Master the Art of Cold Calling: 4 Tips for Boosting Sales

It takes thick skin to be a cold caller. The unreturned messages. The right-off-the-bat hang-ups. The downright rude remarks.

Even still, there are some people who thrive in the B2B cold call world. They’ve got the same resources as you. And the words on the page of their scripts aren’t any different than yours. So, what’s their secret? And what do you have to do to start seeing the same kinds of results?

That’s where the art of cold calling comes in.

Expert Note:
“Cold calling is a lousy place to make a sale. But it happens to be a great place to learn how to sell.”
Jeffrey Gitomer

The art of cold calling is that extra “something” that lets other salespeople close more deals than their colleagues. It’s the soft skills that go above and beyond those scripted words on the page. And it’s exactly what you need to start becoming a better cold caller.

This guide takes you through four tips for mastering the art of cold calling. Inside, we’ll look at how to improve your mindset, boost your confidence, build rapport on cold calls, and more. And for you, that means closing more deals and taking home bigger commission bonuses.

Mastering the Science of Cold Calling

Before jumping into the art of the cold call, let’s look at the other equally important side—the science. There’s plenty of research out there on the hard and fast rules of selling well. Research like this:

  • The faster you respond to sales leads, the better. After a sales lead demonstrates interest, their response rate to calls drops by eight times after the first hour (CallHippo).
  • Salespeople with higher contact ratios make more sales. A whopping 80% of sales require five follow-up calls after the first meeting with a buyer. And 44% of sales reps give up after just one negative response (MarketingDonut).
  • Day of week and time of day matter. Wednesday and Thursday are the best days to call and from 4:00 pm to 5:00 pm is the best time (Hubspot).
  • Meeting your buyers’ needs counts (and is rare). Only 38 % of buyers feel salespeople who’d called them delivered information relevant to their needs. But 83% of the salespeople who made the cold calls thought they were spot-on (Hubspot).
  • Buying decisions require lots of stakeholders. Seven people are involved in the buying decision on average. Plus, it takes at least five of them to agree for a sale to happen (Salesforce).

Be sure you take these insights into account when building out your sales processes. Because without the proper science-backed foundation, mastering the art of cold calling won’t get you anywhere.

Mastering the Art of Cold Calling: 4 Fantastic Cold Calling Tips

Contrary to what you may believe, great cold-calling B2B sales people aren’t born—they’re made. And when you follow the four tips below, you too can master the art of cold calling and become known as a cold calling break on your sales team.

#1: Believe In the Product You’re Selling

This one’s simple. But it’s also vital.

If you don’t believe in the product you’re selling, you’re never going to excel at selling it. That’s because buyers can sense insincerity. Your body language, facial tics, and other barely perceptible cues hint at whether you’re telling the truth. And if you wouldn’t buy what you’re selling, those cues will communicate that to your buyer.

So if you don’t stand behind your product, it may be time to find something new to sell.

Pro Tip: Dive deep into researching your product. 

Learning about what you sell before jumping on a sales call is a necessity. If you’re having a hard time believing in your product, take some extra time to learn more about it.

Talk to subject-matter experts (SMEs) about use cases. Use the product yourself to get a feel for it. Read through testimonials from satisfied customers.

When the product you’re selling is a genuine part of your life, people can hear it in your voice. And that enthusiasm will be infectious.

#2: Don’t Get Stuck In the Past

Salespeople stuck in a rut will too often become fixated on the past:

  • “Obviously, I’m not right for being a salesperson.”
  • “I don’t have what it takes, so I’m never going to make my numbers this month.”
  • “I just can’t break out of this losing streak.”

This fixation on the past often leads to a vicious cycle since buyers can smell your desperation. And a desperate salesperson cannot be trusted. When you attach yourself to a particular outcome on a sales call (“I need to make this sale”), you’ve already lost the battle.

Instead, acknowledge that you’d like a positive outcome. But realize that there are other beneficial things to gain from the call, too (experience, practice, etc.).

This is known as having a “growth mindset,” Adopting it can do wonders for your sales career.

Pro Tip: Adopt a “growth mindset” to help you learn from failures.

Researchers have found two types of mindsets: a “fixed” mindset and a “growth” mindset.

