How To Cold Call: 21 Cold Calling Tips for SDRs (From the Sales Masters)

Abhishikha Chatterjee
November 30, 2021
 mins read

Last modified on

November 30, 2021
Table of Content:

Cold calling is not for the faint-hearted. 

Even though cold calling seems like an easy task, receiving a pleasant greeting and converting the call into next steps conversations is not as easy as it looks. And why do we say so?

Let’s try this.

The following are five objections that customers often have when buying from you, regardless of your industry:

#1 I really don’t have the time right now. Can we do this some other time?- Too Busy

#2 I’ve seen the presentation, but let’s talk another day.- Seen It

#3 I don’t think the product interests us.- Not Interested

#4 Yeah, that’s right. Cool. Oh, yeah.- Right but not so right

#5 Let’s get on a call another day, and I’ll listen then. Will listen Later

And there goes your confidence flying out of the window. 

Encountering such objections on a cold call is expected and normal. After all, it’s a cold call. You’re a stranger who’s calling people at odd hours and eating up their time.

Well, even in 2021, cold calling is still a valuable marketing and sales tool

Okay. Guilty. You’re right.

An old and traditional form of cold calling is no longer applicable and advisable. 

Sales experts across the globe discourage following the same techniques that worked in the 1980s until the mid-1990s.

What would SDRs learn about cold calling here?

  • A new form of cold calling
  • 21 Cold Calling Tips for SDRs (From the Sales Masters)
  1. Learn to say “NO.”
  2. Learn and practice a cold calling script
  3. Be spontaneous
  4. How about adding humor?
  5. Attitude of a winner
  6. One-call-close mentality
  7. Use social proof
  8. Watch your voice modulation
  9. Learn empathy 
  10. Improve response time
  11. Don’t worry about listening
  12. Preparation is key!
  13. When to gather feedback?
  14. Know your product or service inside and out
  15. Mug up your objection rebuttals 
  16. Neutralize situation, don’t get defensive or justify the situation
  17. Address them by their name
  18. Call timing is everything
  19. Sell value before going anywhere near budget and pricing discussion
  20.  Your best cold call opening lines
  21.  Increase your monologue time

So, what’s the new example of cold calling?

In 2021, cold calling is a legit weapon that is often underestimated or pushed by customers. 

The reason clients don’t want to entertain a cold call because it’s annoying and adds no value to the customer. 

Now, think about this.

How do you think you can feel a radio DJ smiling behind the mic?

In The Stay Paid Podcast on The Art of Cold Calling, Luke Acree says-

“SDRs need to emulate radio DJs. 

Learn their tricks. 

Figure out ways to make the prospect feel the enthusiasm on the mic without appearing in front of the prospect. 

Just like the radio DJs, your prospect should know you are smiling without being verbal about it. 

Because only 7% of communication is through words, the rest of it is coming from tone, body language, flexion, etc..”

So, that’s what SDRs need to replicate-be a salesman, but one who sells value doesn’t bore the prospect, and most importantly, understands the one-call mentality(That’s the secret sauce Luke wants you to inculcate.”

We have evidence that cold calling is still an operational sales method and hasn’t reached extinction. Let’s jump directly to the 21 tricks that sales experts endorse. 

21 Cold Calling Tips for SDRs (From the Sales Masters)

1. Learn to say “NO.”

Discussion on cold calling tricks is incomplete without digesting the fact that the process is brutal and, at times, disappointing. 

On rare occasions, you’ll hear kind words and understanding prospects entertaining you.   

The faster you learn to hear a NO, the chances of hearing YES increases.

2. Learn and practice a cold calling script

The majority of conversations have a similar timeline and set of customer queries. 

Addressing the common objections, keeping rebuttal arguments ready, and mugging up hygiene facts about the company is expected.

The cold calling script doesn’t have to be followed thoroughly, but having it around can save you a lot of time and effort.

3. Be spontaneous

While we encourage SDRs to follow a script, we’ll never discourage spontaneity. 

Personalizing and customizing the script is your choice. How well and creatively you do it is up to you. 

4. How about adding humor?

Cold calling seems like an annoying conversation for a prospect, but a few tricks can break the ice and open chances of success.

And amongst those few ingredients, humor is one of the most successful spices. A pinch of it, and the prospect is ready to hear you with full attention. 

If you want to entertain or educate them, do it smartly and gracefully.

5. Attitude of a winner

 It's ok to be nervous, just don't sound like it.


Because attitude is everything. 

Marcus Chan,  a Salesforce Top Influencer, Founder of Venli Consulting Group, and a sales Coach himself,  mentions- “Before entering the call, visualize a winning situation. You must enter the meeting with a positive attitude and a winning zeal. Whether you win or learn from the experience is a different story altogether.”

6. One-call-close mentality

In The Stay Paid Podcast, Luke Acree requests viewers(SDRs, we are talking to you) embrace a one-call-close mentality. 

When cold calling, your chances are already slim and difficult to crack. Unless you come prepared for closing the call in the first opportunity, you’ll never be able to make it to the 8 follow-up calls to reach a prospect. 

Every client call(especially the initiation call) is as essential as the closure call. 

