August 10th, 2016 | by

“Every battle is won before it’s ever fought.” – Sun Tzu

Here’s the thing:

Cold-calling prospects gets a bad rap.

Today, buzzwords like “social selling” drown out the importance of actually calling prospects.

In fact, as a direct result of social selling  entering the scene, it isn’t uncommon to hear statements like “cold-calling is dead.

A report written by Winning Consensus-Based Sales CEB cites “buyers are 57% through the purchase process before sales professions even speak to them.” If that stat has your sales force running for the door, then make sure to quickly follow it up with this juicy metric: 75% of IT execs have taken a meeting as a direct result of a cold call.  

While it is tempting to just write off cold calling as the result of a statistic read online, remember that just because a report said so, these are not hard and fast rules. Carefully consider the value of this tactic (i.e. cold calling) for a sales person’s target market.

Ultimately, cold calling is an invaluable skill; so, don’t drop it from the repertoire simply due to technological conveniences.

1. Prepare and Practice

Before the call, establish a couple of talking points centered around the prospect. Everyone loves talking about themselves and by taking the time to compile this research, salespeople quickly build trust and rapport.

Written scripts are another integral piece to cold-calling success. While a script is imperative, don’t sound like robots droning through the call.

[bctt tweet=”Having defined wording prevents being at a loss for words and stumbling through the call.” username=”discoverorg”]

These scripts, however, are meaningless without practice. By running through the phrasing out loud, sales reps can iron out common problems to ensure a smooth delivery with reasonable speed before the call even begins.

2. Say it With Conviction and be Compelling

No matter what salespeople say, if the prospect doesn’t feel the passion and conviction behind the call, then the call is worthless. Cold-calling superstars make each prospect feel like their first call and speak to their prospective customer’s pain points. Sounding confident while talking to prospects is of the utmost importance.

Cold calling experts are not afraid to make certain comments that shock their audience into listening further. These statements are meant to teach and excite.

Here’s a great example, “According to Gartner, two-thirds of your reps days are spent doing research and data entry. And it’s not contributing to pipeline.  So less than a third of their time is actually creating revenue. How does that make you feel?” You can imagine the heavy feeling on the call, can’t you?

3. Give Your Prospect Room to Share Ideas and Thoughts…and Then Listen

After saying something provocative, share the floor and ask for insight from the prospect’s perspective – get their thoughts and ideas and listen to what they share. By asking questions throughout the call, participants remain engaged. This ongoing feedback also allows you to tailor your responses and better steer the conversation.  

Looking for more tips to improve cold-calling? Listen to Steve Bryerton’s on-demand webinar “Cold Call Objections: How to overcome the most common objections.”

And read More from ZoomInfo on “Defeating the 5 Most Common Sales Objections.

What tips for cold calling do you have? Reach out to us below in the comments or on social media to keep the conversation going.



We already have deep insights into your target accounts.



Integrate with DiscoverOrg, and stop wasting time on dated data.


About the author

Theresa Potratz

Theresa is a Social Media Specialist with additional experience in creative communications and strategy.