Those with a fixed mindset believe they’re born with a fixed set of abilities. Their successes and failures aren’t in their control since their intelligence and skill set are unchangeable. For salespeople, thoughts like, “I was never right for sales” indicate a fixed mindset.

A growth mindset, on the other hand, recognizes that abilities can be changed. It takes work to make these changes, of course. But a growth-minded individual will look at failures as learning experiences. They may think, “I’m not great at sales now. But with enough experience, I can get better.”

Expert Note:
“Cold calling and objection handling are usually the two biggest fears that I hear when we work with sales teams and individual reps. And with objection handling, if you think about where that fear comes from, it's almost like, “I don't want to be sales-y.”

As it turns out, individuals who held a growth mindset were three times more likely to score in the top 20% on tests. Those with a fixed mindset, on the other hand, were four times more likely to score in the bottom 20%.

The message here is clear: look at your experiences as chances to learn, not as opportunities to fail.

#3: Connect With Buyers on a Human Level

Though there’s value in a well-made script, humans ultimately want to buy from humans, not machines. And if you’re running through a list of questions in a lifeless, step-by-step manner, your buyers aren’t going to be engaged.

That’s why it’s up to you to connect with sales leads on a human level. Try straying just a hair from your script to ask follow-up questions and get your buyers talking. Comment on any personal-life anecdotes they share too.

Show your buyers that you are, in fact, an actual, breathing human. Because when you do, they’re going to be far more likely to trust you.

Pro Tip: Learn the techniques for building instant rapport with buyers

Building rapport is essential throughout the sales cycle. But for cold calls, your time to build that rapport with buyers is limited. That’s why you need to get to work—and fast.

Try these tactics to build rapport with your sales leads instantly.

  • Don’t skip the small talk. It shows you’re interested in solving a buyer’s problem and not 100% focused on your commission.
  • Be genuine. Be yourself, don’t give false compliments, and speak to your buyer like an equal.
  • Listen more. Engage in active listening and be sure to ask relevant follow-up questions along the way.
  • Build on shared experiences. Mention shared contacts, work together to solve problems, and demonstrate that you’re on the same team.

#4: Spin Your Negative Self-Talk

We all have that voice in the back of our heads telling us we’ll never be good enough. Even the highest performing salespeople aren’t strangers to self-doubt. But when that voice becomes so strong that it’s all we focus on, it starts impacting our performance.

One way to curb that negative self-talk is by spinning those conversations in your head. For every negative criticism that pops into your head, try and find a positive alternative.

Below are a few examples of how to spin negative self-talk from the Mayo Clinic.

The more you identify and immediately spin your negative self-talk, the less of an impact it will have on you. And consequently, you’ll soon start noticing yourself feeling more confident on your sales calls.

After all, you are what you think.

Pro Tip: Hold your thoughts up to a magnifying glass. 

The first and often hardest step of spinning negative self-talk is catching yourself doing it. To do that, you need to become a pro at “thinking about thinking.” Try to become more aware of those negative thoughts as they enter your head.

Below are a few tactics you can take to spot those thoughts early on.

  • Ask, would I say that to a good friend or child? If not, then those are the types of thoughts you should be spinning.
  • Remember, thoughts and feelings aren’t always reality. Is what you’re saying actually true? The more critical you are of thoughts that pop in your head, the better able you’ll be to catch the negative ones.
  • Understand your value proposition. Kick off the sales process with confidence as soon as you dial that phone number. Before you start asking the prospect open ended questions or even start the conversation, make sure you know what you're calling in the first place.
  • Give your inner critic a nickname. By personifying your inner critic, you’re putting them outside of yourself and recognizing that you don’t have to accept those critiques as the truth.

Need Help Mastering the Art of Cold Calling?

Anyone who’s worked in the cold calling industry knows there’s plenty of science behind doing the job well. But sellers need more than a spot-on script to keep buyers on the phone. And that’s where the art of cold calling comes in.

When you follow the four tips above, you’ll be well on your way to mastering the art of cold calling. It can take work. And a bit of practice too. But with some persistence, you’ll start capturing more interest, generating more deals, and earning better commissions in no time.

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