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How to handle cold calling


Surprisingly, some of the most successful sales people, who otherwise love talking on the phone, hate picking it up to sell to someone they don’t know.  Evidently, they too fear the dreaded ‘cold call.’  Below are some useful hints and tips for handling your cold calling.


Telesales can be a successful way of generating new business.  Elite Edge conducted our own survey on why people hated cold calling so much.  After surveying a sample of our clients’ sales teams we’ve produced a list of some of the reasons why most people hate cold calling.  See if you can relate to any of them.


  • “People can be really aggressive when they think you are trying to sell them something that they don’t want or wouldn’t be interested in.”
  • “I get discouraged with the constant rejection; I don’t think I’ve been provided with the right list or properly qualified prospects.”
  • “I get nervous or anxious because I forgot what I wanted to say or how I wanted to direct the call and it ends in disaster.”
  • “I’m uncertain how to present the products in the best way so that the customer will see that there are real benefits.  I don’t feel that I am able to be convincing and I just get discouraged and end up rambling or rushing through the call.”
  • “They’ve obviously had some really bad experiences with sales people in the past over the phone, and it’s really hard to get them to give you the benefit of the doubt.  I wish other telesales people were more professional so I wouldn’t have to pay the price for their mistakes.”
  • “I don’t feel I have ever been properly trained to reach decision makers over the telephone, whether that’s to get appointments or close sales.  I worry I’m doing it all wrong.”



For those of you who have done telesales, you know that the biggest hurdle is often just getting started.  We’ve found that by setting goals and keeping the phone in your hand you are more likely to get through your calls faster.  Every time you put your handset down you then have to psyche yourself up to pick it back up and start your next series of calls.


Task yourself with doing 50 or 60 calls and then reward yourself with a drink or a quick snack.  Get away from your desk for a little while, go and talk to a friendly colleague (or call someone you know will cheer you up!) before you return.  You’ll be better prepared mentally and emotionally for your next series of calls.


And remember to smile when you are speaking to people - it is possible to hear it over the phone!  If you don’t sound warm and friendly, people will notice the subtle difference in your voice and their attitude will reflect your own.  There is no need to be artificially ‘bouncy’, just professionally positive.  Be polite, be respectful and always be professional - you are the voice of your business and you want to leave a positive impression regardless of the success of your call.


Also, recognise that it is unusual to close a sale with the first call.  Be prepared to have to call people back.  It may be necessary to speak to several people more than once, so try to leave positive impressions with each person and develop friendly relationships so they will recognise you the next time you call.  Even though they may not be the ones to decide, they often decide whether you will speak to those that do - and may even put in a good word on your behalf.


Be sincere, be genuine and try to encourage people to help you by your attitude and professionalism.  If you are speaking to the ‘gate keepers’, you’ll want to at least have their willing assistance in trying to move you along the chain to reach the decision makers.  Anyone you speak to on the phone is important to your success.



You will undoubtedly get lots of rejection and many people will ask you to ‘call back later.’  This is inevitable and should be expected, but keep going; the minute you get through to somebody who’s interested in your product or service they can make up for all the frustration and rejection you have had previously.  You’ll likely come alive during a positive call and you will start your next call with a renewed sense of optimism and determination.


Consider every ‘no’ as being one step closer to your next ‘yes.’  A ‘no’ is good, as you then have a firm decision and won’t waste any more time ringing a prospect that has no interest.  Remember, don’t take rejection personally and treat people with respect at all times, even if they have said no.  They may not require your product or service now but may possibly need you in the future.  It made be possible to leave someone with a very strong impression of your professionalism and commitment even if they haven’t bought from you this time.


Things to remember

  • Qualify your leads and make certain your data is accurate
  • Be sure you are marketing the right products and services to the right customer profile
  • Know in advance what you expect to achieve with your call
  • Develop a loose structure so that you remember the salient points if you have the opportunity to discuss things in detail
  • Know your products and services inside out and be able to present their benefits in a meaningful and relevant way
  • Role play several calls so that you can predict questions and objections and be able to offer compelling evidence for your business
  • Don’t expect to sell right away; you may need to ask permission to move to the next stage in the process several times before you are ready to sell
  • Get some good sales training; this is the first contact several prospects will have with your company so you will want to make it count


And finally…

Listen to your prospect, don’t just hear them - there is a difference.  You are ultimately asking them to part with their cash and make an investment in you and your business.  They will probably assume all the risk and cost for agreeing to do business with you, so cut them some slack and show them the courtesy and commitment they deserve.


They may naturally have some reservations and want reassurances, and they need to develop faith in your professionalism and commitment.  If you want them to make an investment in you, you should show them an equal willingness to invest in them by understanding them, their business, their customers, their issues and their concerns.  If you can then present a compelling and credible case for being able to be of benefit to them, you will of course improve your chances of converting them.