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How to Be a Good Cold Caller: 6 Tips for Better Sales

Ring ring! Ring ring!

Your phone is buzzing. On the end of the line are three sales experts specialising in how to be a good cold caller:

You won’t want to hang up, because these three cold calling champions will run through the six key things that every B2B SDR must do on their calls.

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1. Disarm the prospect

When learning how to be a good cold caller, this is something that David sees time and time again from Cognism’s most promising SDRs - their ability to disarm people on the cold call as quickly as possible.

“You can do it in several different ways, but one of the easiest ways is having a really good icebreaker that can make people laugh.”

Jonty uses this as his icebreaker:

“Hey, I know this is a cold call. You can hang up on me right now if you’d like.”

David had a caveat about icebreakers:

“Now, other people at Cognism have tried that exact same line, and it didn’t work for them. So it’s really important that you do something that’s natural to you.”

2. Mirror the prospect

For David, mirroring is a critical factor when thinking about how to get better at cold calling.

What is mirroring? David explains:

“Mirroring is replicating the tonality and the style in which your prospect is speaking and acting so that you can engage with them in the best possible way.” 

David shares a practical example of mirroring:

“If I jump on a call and someone says they’re really busy, I’m not going to slow down my voice; I’m going to speed it up!” 

“It’s about the SDR recognising that the prospect’s said they’re busy and making sure they focus on that.”

3. Build trust

There’s one word that Morgan uses on his calls that helps to build trust when cold calling successfully.

That word is typically.

Like this:

“The reason for my call is typically when I talk to Sales Directors, they’ve been having problems increasing their pipeline.”

After that, then you can go into the product’s value (see next point).

Morgan explained why “typically” is so valuable to B2B cold callers:

“You’ll start noticing that you’ll have more engaging conversations because the prospect will be thinking, you’ve done this before. It makes you come across as a trusted advisor and a subject matter expert.”

For Jonty, outbound sales is all about transparency. He said:

“Never lie. If you really don’t know the answer to a question, you should say something like…”

“I’m going to be completely honest with you. I don’t actually know the answer to that question.” 

“However, I know someone who knows the answer - my account executive. Let’s schedule a 30-minute meeting with them.”

This can be a game-changer in terms of booking meetings. If the prospect is curious to know the answer to a question, then they’ll want to talk to the AE.

4. Ask open-ended questions

Morgan’s top tip for getting better at cold calling is to ask open-ended questions. He said:

“Typically, those questions start with how, what, when. Those are ways you can start having better conversations with the prospects you’re talking to.”

“For most of the cold calls you have, you need to think about how you can open up the conversation, because most prospects aren’t looking to talk to you at all. You’re calling them out of the blue. They’re not prepared for it.”

“So you ask open-ended questions to get them to open up, which will lead to better conversations.”

What are the best questions to ask? Morgan had a list:

  • To what extent is this important to you?
  • Could you elaborate on what you just said?
  • Can you expand on that point?

“The questions you ask will be predicated on what people care about and their trials and priorities. And that requires research before you even get on the phone.”

5. Focus on the value

Morgan is particularly passionate about focusing on the value to succeed in cold calling.

“It doesn’t matter about the work you’ve done. Nobody cares. What I care about is, how are you going to help me?”

“One of the best things you can do to make sure that you add value on your calls is to always put the prospect first. Always think about what’s in it for them. On every cold call, think about what you can say that’s going to be relevant to that individual.”

Morgan gave us an example:

“The reason for my call is we’ve been working with people like yourself, and these are the things that we’ve been helping them with….”

Your cold calls will be much more successful if you lead with your product’s value, rather than reeling off a list of features.

6. Obey the three no’s rule

What is the three no’s rule?

It’s the concept of pushing through three sales objections before the prospect either says “yes” or hangs up the phone.

For Morgan, this is an essential skill for SDRs to make effective cold calls.

“What I tell people when it comes to objections is: you have to really embrace the ‘no’s’ and then figure out what to say.”

Our three B2B cold callers went through the top objections that most reps face.

“I don’t have the time.”

Morgan said:

“When someone says that, most likely, it’s not true. There are instances where it could be true, but probably it’s not true because why would you pick up the phone if you don’t have the time?”

In Morgan’s experience, this is what you should say to counteract this objection:

“Yeah, I completely understand that you’re busy right now. However, all I’m asking for is 30 seconds of your time. And in that 30 seconds, I’ll explain what we do here.”

“And if that’s relevant, we could put time on the calendar to call you when you’re prepared for it. Or if not, you can hang up on me.”

“Does that sound fair?” 

“No one wants to be unfair, so most people say, that’s fair. That’s fine. If you can get your value prop done within 30 seconds and the prospect agreed to it, guess what? You just booked the meeting and you won’t have to handle any more objections.”

“I’m not interested.”

When a B2B prospect says this, Morgan uses this as a response:

“This sounds like it might not be a priority right now. But typically, when I talk to Sales Directors, they’re struggling with these three things (X, Y and Z). Is that currently on your radar, or am I just completely missing the mark here?”

Morgan told us:

“There are multiple ways a product can serve somebody. So what you need to do is figure out, okay, they’re not interested in that. But there are other things that they probably could be interested in that I offer.”

“All you have to do is find out what they’re interested in and then insert a new value prop based on that.”

“Is this a sales call?”

This is how Morgan typically handles this objection to cold call effectively:

“Hey, you know, this actually is not a sales call. The reason for this call is to see if you’re interested in getting on a sales call.”

“I know I’m calling out of the blue, and you’re probably not comfortable with taking cold calls. I completely understand that. All I’m asking for here is 30 seconds of your time.”

“Nothing too crazy, just to quickly explain what I think might be able to help you and your organisation based on my research. And if that’s not interesting to you, it’s okay to tell me ‘no’ and we’ll part ways.”

“Does that sound fair?” 

Morgan revealed more about this approach:

“Ultimately, what you’re doing as an SDR is not getting people on sales calls. You’re calling to see if there’s interest in actually getting on the call. The real call is with your AE!”

“I’m using a similar product.”

How does David respond to this objection when aiming to be successful at cold calling?

“Perfect!”

He had lots to say about solving this objection:

“The first thing to say is: don’t call anyone’s baby ugly!”

“If they’ve got another vendor and they’re enjoying it, the last thing I want to do is be combative and get into an argument.”

There’s one crucial question you should ask prospects who say this:

“How would you rate your current vendor most of the time, on a scale of 1 to 10?”

And if the prospect replies with 8 or 9, you can say:

“Okay. What would make it a 10?”

David said:

“With these questions, you’re getting the prospect to reveal the pains they have with their current vendor, which you can hopefully address and fix.”

Morgan’s tactic for dealing with this objection is to say:

“Okay. Out of curiosity, are you married to that solution?”

“And if the prospect says no, we’re not married to it, then you can follow up with: why?”

“And if they say they’re really happy with it, then you can ask them…”

“What would you improve about it?”

“Asking questions like these can change a conversation. Now you’re digging deeper into the prospect’s current vendor, their likes and dislikes about it.”

“The ‘what would you improve’ question is a good one to ask because nothing is perfect. There’s always something we would like to change about the tools we use.” 

“It’s better than asking ‘what sucks about it?’ because it’s positive. You’re not getting into an argument; you’re just a curious person.”

Learn how to be a good cold caller

Check out David, Morgan and Jonty as they embark on a live cold calling roleplay. It covers the fundamentals of how to be a good cold caller!

Press ▶️ to watch them in action.

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