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The Best Cold Calling Strategy For Prospecting In 2024

How to work the phone when everyone else is on TikTok

Topics Covered

Cold calling is dead! You can’t prospect over the phone in 2023!

Stop me if you’ve heard this before:

We’re in a global pandemic!”

I need to build my Instagram fame.”

If you’re cold calling you’re an idiot.”

If you’re making cold calls you deserve to be yelled at.”

Cold calling is for fools.”

TikTok is how the cool kids prospect today!”

Related Posts:

Fake Objections to Cold Calling

But Wes, cold calling is so inefficient!”

Yes and no.

Yes, you’re only able to speak 1-to-1 when you are making outbound calls, but since 2019, I’ve been harping, “DO WHAT DOES NOT SCALE!”

What that means is to take the time to make a deeper connection with your prospects and clients.

Every day I’m pitched via email, LinkedIn, text, direct mail, and robocalls from mostly dipshit marketers looking to take shortcuts to make money off of me, “But at least I’m not cold-calling!”

They’re also not connecting or making the sale.

With a good approach—which includes a good script—sincerity and clear goals, you can make cold calling an effective and profitable part of your sales growth.

…cold calling is is so intrusive.”

Yes, it is.

You’re literally interrupting your prospect.

Their cortisol levels spike.

They become defensive.

This makes it harder to connect and almost impossible to sell them…but you’re not trying to sell them. At least you’re not initially trying to make a monetary sale.

What you’re seeking to do is sell them on giving you a few moments of their undivided attention, which is hard to do if you’re following old-school, high-pressure tactics.

Once you get them to give you a few moments of their time, you engage them with a good script and a thoughtful question that is time-based to gauge their interest and motivation.

If and when they are engaged, you sell them on setting a firm appointment at a later date to dive deeper into their issues and your potential solutions, then get off the phone.

…cold calling is so 2004.”

Ha. Whatever.

People are quite open to speaking about their issues, fears, concerns, uncertainties, doubts, goals, and aspirations with professionals they think can actually help them.

Is that you?

…my DAD made cold calls. This isn’t 1987.”

Ha. (See above.)

The Real Issue With Cold Calling

The truth is (between you and me) I’m scared to death of making cold calls…”

Now we’re getting somewhere.

You’re scared of making cold calls because you have the wrong expectations of their purpose.

You don’t have a script.

You’re not batching your calls.

You’re too focused on meeting your own needs instead of the needs of your prospects.

I don’t know what to say…”

See above.

Having set times and good, proven sales scripts will alleviate this problem.

I get stumped too easily…”

Again, it’s because you don’t have a script that you’ve practiced, drilled, and rehearsed.

You may also be not quite as good as you think you are, which can only change by putting more time into your profession.

To have what professionals in your industry have, you must become a professional. To become a professional, you must do what professionals do.

Wes Quotes: Do. Become. Have.

and I get blown off if I ever reach a decision-maker…”

You get blown off by powerful people because you’re perceived as weak.

Your words, tonality, phrases, volume, and pace all impact how you come across, and it happens almost immediately.

You must pace yourself to connect with your prospects.

You must adjust how you sell to match how they want to buy.

How they want to buy is conveyed in how they answer the phone, i.e., do they have an assistant? Is it quiet or loud where they are? Do they use their full name? Do they sound hurried or rushed? Are they curt or friendly?

All of those tell you something about them.

Can you adjust on the fly to match your sales approach with their buying approach?

So I scream and yell about how worthless it is while I waste time on LinkedIn trying to get someone to allow me to send them a quote.”

When I first wrote this post back in 2017, it was immediately after having the pleasure of doing some early morning training for a fellow Texas Aggie and his team of 20+ for their monthly leadership training.

We had just spoken on the Wednesday prior to his upcoming Friday meeting, and he mentioned he needed someone for that Friday at 6:45 AM Pacific and asked if I could do it.

