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What is Cold Calling and How can I do It Well?

By Sheri Cyprus
Updated May 16, 2024
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Cold calling is a marketing strategy for obtaining new prospects by telephoning them and speaking to them directly about your products or services. When done well, it should result in good sales leads for your business. Before the actual call takes place, you should find out who your targeted potential customers are and locate these prospects. You need to choose a communication message that will get them interested in finding out more about your products and services.

When cold calling, you should have a list of bulleted points in front of you rather than a script. This way, you can sound natural and not rehearsed while still remembering to cover all the points you planned to cover. You want to be sure not to babble or be repetitive. When you are calling, you are interrupting people who do not even know you.

To maintain interest, you should begin cold calling with a quick introduction of your name, position and company name and then get straight into stating what benefits the prospects will get if they use your company. This is where your homework before the calling comes in. You should know what your prospect is looking for so that you don't waste his or her time as well as your own.

The more knowledgeable you are about what your prospect wants, the better your cold calling will be for lead generation. Be sure also to engage your prospect in the conversation by asking a few questions. It is usually a good idea to ask your prospect's opinion, without overdoing it, to show that you value who you are talking with and are not all about a hard sale.

Your cold call must be fairly brief, but be long enough to make a "call to action" for the prospect. Plan ahead what you need the prospect to do in order to aid in your business growth. Whether you want your prospect to agree to receive more information or to make an appointment with you, make your purpose clear and concise. If your prospect seems to be hesitating, you should have a few more reasons ready of why this person would benefit from using your company's products or services.

Cold calling is not over when you hang up the phone. Like it or not, marketing is all about results. You need to have a way of tracking your calls and measuring the results in terms of sales leads you received from your efforts. Data base systems are often a good start.

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Discussion Comments
By watson42 — On Feb 27, 2011

I know someone who used to work in cold calling for charity organizations, and she did it because she really needed a job. She found the cold calling sales pitches as annoying as the people she called did, and it was hard for her much of the time, even though she was pretty good at it.

By helene55 — On Feb 26, 2011

Cold calling sales attempts are not usually successful, mainly because they frustrate the average person so much. Even when someone calls me about a charity, I still feel irritated, even invaded. While I realize it must be somewhat effective, or businesses might not try it anymore, it still strikes me as an annoying waste of time.

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