TMCnet Feature
February 10, 2021

5 Best Cold Calling Tips and Tricks That Really Work in 2021

Some quarters believe that cold calling, an outbound sales technique, has simply been replaced by more superior inbound sales methods. This claim is further supported by statistics showing that cold calling is only successful 2% of the time.

Yet, research shows that 92% of all customer interactions take place over the phone. A 2018 study found that phone conversations were the second most important business method to reach prospects, after referrals. This means that the phone remains a valuable tool for dealing with customers, both new and old. This is proof that cold calling is still very much relevant as a sales tool when done correctly.

Salespeople still struggle with cold calling, however. Statistics show that 44% give up after one negative response. A further 63% confirm that cold calling is what they dislike most about their jobs. Customers, on the other hand, find cold calls annoying and disruptive. How then can a business strike a balance to make the most of this sales technique?

Before we discuss our best cold calling tips and tricks, let us look at what cold calling entails and why there is a heated debate around it.

What is cold calling, and what has changed?

Cold calling is a sales technique where a salesperson contacts a potential lead with whom there has been no prior communication or interaction. The purpose of a cold call is not to immediately sell a product or service but to initiate a conversation, understand the customer’s needs, or set up a meeting.

Cold calling as a sales technique was quite successful from the 1980s to the late 1990s. However, the advent of the internet forever changed the way people buy. Rather than wait for someone to call offering a product or a service, buyers now search, compare and buy products/ services online. This shift means that businesses cannot keep making cold calls like it's 1999. So how should they do it?

5 best cold calling tips that will give you results in 2021

1. Research your prospects

While the internet has somewhat worked against cold calling, it is also a blessing in disguise. This is because it gives businesses a unique chance to learn more about prospects before calling them, which was impossible in the past. For this reason, no salesperson should really ‘cold call’ a client blindly.

Researching your prospects means going online and looking up leads who have shown interest in your product, such as by leaving an inquiry on your website. This allows you to understand what problem they are looking to solve and learn more about their industry and the company. Positioning yourself as someone who can solve this problem builds value, something most buyers will resonate with.

Most importantly, it enables you to call prospects who genuinely need your product or service, increasing your chances of success. Armed with this information, a salesperson is likely to make a more authentic call that a prospect immediately connects with.

2. Master your script

There is a bit of a debate on whether salespeople should prepare a cold calling script. The answer is a resounding yes, that is if you have the right script! Having the ‘wrong’ script can make a salesperson sound rehearsed and render the conversation one way.

The right script allows you to follow through with what you planned to say while allowing a conversation to ensue between you and the prospect. Further, it allows you to avoid talk that could put off the lead, such as the use of sales titles, too many pleasantries, and meaningless monologue. This means that every word on the script adds value to the call rather than taking away from it.

Similarly, a good sales script should be worked over several times and optimized based on received responses. After making several cold calls, let the results, both positive and negative inform your next call. Make adjustments where necessary, tailoring each script to a persona. Most importantly, mastering your script (through practice) boosts your confidence, and this carries through when you speak to a prospect.

3. Understand your product

This one is a no brainer. The more you know about a product, the better you can sell it to a prospective buyer. A dedicated salesperson should know the product they are selling in and out to demonstrate its value to a prospect persuasively and accurately. Product information is readily available in brochures, catalogs, product websites, company blogs, or YouTube (News - Alert) videos. While having information from these sources is fundamental, it is not enough.

As a salesperson, you need to understand what the competition is doing, what they are offering, and how they present it. It is also wise to follow up on customer feedback to know how your product or services is perceived. Having information from all these sources will prepare you for any questions or eventualities when talking to a prospective customer.

If you outsource your cold calling jobs to remote sales reps, it helps to get a dedicated team to your product. This is important because a consistent team will better understand your product and build confidence in selling it, leading to better results.

4. Know when to call

Have you ever sat down at dinner, heard your phone ring, and on picking up, found that it was a cold call trying to sell you something? How fast did you hang up? One of the most significant issues that cold callers have to grapple with is finding the right timing. Cold calling already has a lot working against it, and you don’t want to worsen your chances by calling prospects at random hours.

It may be impossible to pinpoint the best time to call prospects, and numerous studies have been done on the same. One such study found that Wednesday and Thursday are the best days to make sales calls. This makes sense, as Monday is often too busy while most people are already geared up for the weekend on Friday. Similarly, calling early in the morning may be counterproductive.

As a salesperson, the best strategy is to analyze all your calls and those of your team to determine what times you have received the most positive responses. This can then give you a more informed idea of when to schedule your calls.

5. Automate where possible

Gone are the days when we had to do most tasks manually, and this includes cold calling. By nature of the business, cold calling leverages on numbers. This means that the more numbers you dial, the higher your chances of getting conversions. Dialing and re-dialing numbers manually can take too much time, taking away from actually talking to prospects.

Utilizing fast power/auto dialers can change things drastically, enabling you to make hundreds of calls per day. These dialers can also track and record calls, manage contact lists, and integrate with other sales tools such as social media. They can also leave pre-recorded voicemails to leads who do not answer the phone.


When done right, cold calling is still a valid sales technique in 2021. Of course, gone are the days when salespeople blindly called random leads in the hope of landing a sale. Leveraging technology to learn more about a prospect, having a foolproof script, and understanding the product is the first step towards converting. Similarly, investigating the best times to call a lead and using automation to make work easier will go a long way in giving the desired results.

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