Since I can do this in my sleep, we made it happen.

Fourteen minutes after the training ended, I received this email from them:

Everyone in the office is abuzz with how great (the session) was this morning. I think I speak for all of us when I say we all felt engaged with you and learned a lot.”

And they want me back.

And you know what we covered?

Prospecting over the phone, i.e., cold calling.

The Wimpy Salesman is afraid of making cold calls to grow sales.

They are in an “old-school industry” that requires picking up the phone to reach decision-makers, set firm appointments with mutually agreed upon agendas, and get the truth from them to make the sale.

HINT: Learn how to do this in my free tool called The Sales Agenda.

The truth about prospecting and sales

Accept that there are two types of sales:

  1. The easy ones.

  2. The ones you don’t get.

Wes, are you saying selling is easy or that prospecting is easy? WTH?”

Yes and no.

Tiger Woods makes hitting a 6-iron out of a fairway bunker 200 yards over water to within 10 feet of the cup on the 18th hole to win a golf tournament look easy because he:

  • Practices perfectly…with a coach. (Wrong practice won’t help you get better.)

  • Trains daily…with a coach. (This is not the same as practicing).

  • Records his practice and work…with a coach.

  • Reviews his practice and work…with a coach.

  • Focuses with the help…of a coach and/or assistant (caddie).

  • Believes he can…with the help of a coach.

  • Surrounds himself with people that foster all of the above…especially a coach.

Do you see a trend there?

Do you treat selling as a profession?

Do you prospect daily?

Do you set appointments with yourself to do what needs to be done, no matter what?

Do you train to improve your prospecting skills daily?

Do you track and record your work? (I recorded my phone calls and reviewed them and strategized about them for a solid year with a sales coach I paid $10,000 in 2007 to help me get better. What are you spending your money on?)

Do you focus intently when you do practice, train, and work? (Turn off the chat, the Slack, the Social Media, and the email for extended periods of time and get it done!)

Do you believe you can hit your numbers and goals? (Which way is your spiral?)

Do you surround yourself with people that help you reach your numbers and goals? (Or do you hang out with those who are not striving; therefore, you’re all comfortable getting fat as sloth creeps in and becomes the norm?

Two things I learned in the Air Force back in 1988 have served me well to this day:

  1. Prior Planning & Preparation Prevents Poor Performance.

  2. Daily Discipline Done Diligently Determines Destiny.

Daily Discipline helps you succeed at cold calling.

If you do neither, you have a long row to hoe. When you do both, you’ll win a lot more sales, and they’ll be easy.

Ready for some hard preparation and easy sales?

Are you ready to Dig Deep?

Obviously, the image/flow chart above is a bit tongue-in-cheek, but after being in sales for decades and working with thousands of salespeople around the world, you and I know that it does hit a little too close to home because it’s based on truth.

When you’re hungry, desperate, and behind the 8-ball and jump into prospecting with no plan and looking at prospects as “marks to close” instead of humans to help, you’re in for a long and bumpy road.

The power of a good phone script

This is how I feel when I hear “Hi, how are you?” from a cold call.

Good, fast, cheap sales options in negotiation.

Know how to open your prospecting call.

In fact, know how to handle every step along the way of your ABCDE Sales and Marketing System. (You do have a system, don’t you?)

The A.B.C.D.E. Sales & Marketing System™ of Wes Schaeffer, The Business Fixer®

You only have one chance to make a great first impression.

This has never been more true than when you’re on the phone.

Be sure you’re in a quiet place with a good connection, a good headset, and a solid, proven script.

A script? A SCRIPT!? I can’t use a script on the phone, Wes! It takes away my natural style. I feel like a robot when I use a script! Scripts just don’t work for me. Never have. Never will. Nope. Not gonna use a script.”

I know, and I agree with you.

Wait. What?”

I agree that BAD scripts won’t work.

