How to Cold Call Sales Prospects and Get a Friendly Reply (Or, How to Not Get Yelled At!)

Sean Lund-Brown

How many times have you done your best to be polite, professional, and positive, only to receive an angry response from the person on the other end of the phone? Cold calling is tough and it’s not something that even the most seasoned sales reps like to deal with. Of course, if you’re a sales professional, it’s part of the job description and even in 2022, the cold call is still a valuable business asset. 

If you’re going to avoid the yelling, hang-ups, and frustration, you have to take the time to consider how to go about making these calls in a more productive manner. There’s a lot that you can do to master the cold call, starting with taking notes from those who have come before you. In this guide, we’ll go over some helpful tips for cold calling to give you a better chance at getting a positive reply, or at the very least, so that there’s less of a chance that you’ll get an unfriendly voice on the other end of the line. 


Scripts are a guide 


Too often, cold-calling sales agents get caught up in delivering the script. They get nervous or start to feel pressure from the caller on the other end, suddenly losing their ability to go off-the-cuff or deliver a proper sales presentation. Don’t get locked into your script because that will become frustrating to callers faster than you realize. 

If nothing else, reading from a script sounds robotic and impersonal. Callers may feel that you aren’t targeting them specifically, but merely reaching out to anyone who will answer with some generic script that is designed to supposedly engage any kind of lead—that’s not going to work. Use scripts solely as a way to guide the call so that you don’t get lost. 


Know your recipients 


One of the worst things that you can do is start cold-calling people without actually researching your audience. There are a lot of things to learn about your ideal audience or customer and if you don’t show them that you’ve taken the time to learn, they may not feel the need to take the time to do business with you. 

Not only that, but it allows you to deliver a more personalized phone call, reducing the risk that people will get frustrated, feel like they’re being “sold to” or like they’re just another name on your list. Make sure that you’re prepared with all the information that you need, and the call will go much better from the start. 


Respect people’s time


Another problem people have with cold sales calls is the rambling and time consumption—people’s time is valuable. They don’t have all day to sit on the phone and listen to how great your company is. Get to the point. Let people know that you know they’re busy. Appreciate them, verbally, and advise them that you can always call back at a more convenient time if they’d like. You can even direct them to the website for self-service if they want something more convenient. Just make sure you don’t monopolize your sales calls. 


Don’t use this opening line 


One of the biggest mistakes salespeople make when sending cold emails or making cold calls is to open with something along the lines of “you don’t know me, but…”— stop right there. You’ve already given people reason to disregard you and question why you’re bothering them. Of course, they don’t know you—get on with your sales pitch. Be friendly. Give them a reason to want to know you. Don’t overstate the obvious. 

People need to know why they should know you. They already know they don’t. When someone picks up the phone for a cold sales call, they’re aware of what they’re doing. Get right to explaining why you are calling them specifically and what you can do to assist with whatever problems they may be having. 


Be a listener, not a talker


We know what you’re thinking—you’re delivering a sales pitch here. You need to make sure that you’re capable of talking enough to get your message across. However, the best sales agents know how to listen to their callers and answer questions, resolve pain points, and have a conversation, not just make a sales call. That’s really the biggest secret here—stop making sales calls and start having conversations. It will change your success rates massively. 

Listening is a valuable skill because it allows you to identify potential pain points and ways that you can help your audience. It also shows people that you care about what they need and that you’re not just telling them what the answer is—you’re asking them what you can do to assist them with their needs. It goes a long way in creating a relationship and definitely helps prevent the yelling, hang-ups, and other issues. 


Give people value 


Finally, you can’t do anything with a cold call if you don’t have something to offer. You can talk all day, have the best sales pitch, and even be one of the most seasoned phone pros in the industry. And yet, if you don’t have something of value to offer, none of it matters. Make sure that you’re conveying the value in your message right away and often throughout the call. It’s not about getting people to convert to your company. It’s about giving people the solutions they need. 


Speaking of solutions, ask how a partnership with Smith.ai can help with those new leads 


While you’re improving your sales calls and bringing in more leads, who’s qualifying the leads and closing the deals? When you partner with the 24/7 virtual receptionists at Smith.ai, you can count on us for lead intake and qualification, scheduling, and even outbound sales and support, and more. Schedule a consultation now to find out how a partnership with Smith.ai can improve your sales prospecting and more or reach out to us at hello@smith.ai or (650) 727-6484.


Sean Lund-Brown

Sean Lund-Brown is a current Marketing Assistant for Smith.ai. A graduate from Metropolitan State University of Denver, Sean graduated with a BA in Music and an individualized degree in Teaching Vocal Pedagogy.

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