7. Use social proof

According to Nutshell, social proof proves to boost higher sales numbers in 2021 and beyond. Using it correctly can increase conversion rates, build trust with your customers, and validate their buying decisions.

Sales experts can testify that social proof such as client experience or customer success stories plays a far better role in convincing the client than the sales pitch and boring product presentations.

8. Watch your voice modulation.

Voice modulation is an essential part of cold calling communication. It has a psychological effect on the listener. 

The correct mix of pauses, energy levels, toning down moments, and excitement periods can make a difference to the conversation more than the words.

9. Learn Empathy 

Empathy is outrightly the most legit sales and cold calling trick.

During the pandemic, empathy was the only way sellers could gain the clients' respect. 

Once you put yourself in the client’s shoes, the client sees a more trustworthy representative in you. 

Demonstrating empathy is another unique quality of a modern SDR

10. Response time

Another technique to see quick cold calling success is the response rate. 

Whether it’s a query on the call or collateral expectation beyond the call, whoever does it faster will be a clear winner and improve the chances of a sales closure.

11. Don’t worry about listening.

The sales gamut encourages reps to listen more and talk less. But fortunately, cold calling tricks and tips say otherwise. 

The appropriate talk-to-listen ratio for successful cold calls is 55:45 as per the Sales Hacker.

Make sure you talk in a way that engages the prospect. 

12. Preparation is Key!

42% of salespeople claim that they don’t have sufficient data. Imagine entering a cold call with no prior knowledge of the prospect, and there goes your chance of scheduling even a subsequent call. 

Let’s put it this way. Research and preparation are not optional but mandatory to customize the message and catch the prospect’s attention. 

We don’t know about you, but many salespeople use a mirror to gauge their energy level and improve their tone and voice modulation.

13. When to gather Feedback?

Feedback can be a great approach to keep the prospect hooked to the conversation till the end. 

However, request a feedback right when the prospect plans to hang up. 

Feedback will not only stretch the call but resell the value of your product. 

Anything the prospect liked about the call will get resold and reinforced during the feedback session.

14. Know your product or service inside and out

While this is a given and a hygiene factor about sales calls, we still press on reinstating it for those of you who take product(or service) information lightly. 

Any incorrect or false information sold by the SDR can backfire and put the company’s reputation at stake.

Note: Be careful about legal implications.

15. Mug up your objection rebuttals 

Objections are a by-product of a cold call. 

Comments such as, “We’re aren’t interested in your product.”, “ This project is not on priority.” would bug you time and again. 

Preparation for the common objections is a wise option and makes the cold call a lot bearable for both parties.

16. Neutralize situation

…..and don’t get defensive or justify the case.

Cold calling objections get heated up without notice. How you pursue the conversation to alleviate the prospect is entirely up to you. 

But, trying to justify and defend the organization is not a viable option. 

Accepting the prospect’s point of view and acknowledging it is the first step. From their consider understanding the reason behind the objection. 

17. Address them by their name

According to an article in Forbes, it has been proven that referring to someone solely by their surname leaves a more positive impression of them. 

Addressing clients with their names or surnames makes the conversation less formal and more personalized. 

18. Call Timing is everything

Isn’t it true that timing is everything? 

Would you like to be disturbed during the busy hours of your day? The same is the case with your clients. Respecting their time preference can make a significant difference in your cold-calling conversation. 

According to a study conducted on 25000 sales calls by Yesware- cold calling is most effective on weekday afternoons. Between 3:00 and 5:00 pm on Tuesdays and Thursdays, the majority of calls last over five minutes.

19. Sell value 

……….before going anywhere near budget or pricing discussion.

Unless the conversation has reached a point where the prospect has shown curiosity about knowing more about the company and the product, avoid discussing budget. 

20. Your best cold call opening lines

How many times have you tried checking with the prospect, “ Is this a bad time?” 

Well, here’s what you didn’t know- Research indicates that whenever you open a cold call with, “Is this a bad time?” You are 60% more likely to fail. A sales rep who uses a friendly opener has 3.4 times the chance of getting a follow-up meeting.

So, choose your best cold call opening lines carefully.

21. Increase your monologue time

Let’s see what’s the monologue time for successful cold calls. 

In a successful cold call, the average sales rep monolohue is for 37 seconds. In successful cold calls, the average prospect monologue lasts 3.5 seconds. 

This means, in a cold call, the ball should be in your court and stay in your court as long as possible. 

The final and most unique idea for not getting dodged on a cold call is our Bonus tip for you.

Bonus Tip: Try to avoid letting them know you are a sales executive. Don’t make the conversation about a sales pitch. Try to figure out if there’s a problem that’s giving them sleepless moments. Naturally, drag them to the product or service. How about introducing yourself as a support and service exec? You may experience a different tone and approach to the conversation.

Is that all? Can you think of any other cold calling tips we could have covered?

Of course, there are!

Every new sales scenario is an addition to the list. However, we recommend starting with these 21 cold calling tips and tricks that will help you kick-start your cold calling journey with a bang.

So, what are you waiting for? Get the practice started!

Happy Cold Calling, Folks!!

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