24 B2B cold calling tips for sales success in 2016

by Ramin Assemi

People keep saying cold calling is dead—yet, many successful businesses rely on it to drive revenues. Be it Uber, Twitter, Fortune 500 companies or high-growth startups, they all have sales reps eagerly dialing numbers day in and day out.

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But if you're still doing cold calls like it's 1995, you might as well not do it at all. Too much has changed in the past 20 years, which is why we've put together these 24 cold calling tips for startup founders and sales pros who want to make more sales and close more deals.

Get exclusive access to the free B2B cold calling course to learn how to cold call like a pro.

1. Should you use a sales script?

Spoiler alert: The answer is yes, you should. Discover the benefits of working with a script, and how to use it in the most effective way to evolve as a sales team

2. How to create a sales call script [Free template]

A basic fill-in-the-blank sales script you can use to start making your first calls today. If you think selling is difficult, don't know what to say or feel overwhelmed by complexity, take refuge in simplicity.

3. The successful B2B sales call blueprint

One of the most important things when cold calling is to have the conversation mapped out in advance. Here's a clear way of structuring your sales calls.

4. Common sales objections any sales rep needs to learn to overcome

The three most common objections you'll encounter when doing cold calls. Prepare and practice your answers to these in advance.

Most sales reps fear these objections because they derail their sales conversations. But YOU will look forward to hearing them because they help you move the sale ahead.

5. How to respond to "Send me more information"

The seemingly most innocuous way prospects use to interrupt the sales conversation. Pretty early on in the call, many people will ask you, "Can you send me some more information? I'll review it and get back to you."

New and insecure sales reps eagerly oblige: "Of course! I'll send it your way." They send out the email, and that's it. Maybe one or two timid follow-ups, and they file the lead away.

Here's what you should do instead.

6. Are you pitching prematurely?

This is a very common mistake sales reps make on the phone. They launch into their pitch way too early, without first understanding what the prospect wants.

Here's how you can figure out a) the exact right moment when you should deliver your pitch and b) how to customize your pitch so that it makes the prospect want to buy from you.

7. How to captivate your prospect's attention

Once you've got a decision maker on the phone, how do you captivate and keep his attention? It's not enough that he hears you speak—you have to make him really listen.

Some people possess the charisma and showmanship that naturally mesmerizes their listeners. If you don't, you'll need to master the mechanics of getting attention. Here's a simple 3-step process to get your message across.

8. Afraid of cold calling? Turn your fear of failure into fearlessness

Entrepreneurs often struggle when they start doing cold calls. They hate calling others to drum up business and they're not good at it either. 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 lack of skills that trips them up, but cold calling reluctance and insecurity. Here's a confidence hack to help you overcome this.

9. NEVER multitask during sales calls (and how to avoid distraction)

Doing cold calls can turn into a rut. Calling up leads, trying to get to decision makers, hearing the same objections again and again ... It's tempting to entertain your brain with more interesting distractions. Here's why you should never do this, and how to get your focus back.

10. Sales mindset: How to recover from a bad sales call?

When cold calls go wrong, they can deflate your sales soul. Here's how to stay buoyant when confronted with failure (or ill-tempered prospects who behave abusively to you).

11. Cold calling conversion funnel metrics & benchmarks

Want to get better results from your cold calling efforts? Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to strategically improve your outbound phone sales approach. Want to know how you're doing in different stages of your sales process? The benchmarks will tell you!

Should you dial more numbers?

Do you need to improve the quality of your leads?

Should you focus on crafting a better sales pitch? Or rather work on a more effective opening?

There are many opportunities to optimize your sales process; this post provides a framwork to identify where you can get the biggest wins with your B2B cold calling efforts.

12. Why most sales voicemail messages suck

A sales rep leaves on average 70 voicemails per day, requiring 60 seconds each, which adds up to approximately 25 hours per month. To make a time consuming task even worse, the typical voicemail sucks!

Too many sales reps speak too fast and ramble, filling the message with lots of “um’s” and “ah’s”. Then, potential clients have to listen to the voicemail three to four times, just to write down the callback number.  That’s why messages are deleted, and prospects never return calls. 

A good voicemail sparks interest. It’s well-planned and compels the recipient to phone the caller immediately.  Revamp your sales voicemail messages right now!

