28 B2B cold calling tips for sales success in 2018

by Ramin Assemi

People keep saying cold calling is dead, but many successful businesses rely on cold calling to drive revenue. Whether they're Fortune 500 companies or high-growth startups, they all have sales reps eagerly dialing numbers day in and day out.

cold calling tips for b2b startups and smbs

But if you're still doing cold calling 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 28 of our best cold calling tips for startup founders and B2B sales pros who want to make more sales and close more deals.

Want to be more effective at cold calling? Get exclusive access to our free B2B cold calling course to learn how to cold call like a pro.

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28 best cold calling tips for B2B sales success

Now, let's dive into our compilation of everything you'll need to know in order to nail your cold calling game this year.

1. Should you use a sales script?

Cold Calling How to Cold Call Like a Pro for B2B

Spoiler alert: The answer is yes, you should. In this guide, you'll discover the benefits of working with a cold calling script, what a sales script actually is (because there are plenty of misconceptions around that), and how to use it in the most effective way to grow evolve as a sales team.

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

Cold Calling How to Cold Call Like a Pro for B2B script template

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

No excuses, just start with this script today and tweak it over time as you learn more about what does (and doesn't) resonate with the prospects you get on the phone over the course of your first few days of cold calling.

3. The successful B2B sales call blueprint

Cold Calling How to Cold Call Like a Pro for B2B boiler room

One of the most important foundations of cold calling, is to have the conversation mapped out before picking up the phone. Beyond just the line-by-line script you're using, this blueprint will set you on the right path for achieving the higher level goal of your cold call—whether that's simply qualifying your lead, booking an appointment, or closing a deal.

This blueprint template is a clear way of structuring your cold calling conversations when someone picks up.

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

Cold Calling How to Cold Call Like a Pro for B2B tom cruise

Like it or not, a natural aspect of cold calling is hearing no and learning how to deal with the objections that come up in your conversations. Our objection management guide covers 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—especially when cold calling and starting a brand new dialogue with a prospect that doesn't yet trust you. 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"

Cold Calling How to Cold Call Like a Pro for B2B office space

This is a seemingly most innocuous tactic that prospects often use to interrupt a sales conversation. Pretty early on in the cold 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 as a lost cause.

Well, here's what you should do to instead get more deals from your cold calling campaigns.

6. Are you pitching prematurely?

Cold Calling How to Cold Call Like a Pro for B2B jim and dwight

This is a very common mistake sales reps make when cold calling their prospects. They launch into a pitch way too early, without first understanding what the prospect wants and if your offering will genuinely be able to help them at all.

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 when cold calling so that it makes your prospect want to buy from you.

7. How to captivate your prospect's attention

Cold Calling How to Cold Call Like a Pro for B2B tom h

Once you've got a decision maker on the phone, how do you captivate and keep their attention? It's not enough that they hear you speak—you have to make them really listen, otherwise your cold calling campaigns won't net any results for your bottom line.

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 when cold calling.

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

Cold Calling How to Cold Call Like a Pro for B2B brad pitt

Entrepreneurs often struggle when they start cold calling. They hate calling people, feeling like they're interrupting their day in order to drum up business, and they're not very 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 a lack of skills that trip them up, but instead cold calling reluctance and insecurity (which is natural when you're starting out). Here's a confidence hack to help you overcome this fear.

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

Cold Calling How to Cold Call Like a Pro for B2B jon hamm

Sitting at your desk, cold calling for hours, can turn into a rut. Dialing 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 while you're facing objection after objection.

Here's why you should never give in to distractions, and how to regain your focus when other tasks begin to drift into focus while you're in the middle of a cold calling campaign.

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

Cold Calling How to Cold Call Like a Pro for B2B april

When cold calling goes wrong, a particularly painful rejection can totally deflate your sales soul. But don't forget, failure is a guaranteed part of your sales process—not every prospect in every unique situation will be a good fit for your solution.

Here's how to stay buoyant when confronted with failure (or ill-tempered prospect who reacts abusively to you) when cold calling.

11. Cold calling conversion funnel metrics & benchmarks

Cold Calling How to Cold Call Like a Pro for B2B dwight phone

Want to get better results from your cold calling efforts? Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to strategically improve your outbound cold calling process. Want to know how you're doing in different stages of your sales process? These 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 cold calling process, and this post provides a framework to identify where you can get the biggest wins with your B2B cold calling efforts.

12. Why most sales voicemail messages suck

Cold Calling How to Cold Call Like a Pro for B2B arrested

The average sales rep leaves 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 cold calls. 

