Last Updated on October 8, 2021
There’s one thing you may not know about LinkedIn:
It’s a treasure trove of practical advice.
Yes, LinkedIn is primarily a professional network.
But think of LinkedIn as a digital watercooler where people from all backgrounds and professions swap stories and share best practices.
Most of the advice you find on LinkedIn isn’t about “look at me.”
Instead, many people share the lessons they’ve learned in the trenches of work to be helpful (and perhaps grow their following).
As luck would have it, one of the most frequently discussed topics is cold calling, which has thousands of followers and thousands more readers and commenters.
To say that a number of LinkedIn members are looking for cold calling tips would be an understatement.
We dug through a number of posts on LinkedIn to find the best cold calling advice out there.
With that in mind, let’s explore 10 actioinable pieces of cold calling advice we found.
Here they are in no particular order:
#1. Overcome your fears and reservations with a solid plan
I still sometimes find myself retreating to do what is easiest, but I quickly pull myself out of that crap by following my daily plan. This plan includes using various methods of communication for my prospective clients, which includes cold calling.
To make this easier and more effective, here’s what I do:
1. Have a goal in mind. What do I want to get out of this phone call?
2. Research the client. Besides building confidence that you know something about the organization you are prospecting, the conversation can flow smoother because there are talking points you can cover.
3. Prepare an opening statement, which should include a warm greeting, an introduction of yourself, and a reference or connection point between you and the prospect.
Above all, practice, practice, practice. While cold calling may never be much fun for you, you can get better at it the more you do it.
Debbie lets us in on secret—there was a point in her cold calling past when she would avoid reaching out to clients via phone due to a stammer. She opted for the safe haven of text and email until deciding to finally take control.
Is there a particular fear you experience when making cold calls?
Consider following Debbie’s routine as a way to overcome the fear you’re battling.
#2. It’s okay if one call goes bad, there’s always the next call
From Matt Wanty:
Hey cold callers, the only thing that will take that pit in your stomach away are those thoughts in your head:
It’s okay if my voice cracks.
It’s okay if I don’t say the right words.
It’s okay if they hang up or tell me to take them off my list.
It’s okay if it goes bad because I’m just going to make another call.
Matt Wanty reminds us that cold calling is a journey, not a destination. If one call is a failure, let it go and move on to make the next one a success.
#3. Keep your cold calling glass half full
From Ryan Zadrazil:
Today I made 100 dials. I scheduled 0 meetings.
Most people would be disappointed, but I choose to look at the glass half full. I remember the anxiety I felt when I started cold calling.
Today the nervousness was nowhere to be found.
Maybe I didn’t hit my metrics, but I did grow my confidence.
Ryan posits in straightforward terms that if you maintain your confidence in the face of adversity, adversity is easily overcome.
Did your dial session today not go as well as you expected?
Were you unable to hit your goals for the day?
Having a difficult time getting people to pick up the phone?
Whatever challenge you face, continue to confidently move forward.
Moving forward will keep you on track, and, in time, you’ll arrive to your goals.
#4. Figure out what’s going wrong to make it go right
From Audrey Bodman:
Quality conversations can be measured by how long you engage a contact. Otherwise known as “talk time.”
If you are making calls and don’t seem to spend more than a few seconds in conversation with a key decision-maker, you must highlight why.
Below are some of the reasons this could be happening:
Poor introduction. If you don’t gain attention quickly, decision-makers have a habit of shutting you down before you go further.
No engagement. Quality conversations develop when you ask questions. Open questions get your contact talking. No questions mean you are ‘talking at’ your contacts, not engaging them.
Failure to overcome objections. You hear one, you ignore it, and you move on to the next call. That definitely makes calls short.
Being rude. Do I need to explain this one?
Not listening. There’s only one way to shut someone up who isn’t listening. Sadly resolved by having a phone put down!
Giving in too easily. Always beat inquisitive within reason. If you don’t, someone else will, and they’ll get the business, not you.
This is a great reminder from Audrey that until you choose to identify potential shortcomings and alter your approach, cold calling success will prove elusive like nailing jello to the wall.
#5. Remember your high-level calls, they’ll serve you well later on
From Matt Wanty:
Every time you have a conversation with a real decision-maker, mark it down.
Not just in the CRM, but record it in a place that’s for you. Because it’s your conversation. It’s your memory, and now it’s part of your development.
Every high-level conversation that you have is an opportunity to learn and grow.
Make sure to capture each one, so you never forget.
Matt Wanty, an outbound sales strategist, shows up on our LinkedIn advice list for a second time, reminding us to remember and take ownership of our most important calls.
As he suggested, keep a log of your good conversations.
When—not if—you feel discouraged or defeated while making cold calls, you can go back to these calls as a source of inspiration.
#6. It’s always go time
From Ken Baldo:
It’s always a bad time but never the wrong time. So when you pick up the phone, it’s go time.
When is the best time to make a cold call?
The time you are picking up the phone to make dials.
Sure, there are “best times” when you should make calls.
