Cold Calling Techniques Literary Notes

Sales are comprised of three thirds. One third of sales you will get no matter what as long as you talk to enough people. Another third are sales that will never be made. The last third is up for grabs and that’s what makes a good salesperson.

Three calls is all you should spend to make a sale. If you can’t close on the third call you are not going to make the sale and worse, they lead may run you around.

Factoring in the sales cycle length, you’ll see that sales you make now are from prospecting months earlier.

Scheduling the second appointment during the first appointment reduces the sales cycle.

Sales is a funnel so you can do better if you understand your ratio of appointments to prospects to sales. Sales people get into trouble when they don’t replenish their prospects fast enough leading to peaks and valleys. Figure out how many calls you need to make each day to meet your sales goals. The length of the sales cycle also contributes to this (e.g. if you stop prospecting and it takes six months to book revenue you’ll end up with a great month six months from now, but nothing before or after).

You need to do prospecting every single day.

Hearing ‘no’ means your are getting closer to a yes. Rather than be discouraged think about the ratios of appointments to prospects to sales. Each no is progress to a sale if you know your ratios.

Cold call scripts

Having a script for the cold call frees you up to think about what the customer is saying rather than what you are going to say.

Get their attention and remember people respond in kind. You want to start a conversation not a yes or no. The best way is simply, “Good morning .”

Then tell them who you are and your company briefly. For example, “this is Alex from My Corp, ”.

Give them a reason for your call which is always to set an appointment. You need to give a compelling reason to set the appointment. For example, “I’m calling today is to set an appointment and tell you about and how it can .”

Make a questioning or qualifying statement that will result in a favorable response. For example, “ I’m sure that you, like are interested in .”

Finally, set the appointment by making a specific appointment time (you don’t want this to be another discussion about whether or not you will meet). For instance, “That’s great! Then we should get together. How about Tuesday at 3pm?” Is better than “what time works best for you?”


Use a mirror and smile to relax you larynx.

Time how long it takes to get through a call and block out enough time on your calendar each week to do it. This appointment with yourself guarantees your income.

Practice with someone.

Track the number of dials, calls, and appointments you get from them. Know your numbers so you can analyze and improve them.

Stand up when you make calls to sound more natural.

Use a landline instead of a cellphone so it sounds better, doesn’t drop, and isn’t distracting with the environment.

Turning around common responses

“I’m happy with what I have” don’t say “I understand”, say “that’s great you are , a lot of other companies like said the same thing before they had a chance to see how would compliment what they are doing in-house. We should get together. How does sound?”. By being happy with what they have immediately qualifies them as a potential customer and rather than give up you create an opportunity to show them.

When someone says “I’m too busy” or to call them back later they are just politely blowing you off. Instead of saying “what’s a better time to call?”, say “the only reason I’m calling is to set up an appointment”. This likely raises another response like “I’m not interested” which you can turn around (as mentioned previously).

If someone says “mail me something” it implies they will take a look and have a conversation with you about it, but that doesn’t happen. In reality they will just forget about it. To respond say, “can’t we just get together? How about next Tuesday at 3pm?”. This will likely raise another response that you know how to handle.

The second response is the one that matters. Once you properly handle the first you’ll get another which gives you more information to allow you to turn it around into an appointment.

‘The ledge’ is a question that helps you regain control of the conversation. For example, if they say they are happy with what they have, ask them “are you using ?” They will naturally correct you so you can follow up with “we really should get together then.” If they say they are the wrong person (as long as you are sure they are the right person) ask say, “I’m just curious, what is it you do?”. This will either raise a new objection (which you can turn around) or lead to them telling you who the right person is so you can get a referral.

Third party and referral calls

A variation of the script is to use a reference in the opening. When you state the reason for your call (to get an appointment) include a third party reference like, “the reason for my call is that I just finished a successful with . In fact it . I’d like to set an appointment at 3pm Tuesday to tell you about the success we had with .”

Another variation is the referral call for when you cold called someone else and they were definitely not the right person but they told you who was. Instead of giving a long explanation just say “ hi , I’m . The reason I’m calling is that I just spoke with and they suggested i give you a call to set up an appointment. How does Tuesday at 3pm work for you?”. This will lead to a response or objection you can handle as usual.

Leaving messages

When leaving a voicemail you can use the same third party reference from before. “Hi this is from my phone number is . It’s regarding . When they call you back you go right into the reference pitch.

A high probability way of getting a return call is to leave a name. When you leave a message you say, “Hi this is from I’m calling in reference to .” They will call back and you can ask if something went wrong (usually a manager does this) this can lead to an opportunity for a ledge (we really should get together…). You can have a colleague make the initial call or you can call back old leads and leave their name. If pressed by a gatekeeper say “it’s a long story”.

If you can’t reach someone only make four attempts in one month once per week. Tell them about the last time you spoke and offer a specific time to meet. Even better, if you have a meeting in the area use that to put the ball in their court. For example, “I’m in meeting with which is 20 minutes away. I’d like to get together. Does work?”

Cold calling be email doesn’t work. It’s best used as a way to follow up after a call with specific actions.

Follow up calls

“Good morning , this is from . The reason I’m calling you today is because when we spoke in

If they ask you to call months from now don’t wait. 30 days later say “I was just thinking about you” with an anecdote and “we should get together”. This can lead to a reminder and people respond in kind.

You can also tell them you will be in their area and you’d like to get together before then.

Around 10% of follow up calls will result in appointments.

The sales process

The objective of each step in the process is to get to the next step. Even if someone says wow that was a great meeting it doesn’t mean anything if you don’t get to the next step.

  1. The opening stage - get to know them, short and sweet
  2. The information stage - find information you need to make the right presentation. The key is finding out what people do, why, and how you can help them do what they want to do. The most important to understand is, “what are you trying to accomplish here?” which may take a few questions to get to. This stage is 75% of the sales process.
  3. The presentation stage - present the case to buy your product using the information you gathered in the previous step. Don’t mistake demonstrations for presentations —the former is for gathering information, the latter is to close.
  4. The closing stage - by now you’ve made the right presentation that shows how you can help them do what they do better. Simply say “Makes sense to me; what do you think?”

A book about how to set up a cold calling sales funnel by Stephan Schiffman.