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

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

Cold Calling How to Cold Call Like a Pro for B2B michael office

When you're cold calling dozens (even hundreds) of people throughout the day, you'll end up in many people's voicemail. And nothing gets more annoying than saying the same words to a thousand different answering machines.

So, just record one perfect voicemail 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 switch over to join the next cold call.

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

Cold Calling How to Cold Call Like a Pro for B2B dinero

Here's the recording of a 47 minute webinar I hosted about how to sell on the phone. If you've read most of our articles here about cold calling, this is a good way of tying it all together and consuming the information in a different fashion, to deepen your takeaways.

15. How to call prospects who opened your email

Cold Calling How to Cold Call Like a Pro for B2B reservoir

Are you sending out cold emails and tracking the email opens (using sales software like Close.io for example)? This creates a great opportunity to then follow up with adding your warm leads into a cold calling campaign (of those prospects who opened your email).

But don't make the mistake most sales reps make when doing these cold calling exercises.

16. Never talk price before value

Cold Calling How to Cold Call Like a Pro for B2B pulp 1

When you're cold calling a prospect and they want to know the price of your offering, how do you respond? Most sales reps know that they shouldn't just give out a straight price, but just telling the prospect "no" can be too abrasive (and doesn't add value to the conversation).

Instead, the conversation needs to be steered toward better understanding the prospect's unique needs, and positioning the value you'll add to their business. Here's exactly how to handle this scenario effectively over cold calling.

17. Cold calling? You lost me at hello!

Cold Calling How to Cold Call Like a Pro for B2B dwight 1

If you’re cold calling the way most sales reps do it, you’re already losing out with the very first words coming out of your mouth. Be sure you're not prematurely dooming your cold call to failure by jumping in too fast, not speaking clearly enough, or by not giving your prospect enough time to process what's happening.

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

Cold Calling How to Cold Call Like a Pro for B2B neo

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 your cold calling efforts, 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

Cold Calling How to Cold Call Like a Pro for B2B pulp fiction

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—and using it within your cold calling campaigns can work wonderfully (to your mutual benefit) when you do it right.

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

Cold Calling How to Cold Call Like a Pro for B2B arnold

Unless you happen to cold call someone whose office has just caught on fire, it’s pretty likely that the excuse, “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 they probably wouldn't have picked up your cold call in the first place.

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 the time for your cold call right now?

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. 

Here's exactly how to do that.

21. The fastest way to become a cold calling pro

Cold Calling How to Cold Call Like a Pro for B2B chris tucker

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)

Cold Calling How to Cold Call Like a Pro for B2B ferris

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, especially during cold calling:

  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 during your cold calling campaigns.

23. How to deal with hostile and aggressive prospects

Cold Calling How to Cold Call Like a Pro for B2B napoleon

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 when cold calling.

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

Cold Calling How to Cold Call Like a Pro for B2B leslie knope

Successfully qualifying a prospect while cold calling depends on how much knowledge you can quick gather about their situation. However, how can you pitch your solution if they refuse to share any information about their situation?

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

25. Data-driven sales: The 3 cold calling metrics that matter

Cold Calling How to Cold Call Like a Pro for B2B phone calling

When it comes to tracking sales data, some sales managers don’t know where to start. But the process doesn’t have to be difficult when it comes to keeping tracking of your key cold calling and related metrics.

If you already have a sales model that’s predictable and scalable, you only need three metrics to transform your team’s cold calling performance. Here’s how you can effectively track the sales metrics that matter.

26. Controlling sales conversations: 3 steps to keep your sales calls on track

Cold Calling How to Cold Call Like a Pro for B2B tropic thunder

It’s not always easy to get a cold call back on track, especially when you’ve let the prospect take the lead. But the truth is, most salespeople aren’t great at leading conversations. When prospects refuse to answer questions—or they have an endless number of objections—salespeople rarely know how to regain control.

Take the lead on your cold calling—and close more deals—with this three-step framework.

27. When a prospect hangs up on you, this is what you need to do

Cold Calling How to Cold Call Like a Pro for B2B vegas

No one likes getting hung up on while cold calling, but you can’t let one bad sales call ruin your day. Just take a deep breath and ask yourself, “Is this result any different than if I’d never made the call?” Next, focus on why the prospect hung up on you, so you don’t make the same mistake twice.

28. This is the #1 reason why cold calling campaigns fail

Cold Calling How to Cold Call Like a Pro for B2B steve carell

Want to run a successful cold calling campaign? Focus on the one metric most sales managers ignore: reach rates.

Whether you’re new to cold calling—or you're dealing with disastrously low reach rates—explore these five ways to ensure your team’s sales success.

+ 1 bonus storyFrom 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 :).

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