13. Cold call productivity hack: Leave pre-recorded voice messages

When you're dialing numbers, you'll end up in many people's voicemail. Nothing gets more annoying than saying the same words to a thousand different machines.

So just record one perfect voice mail message in Close.io, and whenever you hear that BEEP, click a button and your pre-recorded optimized voicemail will be played back, while you can already get on the next call.

14. How to close more deals on the phone (Webinar recording)

Here's the recording of a 47 minute webinar on how to sell on the phone. If you've read the articles, this is a good way of tying it all together and consuming the information in a different way to deepen your learnings.

15. How to call prospects who opened your email

Are you sending out cold emails and track the email opens (using a sales tool like Close.io for example)? It's a great strategy to then follow up with a phone call with those prospects who opened the email. But don't make the mistake most sales reps make when doing these calls.

16. Never talk price before value

If you cold call a prospect and they want to know the price, how do you respond? Most sales reps know that they shouldn't just give out the price, but just telling the prospect "no" can be too confrontative. Here's how to handle this scenario effectively.

17. Cold calling? You lost me at hello!

If you’re doing cold calls the way most sales reps do it, you’re already losing out with the first words coming out of your mouth.

18. 3 questions to ask yourself before making that sales call

Most sales reps think deals are won or lost when you’ve got the prospect on the phone. They’re wrong. You win or lose the deal before you even pick up the phone and dial; it’s your state of mind that determines the outcome of the call more than anything else. I have three questions that I ask myself before every crucial sales call: Why? What? How?

19. Cold calling: The ethical bait-and-switch trick

The bait-and-switch is a device often used by scammers, but it can be applied by ethical companies that have their customers' best interest at heart too.

20. Cold calling: How to respond to "I don't have time"?

Unless you happen to cold call someone whose office has just caught on fire, it’s pretty likely that “I don’t have time” is just a polite way of saying “Go away,” or “What you’re offering is not a priority for me.” After all, if they really didn’t have time, they would have just hung up on you.

And yet, your average salesperson still hears “I don’t have time,” stammers, gets nervous, and hangs up. It’s a difficult objection to deal with—we’re not used to responding proactively to “I don’t have time.” You can’t really argue with it, because who are you to question whether someone really has time?

A great salesperson, however, finesses this objection around into further conversation. A great salesperson hears “I don’t have time” and recognizes that it’s time to drive home the core value proposition that will get that customer to stay on the line.

21. The fastest way to become a cold calling pro

Want to know what the fastest and most effective way is to become great at cold calling? It’s a simple two-fold approach that anyone can follow and doesn't require expensive sales workshops or coaches.

22. 2 common B2B SaaS sales objections (and how to handle them)

"One of the myths of SaaS is that the products are so good, so easy to use, so quick to deploy ... that the product sells itself." However, that myth won't protect you from the following 2 objections:

  1. “Your product is too expensive.”
  2. "Your product doesn’t have the right features.”

Let’s get into how you can move past these objections and keep the focus on value.

23. How to deal with hostile and aggressive prospects

Your prospect has completely lost it. He's shouting at you over the phone, making ridiculous demands. Your ears are ringing and you have a massive headache. After a while, you can’t take it any more, and just hang up the phone. He was completely out of control—a saint would've done the same.

Except that's the wrong approach.

You can’t control why the bully is the way he is, but here's how you handle one.

24. Sales conversations: How to make tight-lipped prospects talk

Successfully qualifying a prospect depends on your knowledge of their situation. However, how can you pitch your solution if they refuse to share information about their situation?

Let's explore why prospects are tight-lipped and how to make them talk.

+ 1 bonus story: From cold call to $17 billion startup: How Uber got started with sales calls!

If you lack motivation or start to lose faith in what cold calling can lead to, remind yourself of this success story: Uber is one of the most innovative and disruptive success stories in recent times. They've got a very strong technology culture and are recruiting top engineering talent like crazy.

That's why it's even more remarkable that they got started not by leveraging some advanced, groundbreaking tech-solution ... but rather by old-school cold calling. Sign up for the free B2B cold calling course now.

Have a cold calling tip of your own? We'd love to hear which tactics and methods you've used to become more successful when selling on the phone. Leave a comment below :).

B2B cold calling for startups and SMBs