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  • Kevin Hopp

The 10 Commandments of Cold Calling

Updated: Dec 29, 2018

Over the past few weeks, I have had quite a few people reach out to me for advice on cold calling. I am more than happy to share my knowledge and what I have learned after making probably over 100,000 cold calls in the first four years of my career, having hundreds of cold conversations, and generating millions of dollars in pipeline.


Here are the "10 commandments" that I go by anytime I get into a situation where I need to go cold outbound and make phone calls to develop pipeline. These pieces of advice are designed for B2B sales and have worked time and again for me in all types of markets, verticals, and sales cycles. I have included suggested tools for helping you follow these rules in parentheses at the end of each commandment.)


Cold Calling Sucks: Do everything in your power to "warm up the call" and PREPARE (more on that later). Cold calling should be something you pump yourself up for, and a "mode" that you get into where you're ready to crush the phones. Just like brushing your teeth or hammering nails, some things in life have got to get done so that we can have have nice things! In the words of the great Ronnie Coleman, "Everybody wants to be a bodybuilder, no one wants to lift heavy ass weights!" (Who's Ronnie Coleman?))


Thou Shalt Bring Energy: The way you project on the phone will greatly increase your chances of success. Pace, volume, and energy are a MUST. My biggest recommendation is to stand up, and talk with your hands. It makes a difference in your tone. (Standing Desk))


Thou Shalt Know Thy Prospect: Cold calling does not mean you open the phone book and slam your finger down. Do research and build your list with purpose. Know your market, your buyer personas, and be ready to speak to exactly why you called. This includes knowing competition, and understanding how you fit into what your prospect is doing today. (Owler, Crunchbase))


Thou Shalt Sell Your Value: I'll tell you the sad truth, no one cares about your product. What effect does your product/service have on your prospects? What benefits do your customers see? On a cold call, you are selling the story of what makes your company great, you are NOT selling what you "do".)


Thou Shalt Set A Meeting For Later: Unless you sell something VERY transactional where prospects get their credit card out and sign up on the phone, you are only calling to set a time when you aren't interrupting your prospect and you two can talk. This benefits you and them. You want to control the narrative and frame the conversation properly, and they want to get back to whatever they were just doing. Have your calendar ready! ( Calendly.com, Google Calendar))


Thou Shalt Know Thy Pitch: When you have your prospect's attention (which is difficult to get) you need to have a tailored pitch ready that describes the value you provide to people like them. For example, "_______ (Your company) drives _______ (results) for ________ (Title/Position) at companies like _______ (Insert best or similar logo)" This should get your prospect to lean forward and say something like "Hmm, how do you do that?" Well, boom. You've won the call. Set the meeting! (Refract.io))


Thou Shalt Warm Up Thy Cold Call: In my experience, cold calling is 5X more effective when you pair it with email and LinkedIn. Omni channel outreach works, it really really does. Start your call off by referencing an email you sent, or that you have already added your prospect on LinkedIn. It will get your prospect out of "I'm getting sold to mode" and get them thinking "Oh, I should know this person". (Outreach,io, Salesloft, Cirrus Insight))


Thou Shalt Be Genuine: There's nothing worse than making a prospect feel like they are a name on a list (even though they are). Be candid, be honest, and acknowledge the reality of the situation. You are interrupting your prospect's day. There is no other way to look at it. If you weren't it wouldn't be "cold calling". Understand this and be respectful of their time. If they say call back, ask them when, mark it on your calendar, and call back! (When is a better time?))


Thou Shalt Not Get Discouraged: Cold calling is a game of numbers and it's only one of many channels in which you can communicate to your prospects. Some people will just never take a cold call, and will always hang up when they realize they do not know you. Why isn't cold calling easy for everyone? Getting hung up on sucks. You have to train your ego and psyche to let someone slamming the phone down not get under your skin. In the words of Morgan J. Ingram "Keep Dialing"!)


Thou Shalt Follow Up: Because cold calling is a game of numbers, make sure you are diligent. Hit your numbers every day. Your odds of success go way up if you are persistent. I have set countless meetings in my career on the 10th or 11th cold call to a prospect. (ConnectAndSell)


Cold calling isn't easy, and if you're like me, at some point in your sales career you got thrust into it without much direction or guidance! If you're really struggling and you want more pointers, I'm happy to chat and spread the knowledge I have. Send me a LinkedIn message and let's connect! OR cold call me... (310) 941-8908.


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