your calls and uploading a searchable transcript that attaches to your lead in the CRM. Before your next follow-up, you can quickly pull insights from the transcript to help guide the call. 

Actionable tip: Don’t make your next call until the last one has been logged in the CRM and a follow-up is scheduled (Close can do this automatically). 

Track Objections and How You Handled Them

As you make hundreds, maybe even thousands, of cold calls per month, you’re going to get the same objections over and over. To help your future self, you can create an objection-handling spreadsheet to record your most common objections and what worked to overcome them. 

Have this sheet pulled up during your cold calls so you can quickly refer to the sheet and find a response that’s worked in the past. You can update this and make it stronger over time, and even share with colleagues to see what’s working well for them and improve as a team. 

Actionable tip: Create an objection handling spreadsheet that tracks common objections and successful responses. 

Recover Quickly from Bad Calls

While it feels good to slam the phone and loudly say “A**hole!” into your cubicle walls, it’s not going to make the next call any easier. Instead, remember that failure is a big part of this game. 

When you get off the phone with a particularly egregious a**hole, it’s important to take a step back. Walk around a little bit if you need to, take a deep breath, and give yourself a five-minute break—but don’t let it derail you or ruin your day. Having a strong sales mindset is the only way to rebound

Actionable tip: Don’t let bad calls or rude prospects get to you. Take a break, but bounce back quickly.

Track Cold Call KPIs and Metrics

Another thing the Sales Manager likes is to see you and your team's KPIs. For cold calls, this will be the number of calls, pickups, qualifying conversations, meetings scheduled, and other important metrics. These can also help motivate you to improve your success rate over time and optimize your performance.

If you’re using a CRM, these metrics should be recorded automatically. With Close’s reporting tools, you can create a cold call performance dashboard that shows these stats in a nice-looking report that’s automatically updated over time. If you want to gamify it, you can even create a leaderboard and make it a friendly competition.

Actionable tip: Set up a dashboard to track your cold call metrics in your CRM and track your performance over time.  

Pick Up That Phone and Dial Again

Let’s be honest, cold calling is hard. You’re doing something that many people either aren’t capable of doing or are afraid to do—so cheers to you! That being said, cold calling is a pure numbers game. The more calls you make, the higher your chances of success. But you also get better at cold calling over time (especially if you follow these tips). 

So don’t get discouraged if you have a bad call or a bad day. Pick it up and keep going. The only way forward is through. 

Actionable tip: Never give up. There’s always another call to be made. 

You Can Be a Cold Calling Superstar—You Just Need to Get Started and Keep Going

Not everyone is brave enough to pick up the phone and dial a stranger, so bravo to you. If you follow the tips in this guide, I’m confident your road to cold call superstardom will be shorter and less rocky than if you went it alone. 

However, sales is a long game, and a cold call is just the first step. You’ll also need to master the art of following up.

Check out our Follow-Up Formula book to learn how to set yourself up for success beyond the first touchpoint.

Table of Contents
Share this article