But Ken Baldo reminds us with his cold call mantra that it’s “go time” whenever you’re making dials.
#7. The simplicity of volleyball as applied to cold calls
From Jake Harry:
Try this cold calling tactic to strengthen the value you bring in a short amount of time.
The purpose is to provide quick value adds throughout a cold call to strengthen your close.
Bump: reframe a website or marketing collateral selling point into a question for your prospective client.
Set: is your prospective client’s reply to the question.
Spike: transforms the collateral selling point bump into a value-add statement.
Check it out:
Website or marketing collateral selling point: “Using XYZ dramatically reduces the time it takes to respond to an RFP – from 28 days to 2.”
Bump: “How long does it typically take you to respond to RFPs?”
Set: prospect answers with an amount of time (ideally longer than two days)
Spike: “Gotcha, thanks for sharing that – the reason I ask is that using XYZ reduces the average time to respond of 28 days down to 2.”
Don’t wait for a response. The seed has been planted. Move on to your next Bump.
Looking to up your cold calling game?
According to this well-detailed insight from Jerry, volleyball is the perfect area from which to learn a steady and sound cold calling strategy.
#8. Allow stand-up comedy to guide your cold calls, too
From Jon Selig:
If you want to succeed in sales or in stand-up, you don’t need fancy degrees, past SaaS experience, or a big-time personal brand, all you need is a passion for failure.
Both careers are similar because both involve so much failure.
When I write new stand-up bits, I can’t remember the phrasing and beats onstage the first few times I deliver them.
I’ll head out to a quiet spot in a park to babble it out to myself in parks to develop muscle memory.
Practice only gets me so far. An audience reaction is needed to know if what I’m selling is worthy of an emotional reaction.
It’s great to control the controllable, and practice makes perfect. In cold calling/prospecting it follows a similar path as joke writing:Craft your opener
Practice it. Be mindful of your tone and pace.
Get on the phones
Deliver it with confidence
Screw up & fail
Deal with the emotional fallout from the rejection
Reflect on what went wrong or listen to your call recording
Figure out where you lost them/why you failed
Edit your message; ax out unnecessary words, phrases, or syllables. Paraphrase if you can to shorten
Practice the new iteration
Get on the phones
Deliver it with confidence
You’ll fail a bunch, but over time it gets easier. Eventually, you’ll own your message and find your beat. Muscle memory will kick in. Your confidence and tone of voice will do half the selling for you.
Now get out there and fail – or else you won’t succeed.
It’s hard work being funny and engaging in outbound sales. According to part-time comedian and part-time salesperson Jon Selig, both endeavors are more alike than we know.
#9. Blunt, but sage advice
From Matt Bank:
5 Cold Calling tips from a regular everyday cold caller person:
Pick up the “blanking” phone – the hardest call is the first one, so just hit dial and let it ring
Be upfront about the call. It’s okay, be honest.
Don’t ask Yes or No questions. Use leading questions that warrant informative answers that help you identify and solve a potential client’s major pain points.
Value is greater than charm. Do your research and ensure you have a real reason to be calling these people. Provide them value, not lip services.
Make it fun! Cold calling is hard, with constant rejection, constant defeat. Try and make it as fun as possible. Listen to music between each call. Post your funny rejections on slack. Do anything to make it less serious.
Matt Bank keeps it honest and a bit colorful, (and we clean it up thanks to some well-placed editing), but his first point speaks untold levels of truth. His other bullet points remind us the less we complicate our calls, the more successful they become.
#10. It’s not about the call, but the relationship
From Yermi Kurkus:
Relationships matter more than sales.
Yup, you heard me right.
When you are “cold calling” sales, it becomes a numbers game. Learn your metrics and work with the numbers.
However, when you are involved with Social Selling, which requires building relationships with the prospects and your (hopeful) future clients – the game beats to a whole different tune.
Most entrepreneurs that use Social Selling as their sales tool take deep offense or get very disappointed with rejection – specifically not making a sale.
A rejected sale now, though, is not something to take personally. Instead, focus on the relationship-building aspects of the call and not the sale.
When nurtured properly, relationships last for a lifetime, and you never know where they may lead you in the future.
Sure, you didn’t make a sale today. In fact, you may never sell to that particular person. But the relationship can benefit both of you, long term. You never know where it may lead and what future opportunities it may open up.
Finally, Yermi Kurkus grounds us in the fact that the most obvious advice is most often the best advice.
Do you want your cold calls to materialize into something greater?
Make sure they’re relationship calls.
Over to you
There’s only one way to improve your cold calling skills:
Making cold calls.
Soak up the advice in this post.
Write the best cold calling script you can produce.
But at the end of the day, if you don’t pick up the phone and make calls, there’s no way you can improve your abilities.
You’ll face fear.
You’ll struggle with doubt.
You’ll even fail at times.
But that’s okay.
This happens to everyone making cold calls.
It’s not that you experience these feelings or challenges—it’s how you respond to them.
Move past your last setback.
Pick up the phone.
And make those calls.
The next one (or the one after that) may change everything.
Happy cold calling.