Does Cold Calling Work in 2020? It Does If You Do It Right!

Cold calling is still one of the most efficient sales methods. However, how to make it work lately is a big concern for any salesperson. Here some insights may help you to get through cold call difficulty.
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What Is Cold Calling?

Cold calling is a sales activity when the representatives reach out to potential customers who haven’t expressed any interest in the products or services offered. Cold calling technique refers to soliciting leads through different channels – phone or person – without any prior contact with salespeople. As a form of telemarketing, cold calling is one of the oldest and the most popular forms of marketing for salespersons. 

However, according to statistic calls failed, there is 91% of the time, cold calling doesn’t work (source: Harvard Business Review) whilst 90% of C-suite executives say they never respond to cold calls or email blasts (source: Harvard Business Review). This situation makes cold calls seem unreliable to reach potential customers. 

Does Cold Calling Still Work?

In recent years, this is generally argued among many sales reps and experts. This phenomenon has led to many different influences. 

According to the Harvard Business Review, cold calling is ineffective 90% of the time. In 5 Sales Prospecting Myths Debunked, “Cold Calling is Dead” is considered to be one of the most common myths. Many self-calling experts claim that cold calls are wasting time and giving no results at all. Meanwhile, case study after case study confirms that cold calling can still work. For example, I’ve found cold call as a major part of a lead generation approach, bringing in 6 clients in 6 months (a major acceleration of client additions), along with a 5-fold increase in the pipeline, a management consulting firm in the insurance industry. 

There do exist some reasons for the failure of cold calling

  • Cold calling is more time consuming than other outbound marketing tactics 
  • Creates a negative experience for prospects 
  • Can have a negative impact on your brand 
  • Provides a terrible experience for salespeople 

But beyond all arguments about this phenomenon, cold calling is placed in the top of sales methods, which is undeniable proof that cold calling still works as a form of telemarketing efficiency.

It’s an indisputable truth that calling leads is an extremely valuable part of the sales channel. But the way you perform needs updating. Customers today are expecting more personalization, no matter they are consumers or business buyers. So all you need to do is change and improve your way up-to-date to approach suitable prospects. 

Based on the statistics, cold calling has played a vital role in the sales and marketing strategy of several businesses. 

  • Cold calling is an early stage technique in the sales process, which is an imperative part of many businesses sales approach 
  • Cold calling is still the fastest, most direct, and low-cost method to influence a sale
  • A cold call is a combination of several platforms – well researched, providing insight and a strong value proposition 
  • Easy to engage in or generate a natural conversation 

These reasons show that cold calling isn’t dead, you’re just not doing it right. The only solution to this problem is innovating the customer approach as well as changing your cold calling script. 

How to Make Cold Calling Work?

Cold calling will be effective if you go through all of these things: 

  • Practice your cold call script 
  • Focus on your goals 
  • Do your prospect research, especially on their names 
  • Ask open-ended questions 
  • Listen to the prospect 
  • Conduct call reviews 
  • Have a ‘close’ in mind for every conversation 
  • Include ‘Thanks for taking my call’, ‘Yes’, ‘Because’, ‘If’, ‘Fit’, ‘Value’ in the conversation 

Don’t make one of these mistakes unless you wish to be in the black-list:

  • Not spending enough time on the phone with prospect 
  • Tell the prospect that you’re not sure if you can help them in the cold call script 
  • Asking how they’re doing  
  • Fail to show WIIFM during the cold call 
  • Use many ‘just’, ‘You should…’, ‘contract’, ‘cheap’ in the conversation 
  • Trying to selling during the call 
  • Forgetting to close the call 

Choose the best time to cold call:

Surprisingly, the best time of day to cold call a prospect is between 4:00 p.m. and 5:00 p.m. their local time. The second best time to pick up the phone is between 11:00 a.m. and 12:00 p.m. Most people are wrapping up their day and are more open to disruptions than at other times of day. They’re also more likely to be at their desks. 

However, you could consider doing your cold calling early in the morning or late in the afternoon, if possible. These are the best times to reach the decision-maker directly. Statistically, Wednesday is the best day to cold call, Thursday is the second best, and Friday is the worst. 

How to Create a Successful Cold Call Script?

Preparation for prospect call:

#1. Pick verticals 

First, you need to pick the exact prospect you are going to call. Your time is valuable, don’t waste it on markets that don’t fit for your product. Focus on the best targets (or who you’ve called most successfully in the past) and search common attributes. 

