Cold Calling: Telephone Prospecting Success Tips

People who prospect by phone usually prefer warm calls over cold calls – that is, talking to someone with whom they’ve had previous contact. But the success of both cold and warm calls is dependent on good communication skills.

Had another conversation with yet another entrepreneur who told me he does not “cold call,” he only does “warm calls.”

I continue to be baffled by those who cut off possibilities with a semantic twist. “Cold call, warm call,” it’s simply a state of mind. Your mind. Your prospect does not make those distinctions. Just because you have designated a call to be “warm” doesn’t mean that the person you are calling thinks it’s “warm.” This “warm call/cold call” concept is a smoke screen that covers the real issue.

The real issue is controlling your message. The real issue is being able to communicate with a prospect so that they understand and resonate with what you have to say. The real issue is about having the skill necessary to communicate with a prospect under any circumstance.

Prospecting by phone, introductory calling as I prefer, is a communication skill. Like any communication skill it can be learned and it can be improved upon. The idea when introductory calling is to contact a qualified prospect and entice them with your message. You have a brief amount of time on the telephone to catch and engage your prospect. If you are not able to do that, the call ends without achieving your desired result. If you have the proper skills, however, it is possible to have extremely productive conversations with prospects no matter how you choose to categorize them, “warm” or “cold.”

The idea of a “warm call” is that you’ve had some prior contact with your prospect and that you have somehow “warmed up” the call. The prior contact might be with a letter sent before your call, it might be that you have encountered the prospect elsewhere it could also be that you have a referral.

All too frequently callers who use the “I only warm call” approach do not adequately prepare for their calls. Instead, they rely on the appellation “warm.” If you are one of these callers, stop right here and ask yourself these questions:

  • How many “warm” prospects have said “no” to me over the years?
  • Would those calls have been more productive if I had been better prepared and more in control of my message?

Although you may have sent a letter, you have no guarantee that your prospect has read it. Although you may have met previously, your prospect may not recall that. Although you may have a referral that is no guarantee that your prospect will meet with you or have any interest at all in your products or services.

When you are on the phone with a prospect you must deal with them, where they are, at that particular moment in time. If your prospect hasn’t read your letter, doesn’t remember the person who referred you, or is simply having a bad day, that’s out of your control. What is within your control when prospecting is to have honed your skills so that your message is clear and so that you can respond in any situation.

When you have skills, you know how to catch a prospect’s attention, you know how to keep their attention, you know how to respond to questions and objections and you know how to ask for what you want. When you have those skills it’s no longer about a “warm” call or a “cold” call, it’s about communication, conversation and results.

Copyright 2006 Wendy Weiss

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