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A Guide to Cold Calling Success

Cold calling, however, is a legitimate marketing and advertising tactic, when used responsibly and legally. Its effectiveness proves that long-lasting business relationships can be established with just a simple phone conversation.

Cold calling is the traditional practice of phoning unknown prospects in an attempt to establish business relationships with them. When cold calling, a business or its representatives can do anything, from setting appointments to completing transactions. Throughout the years, cold calling and telemarketers have accumulated negative reputations. This may be because of the frequent perception of telemarketers as being unable to take no for an answer, and also because of a few cases in which scammers have used telemarketing as a means to target unsuspecting victims. Cold calling, however, is a legitimate marketing and advertising tactic, when used responsibly and legally. Its effectiveness proves that long-lasting business relationships can be established with just a simple phone conversation.

Cold calling is a practice in which a business or its representatives contact potential customers to sell products or services. Contact is usually initiated without the prospects’ express permission, and they are not typically expecting the call nor do they know the person calling them. During the call, the business’ representatives attempt to connect with the prospect and familiarize them with the business and its products or services. Done correctly, cold calling can be an effective way to garner lead generation and build a list of prospects with whom to do future business.

The Art of the Cold Call
A Conversation With a Cold Caller
National Do Not Call Registry
Telemarketing: Beware of Phony Sales Pitches


The efficacy of cold calling is dependent on a number of factors. The personality of the telemarketing agent, along with their familiarity with cold calling techniques, and the successful targeting of prospects all influence how a cold call may result. A number of studies devoted to determining the effectiveness of cold calling have shown different perspectives on the practice. Generally, however, cold calling remains a great way to introduce prospects to a business, and create potential customers. In addition, cold calling tactics used through unconventional means, such as email, or for non-traditional purposes, such as prospecting for jobs, may have varying success rates. A warm lead (where the prospect already knows of the business or knows the person calling) is always better than a cold one, but you will not always have enough warm leads to support your business.

Has Cold Calling Gone Cold? (PDF)
Writing an Effective Cold Cover Letter (PDF)
Warming up to Cold Calls: Follow Up Strategies for the Job Search


Preparing for cold calls is a key to success. Telemarketers must learn as much as they can about the products they are selling, the business they are representing, who their prospects are, and how they intend to approach prospects before placing calls. By far, one of the best techniques in cold calling is to simply inform and advise prospects during most of the call. Selling at any point other than the end may result in a premature denial. Being objective, asking questions, listening to answers, and providing solutions are the hallmarks of a successful cold call. An initial connection with a prospect can also set the stage for an effective sales pitch.

Cold Calling Techniques
7 Steps to the Perfect Cold Call
Cold Calling Scripts


One of the primary ways to make a cold call successful is to exude confidence without being cocky. Confidence makes it harder for a prospect to decline an offer. Friendliness and empathy also goes a long way to winning prospects over. Physically smiling while talking has proven to be an effective way to gain prospects’ trust and openness. Although the prospects can’t see the smile, they can perceive it through a telemarketers’ tone of voice. Preparing a script for the cold call can take the pressure off of approaching a prospect, and lead a telemarketer in the right marketing direction.

While it may be impossible to know everything about a prospect before calling them, a little demographic research can provide useful insight into their wants and needs. It can be a good idea to modify the tone of the cold call according to the prospect on the other end. For example, a person with a friendly, laid-back voice might respond well to a telemarketer who mirrors their personality. Being able to answer questions about products, including pricing, and the represented business as a whole, can set prospects’ minds at ease. Finally, keeping records of who has been called and who hasn’t can save telemarketers time by documenting which prospects have already been reached. It can also spare a business negative press, as repeated unwanted calls to a household can peg a business as one that does not respect consumers.

Cold Calling and Phone Etiquette (PDF)
How to Effectively Reduce Sales Call Reluctance
The Top 10 Cold Calling Mistakes that Ensure Rejection (PDF)

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