Cold calling’s considered a key component of a company’s sales cadence. But the success rate of a cold call is just 1-3%. This stat can feel depressing. But the long and the short of it is that many businesses still practice cold-calling – methodology has simply changed in this day and age (phone call? Email? DM? Finding the right time to call someone fully remote amid a pandemic?) But if your approach is considered, you’re likely to see results. Moreover, consider this tricky sales approach as a challenge; there’s ample opportunity to improve your cold calls and boost the quality of your overall outbound sales process. You can still make cold calling work for you in 2021 and beyond. Here are 10 tips that will help you do it.

10 Tactics For Getting More Out Of Cold Calls In 2021 And Beyond

Focus on buying time, not closing a deal right away

You use cold calling in your sales cadence because you believe it will increase your outbound sales. But your focus during each cold call shouldn’t be on closing the deal — at least not right away. Rather, your first goal is to turn the five initial seconds you have with a buyer into five minutes.

According to LinkedIn, the longer your cold calls are, the likelier they lead to a meeting. So keep them on the phone with you. You don’t need to convince them to buy your product right away. The following tactics will show you how to do this.

Don’t use “Did I catch you at a bad time?” Try this instead

This line is a classic cold call opening. The theory behind it is that people like to say no so that they can feel like they’re in control. So when you ask this question, and they say no, you’ve already opened the window to make your pitch.

However, the data has shown that this approach is less effective than you think. Try using this question instead:

“How have you been?”

It’s a question that will throw your prospects out of their automatic rejection mode and get them talking – and getting your prospects talking is key to securing that meeting.

Research is everything

This tip is a common one, but it’s included on this list because of its importance. Research truly is everything when you’re improving your cold calls.

Before you make your calls, you should understand the following:

  • What makes the person’s company unique
  • What makes the person tick
  • The pain points this person and their company may be feeling
  • How your product or service will work as a solution for them

Talk more than you listen

Some people believe that listening to their cold call prospects is more important than making their pitch right away. The reasoning is that, by listening, the salesperson gains valuable insight into what makes the prospect tick and how that can be leveraged to make a sale.

In other outbound sales settings, this might be true. But talking is much more important than listening when it comes to cold calls. The data shows that successful cold calls have an average talk/listen breakdown of 55% to 45% and unsuccessful ones have an average talk/listen ratio of 42%/58%.

Understand that rejection is not the enemy

No one can close 100% of the prospects they pitch. Rejection is an essential part of everyone’s outbound sales process. That’s easy to understand intellectually, but it can be tough to truly embrace after waves and waves of denials.

However, there are some tips you can try to make the process a little easier on yourself. For example, create a “rejection” slack channel with your fellow sales team members. You can share your funniest rejection stories and commiserate with one another when times are tough.

You might also shift your focus from disappointment to using that rejection as a growth opportunity. For example, you can ask the prospect that rejected you what made them do so. Or you can run through the scenario again with another member of your sales team to see what you could have done differently.

Does cold calling still work? Depends on how effectively you’re approaching the prospect and the call.

Learn from every cold call you make

This goes hand-in-hand with the previous point. Every cold call that you make provides you with valuable data. You can leverage that data to improve your success rate gradually but significantly over time.

For example, most cold calls begin with a script. As you continue using that script, patterns will start to emerge. You’ll find that you’re consistently getting rejected at a certain spot in the script. Once you’ve noticed that, you can make adjustments until you’ve resolved the issue.

As time goes on, you’ll find dozens of opportunities like this where you can make subtle tweaks to the processes you use. Taking advantage of these opportunities is what will separate you from the pack.

Take acting classes (seriously)

Too often, salespeople who cold call read their scripts in a robotic, monotonous voice that turns the prospect away instantly. To be truly successful, you need to make your script sound like you were saying it for the first time. You need to bring real emotion to the table and convey that emotion to your prospects in a palatable way.

To make all of this happen, you need to be a good actor. And most of us aren’t naturals. So you might consider taking an acting class or two. Doing so will help you develop the skills you need to instantly connect with each prospect you speak with.

Make sure your calls take place at the right time

The timing of your cold calls can sometimes be just as important as their content. For example, you know that most people are in the office from about 9 am-5 pm each day. But you’re more likely to get a few minutes of someone’s time when they’re not already engaged in work.

That’s why you might want to leave your cold calls for the lunch hour, the beginning of the day, or the end of the day. Some firms have even started leaving their cold calls for days that they believe their prospects are the least busy. Apparently, Wednesdays and Thursdays are the best time to reach out.

Learn to leave strong voicemails

If your target doesn’t pick up, you may still be able to salvage the call by leaving a strong voicemail. Here are a few tips for doing that:

  • Keep your messages short; 20 seconds or less is best
  • Make sure to reference that you were recommended by someone they know and trust (if that’s true)
  • Don’t try to sell in the voicemail; just try to get them to call you back
  • Use an upbeat, friendly tone of voice
  • Use your prospect’s name and your full name

Use this closing question to book your meeting

All of the pointers above should get you to the point of closing your cold call by asking for a meeting – but even this question can produce varied results. 

You only have one chance to close, so you need to make the most of it. This is exacerbated by the fact that most prospects are already very familiar with closing cold calls down, and many will have several excuses lined up in their head before you make the ask.

The key, then, is to find a way around your target’s pre-packaged excuses. This question is our favorite way to do that:

“Do you have your calendar handy?”

This closing is super effective because it essentially voids out all of your target’s prepared excuses at once. You aren’t asking them if they’ll meet with you – just if they have a calendar handy.

If the target says no, then that becomes a much easier rejection to work around than them saying they don’t have time for a meeting. A target may still ultimately deny you. But using this question will give you a much chance of success.

Refine your closing line and verbal CTA to secure next steps.

One Last Tip: Use LeadLander To Improve Your Outbound Sales Process

Cold calling can still work for you in 2021. You just need to use the right tactics and tools to get the most out of it. The tactics above should help with that. But you should also be looking into tools that can provide you with more value-rich data feeds about your prospects. LeadLander is perfect for this.

Think of LeadLander as an extension of your sales team. It provides a wealth of valuable information about your website visitors, which you can use to:

  • Discover new leads
  • Validate interest from cold calls
  • Receive real-time alerts about when clients visit your website so that you can call them at the perfect moment
  • And so much more

Best of all, you can try LeadLander without any risk. We’re currently offering a free 14-day trial that you can sign up for without having to give us your credit card information.


You can sign up for LeadLander’s free 14-day trial today by visiting this link. We look forward to helping you optimize your outbound sales processes.

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