For example, maybe your verticals are hospitality and retail. You may consider that they’re finance and banking. Once you’ve figured out which verticals to target, you’re ready for step #2. 

#2. Identify good-fit prospects 

It is much easier now to find specific companies or people who could use your product or service. Use LinkedIn. Let’s say you’re looking for hotel companies who might benefit from your on-site goat yoga classes (who doesn’t want to do Shavasana with a baby goat while they’re on vacation). 

Search “People who work at hotel” and/or “General manager” with the “Hospitality” filter. 

It will be a bonus point if you look for local or regional companies. In fact, people love to do business with other locals. If you’re in Alabama, you want to give your business to other Alabamians. 

#3. Research on each prospect 

Don’t just pick up the phone and call. Trust me, spending just a minute upfront will make you wildly more successful. 

You’re already on LinkedIn. Check out each prospect’s profile so you know: 

  • What their company does 
  • What they specifically do 
  • Your experience with a similar company in the past 
  • One ‘fun fact’ about them 

It will be a huge mark if you acknowledge how to pronounce their name. Nothing makes people more annoyed than listening to their name mispronounced by some fast-talking rep. 

As usual, businesses often add how they pronounce their brand name on Facebook. If your potential customer hasn’t, try 

The best cold calling script example:

After browsing on the Internet for information such as website URL, LinkedIn profile of people and company of whom you’re speaking with, you need to tailor a script for the prospect and your company. Use this as a guideline and keep practicing until you’re ready to pick up the phone. 


Firstly, say your name and which company you’re working for. Make your voice sound confident and energetic. You don’t need to yell your greeting, but you do need to articulate. 

Here is a small tip: After you say, ‘This is [name] from [company]‘, pause in a few seconds. 

The reason is while you’re pausing, the prospect is searching for who you could be. It sounds like you know them, so are you a client? A former colleague? Or a current one? 

Remember to avoid asking how they’re doing. This may feel natural to do initially on a cold call, but in case the person you’re calling is busy, then giving details on how they’re doing to you – someone they don’t know – could be taken as you wasting their time. 

Ask a question: 

After your introduction, of course they’ll know who you are. Keep their mind in suspense a bit longer while they’re still curious why you call. Let’s spend a few minutes asking about them. 

Here are some examples: 

  • So, [prospect name], I see you went to [university]. How did you like it?
  • Wow, you’ve worked at [company] for [X years]. How did you get started there?
  • Congrats on your recent promotion. How is the new role?

You should ask good questions that makes them smile, makes them feel comfortable. If they seem receptive to chatting, ask them a follow-up question such as: ‘Are you a cat or a dog person?’ 

Eventually, they’ll say, ‘Alright! Why are you calling?’ 

Simultaneously, my advice for the answer here is… just cackle, ‘Sometimes I forget’. You’ll make them laugh immediately. By this way, you successfully lighten their moods (unless your prospects are in a hurry, you’d better make it straight to the point). 

Positioning statement: 

Showing your experience with former companies that overcome the same challenges as your prospect in order to prove them you completely understand their difficulties. This statement will explain why the prospects should care about what you are saying. And obviously, you’re not talking about yourself; in fact, you’re focusing on their stories, unlike other sales reps. 

I’m working with [customer type] in [industry] with [X team goals]. My customers are recently looking to [ execute X goal]. Does it sound like you?

Wait till the prospects response. Don’t worry; the pre-qualified will always say ‘Yes’

Then, quickly say: 

Then, tell me about that.’ 

Now, they’ll talk about their pain points and objectives. This is the most important information you could get to start building your pitch. 

‘So, what I’m hearing is….’ 

Repeat their points and offer them a discovery call. 

Schedule a discovery call: 

In this step of the progress, your prospects have agreed to a discovery call and offer meeting times. Usually, they will throw out a time weeks or months in the future. However, you should reply with, ‘How about tomorrow?‘  

As a result, most of the time, prospects will respond with, ‘Sure, what time?‘ and all you have to do left is check the junior rep’s calendar and get something scheduled. 

The Bottom Lines:

Cold calling might seem scary at first, but once you overcome your fear of rejection and start viewing objections and questions as opportunities instead of barriers, it will quickly become your favorite way to attract new customers and clients. 

There are no exact templates to make a successful cold call. However, you might find some practical insights for tracking and collecting data of prospects on our blog post on cold calls. Meanwhile, you can use our cold calling script template to get the results that you want from your calls. 

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