What Is Cold Calling?

By Indeed Editorial Team

Updated August 26, 2022 | Published February 25, 2020

Updated August 26, 2022

Published February 25, 2020

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Cold calling can be a telemarketing strategy used to generate sales and returning customers from prospective leads. While cold calling can be difficult, there are several ways you can develop your techniques and increase your chances of converting cold leads to warm leads. Additionally, cold calling can be an effective strategy when paired with other marketing methods that help acquire new customers. In this article, we will explore what cold calling means, several advantages to this marketing method and 10 tips to help you increase your cold calling success.

What is cold calling?

Cold calling is the communication with a potential lead or customer who has not heard of or had any previous contact with the solicitor who is making the call. Cold calling also refers to the attempt to persuade an individual or business to purchase a product or obtain a service. Typically, cold calling is performed by making telephone calls to prospects, however, the concept of cold calling can be seen in other sales methods such as door-to-door sales or network marketing.

Oftentimes, cold calling can be advantageous, especially if you are making the cold call to a prospect that you obtained through a referral. Essentially, cold calling can be an effective strategy when combined with additional marketing strategies.

Learn more: Writing a Cold Email: Guide and Examples

Advantages of using cold calling as a strategy

There can be several advantages to implementing a cold calling strategy in your marketing plan. For instance, when paired with an email marketing strategy, you might acquire lead email addresses to solicit subscriptions to your online magazine. Here are several more advantages to implementing cold calling as a marketing strategy:

  • You can communicate directly with a potential lead to introduce your business, products or services

  • You can help your prospects identify their exact problems or immediate needs and personalize solutions to meet their needs

  • You can gain your prospects' attention by demonstrating your knowledge about their company and its core values

Cold calling is also an effective way to create warm leads, or prospects that express further interest in your products or services. Gathering a list of warm leads can ultimately lead to increasing your revenue.

Related: Creating a Successful Social Media Marketing Strategy

Tips for increasing your cold calling success

Cold calling may sometimes be viewed from a negative perspective, however, when you develop your communication and interpersonal skills you can increase the chances of your cold call success. You might also consider the following 10 tips to help you increase your cold calling success:

Read more: Communication Skills: Definitions and Examples

Develop your communication techniques

Developing the way you verbally communicate with others can be an effective first step to improve your cold calling success. You might practice your tone to convey a friendly sound in your voice or learn to interpret short pauses in phone conversations.

Improve your interpersonal skills

Improving your interpersonal skills can also help you connect with your prospects by practicing empathy. Improving your interpersonal skills can also help you build more confidence in approaching new people.

Research your prospects before calling

One of the most important things to remember when improving your cold calling techniques is to find out everything you can about your prospects. You can start by researching demographic information like age, job industry, geographic region or other criteria that can help you pinpoint the best target market for your products and services.

Ask questions

You can ask your leads questions that can help you develop a deeper understanding of their concerns or needs. Using your prospect's answers, you might then discuss how your services or a specific product might be able to help.

Help the prospect identify their problems

Helping your prospects determine what their problems or concerns are can get you one step closer to discussing how you can help create a solution through your products or services. Customers typically return to businesses that can provide them with something that solves a specific issue or fulfills a certain need. Sometimes a prospect may not be aware that they have an issue or a need until you help them identify it. You can usually determine a customer's needs by asking your prospects questions.

Improve your sales pitch

You can also work on improving your pitch, or the way you approach turning a cold lead into a warm lead. Your sales pitch might not always be used to acquire a sale, but rather to elicit a prospect's interest in learning more about how your products or services will fit their needs. Developing a natural and personable pitch can help you achieve this goal.

Related: How To Sell Yourself in an Elevator Pitch

In this video, Jenn, a career coach at Indeed, gives an example of a future-focused statement that will help you to sell your experience during your elevator pitch, and connect where you’ve been with where you want to go.

Related: How To Give an Elevator Pitch (With Examples)

Discuss creative solutions

As you develop your ability to help prospects understand and become aware of their needs and concerns, you can create opportunities to develop creative solutions that will help your prospects. For instance, if you work in finance, you might contact leads to schedule them into your seminar on financial planning, which might be the perfect solution for a prospective customer who needs to solve their initial problem of budgeting. This could then lead to a new financial client as the prospect discovers how your financial services can help them achieve financial stability.

Call prospects at the right time

Another key tip for increasing your cold calling success is to call your leads at the right time. Typically, most cold calls can have the best chances of conversion when they are made in the mornings of workdays. For instance, if you are cold calling a list of leads in the marketing industry, you might consider Mondays, Tuesdays or Wednesdays during the beginning or morning hours of the workday.

Generally, business professionals tend to get busier as the day progresses, and scheduling your calls at the right time can help ensure you get in contact with your prospect the first time you call.

Focus on your objective

Another effective cold calling tip is to always keep your end goal in mind during your calls. For instance, if your company provides a specific service, your key objective might be to schedule appointments for informational meetings rather than obtain a new customer. This can be an important distinction because the objective of your call can dictate how you conduct your conversation with your leads.

Follow up with your prospects

It can also be effective to follow up with potential customers who you have spoken to that have expressed interest in learning more about what you are offering. When you do follow up with prospects, you might discuss the previous call you had with them and the ways your services or products can help fulfill their immediate needs. Following up can also renew interest in cold leads that may have expressed interest at one point, and it can lead to further contact in the future.

Related: Elevator Pitch Tip: Keep It Concise

In this video, Jenn, a career coach at Indeed, presents the key to keeping your elevator pitch the right length, which will help capture and maintain the full attention of the people you’re pitching to.


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