They will make you feel like a robot and they do take away your natural style and you are NOT yourself when you’re following a bad script that does not allow your personality—to a degree—to shine through.

So have the discipline and professionalism to test several openings—or use those offered and tested in the private sales training community—so you know what opening works best for:

  • Receptionists

  • Executive assistants

  • Technicians

  • Mid-level managers

  • C-Suite executives

  • Mom-and-pop small businesses

  • Medium-sized businesses

  • Businesses in the South vs the North vs the Mid-West vs the West

  • Early-morning calls and After-hours calls (when you get the executive answering their own phones because they’re still hustling and their hourly people have either not gotten in yet or left for the day)

Pro-Tip: Pay attention to everything about how your prospect answers the phone including:

  • How they state their name, i.e.

    • “Wes Schaeffer here.”

    • “Hi, this is Wes.”

    • “It’s a great day at The Sales Whisperer®, you got Wes here. How can I help?”

    • “This is Wes.”

    • “Schaeffer.”

    • “Hello.”

    • “This is Wes. How can I help you?”

  • Background sounds

    • Totally quiet

    • In a car

    • On a speakerphone

    • At the airport

    • At a ballgame

    • In the restroom (it happens more than I wish!)

    • Lots of office chatter in the background

    • Kids in the background

  • Tonality, speed, volume, accent, vocabulary

Everything above gives you a lot of insight in under three seconds. But you must first be listening for it, and second, you must know how to adjust your delivery to best match their preferred communication style.

Why did we cover prospecting over the phone?

Because prospecting is the #1 job of a salesperson.

But Wes, closing is the #1 job. Getting the money is the #1 job. Shutting down that prospect and getting them to Sign. On. The. Line. Which. Is. Dotted.”

You know what’s dead?

That attitude.

And as long as you have that attitude, cold calling will be dead to you. This means your career as a salesperson is limited, along with your earning potential.

Yeah, yeah, I know.

Smart marketers are using the Facey Bookey to go live, to drive to a VSL on a squeeze page with a pixel to retarget to a tripwire to a self-liquidating offer to an ascension model and a continuity plan with a drip sequence with mobile-responsive forms with domain masking and SMS sequences with artificial intelligence running bots that build followers so you have someone to watch your Facey Bookey Live…

And that can and does work, BUT…

  • It takes time.

  • It takes money.

  • It takes expertise.

  • It takes split testing and segmentation and frequency and…and…and…

  • And you should do it.

  • It will work. It does work.

But what if you’re not in charge of marketing at your company?

What if you don’t have a budget for it now?

How to stop making Cold Calls

Want to know how to get the budget to implement inbound marketing and marketing automation and SEM and PPC and all the things you hear all the cool kids doing?

Pick up the phone and make a sale.

Great marketing makes sales easy…but…

Great selling makes great marketing possible.

Earlier today, a developer friend of mine said that…

Companies are life support systems for salespeople!”

To which I replied,

Salespeople are cocoon-builders for developers.”

So, if you want to stop making cold calls but don’t have the budget or expertise to create inbound sales…get good at making cold calls.

I know it’s not what you want to hear, but like they say in the South…

If you gotta eat a frog, there ain’t no use in staring at it. And if you have to eat more than one, eat the biggest one first.”

But you can take comfort in the fact that…

Nothing happens until a sale is made.

The fastest way to make a sale is to pick up the phone.

The fastest way to be effective on the phone (and every other part of sales, marketing, and being a successful entrepreneur) is to get a mentor who has been there, done that, and is still doing that effectively.

You can learn from and pick that mentor’s brain and get all of his videos and access to his private group in this sales program

You can join month-to-month or save a grip and invest in yourself for a year.

I know. I know. I’m a giver.

Head on over there now and watch the recordings from the weekly sessions where I go DEEP into the personas and buying profiles of three members who now have great clarity on how to prospect, market, and make every sale in their niches.

Market like you mean it. Now go sell something!