Cold Calling Perfection: Are You Hearing This?


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In email prospecting strategies, one of the first things I advise is that you send yourself a draft before hitting the final send. That way, you get a sense of what it’s like for your prospects to receive your emails. You can quickly see where you need to make adjustments to grab your prospect’s attention and get a reply.

This same checkup strategy works well for your cold calls, too.

Many of your best and worst phone habits are the ones you probably aren’t even aware of until you hear them. They’re the same habits that may be keeping you from closing more first appointments.

So, how do you assess your cold call effectiveness? Record them.

It used to be that only the largest companies had access to telephone recording equipment. These days, however, numerous recording options exist. Recording functionality may already be built into your company phone system. If not, at the very least, you can use one of the free conference calling options that record calls.

Depending on where you live, there could be legal issues that require you to notify your prospect that you’re recording the call, so do confirm that first. And if recording cold calls makes you uneasy or isn’t possible, ask a peer to listen in while you make calls instead.

Here’s a quick checklist of 10 things you should listen for in your cold call reviews.

  1. Are you opening the call with a compelling value proposition? The better you get at grabbing a prospect’s attention during the first few moments of a cold call, the easier time you’ll have of advancing the sale.
  2. Are you talking about products, or business needs? Prospects care most about solutions to their problems, so be sure to frame your call in those terms.
  3. Do you sound like an expert? It’s important to be authoritative if you want prospects to trust you with their time, much less their investment.
  4. Are the suggestions you make, or situations you talk about, accurate? For your discussion to have any weight, it has to focus on a need the prospect considers to be valid and important.
  5. How are your listening skills? No cold call should be a one-way conversation. Ask questions that engage your prospects and learn to listen closely to the feedback you’re receiving from prospects.
  6. How does your telephone voice sound? Is your voice clear and relaxed, or full of "um’s" and "ah’s?" Cultivating a strong, clear phone voice is important for making prospects comfortable with you.
  7. How skilled are you at dealing with objections? Cold calling is full of objections. Practice dealing with them over the phone and your appointment closing ratio will improve drastically.
  8. Are you building enough interest before you ask for an appointment? Asking for an appointment too early is a common sales mistake. Make sure the prospect is interested enough in what you’re talking about before you propose the next step.
  9. Do you look for referrals if your contact turns out not to be the decision maker? Sometimes our research lets us down, but finding the wrong contact doesn’t have to halt the sales opportunity. Ask for a referral to the correct decision maker and reference your initial call as an introduction.
  10. Is the voicemail you leave one that you would return? If you’re going to make cold calls, you’re going to leave voicemails. Learning to leave the prospect with a compelling message – and clearly spoken return phone number – are great ways to make your telephone prospecting more effective.

If you can refine your cold calling, you’ll get past gatekeepers more effectively, leave more compelling messages, gather more relevant information, and close more first appointments.

And who doesn’t want to do all those things?


Kendra Lee
Kendra Lee is a Top 50 Sales & Marketing Influencer. She is a Prospect Attraction Expert, president of KLA Group, and author of the newly released book The Sales Magnet. KLA Group helps mid-market companies break through tough prospecting barriers to exceed revenue goals. Ms. Lee is a frequent speaker at national sales meetings and events. To find out more about the author and her "Get More Customers" strategies, visit or call +1 303-741-6636.


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