What Is Cold Calling? (With Benefits and Tips for Success)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Updated October 31, 2022 | Published September 29, 2021

Updated October 31, 2022

Published September 29, 2021

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.

Whether you're looking to convert prospects into customers or get a job, cold calling can be an effective strategy to apply. Cold calling offers an opportunity to make connections and convince an individual to take action. By learning about cold calling and the tips for success, you can improve your likelihood of getting a positive response and reach your professional goals. In this article, we define cold calling, explain its benefits, provide examples of cold-calling scripts and tips, and respond to common questions about cold calling.

What is cold calling?

Cold calling is any unrequested communication between you and an individual who typically had no previous interaction with you. It is an attempt to persuade prospects of a service or product or request a job from employers. While cold calling typically refers to making telephone calls to potential customers, it may also mean visiting prospects in their homes. Evaluate who you're contacting to determine how to proceed with your cold call and improve your chances of getting a favourable response.

Cold calling is a common form of telemarketing, which means marketing products or services to potential customers without the lead asking about the action you want them to perform. Depending on your reason for cold calling, you can use this strategy alone or combine it with other techniques for converting leads to customers or when searching for a job.

Why use cold calling as a strategy?

As a candidate, cold calling can help you leave a good first impression on hiring managers. It can also encourage employers to consider you for open positions. Similarly, cold calling can help you establish a relationship with potential customers if you use it for marketing a product or service. You can also use this strategy to get the prospect's attention or resolve an issue they may have.

Examples of successful cold-calling scripts

Here are cold-calling scripts you can use as inspiration:

Example for sales and marketing professionals

This example describes what an employee can say when contacting a potential customer about an organization's product:

"Hello, my name is Jess from Virtual Gtery Academy. We're currently providing quality training sessions to data science enthuasists in Ontario. Would you like to learn more about this opportunity and join our academy?"

Related: 13 Effective Cold Calling Tips to Enhance Your Sales Skills

Example for a candidate looking for a job

This example describes what a candidate may say when cold calling a hiring manager:

"Good morning, Jessica. My name is Denise. I'm contacting you about opportunities at your company. I've worked as a writer for three years, and I'm looking for a lead writer position with your company. I feel I can contribute to your company's goals while developing my written communication skills. I'd love to share more about my work experience and skills with you to see if there are any job postings I can apply for in your company."

Related: What Is Cold Calling for Jobs? (With Steps and Tips)

Example for educational instructors

This example describes what a teacher can say when contacting a student to collaborate on a project:

"Hi John, I'm Professor Jeremy from the University of New Terulock. Professor Xander spoke highly about your expertise in value analysis and engineering. I was wondering whether you'd be interested in working with me on a research project in the coming weeks. I'd love to share more about the project with you if this opportunity interests you."

Related: How To Introduce Yourself in a Professional Setting

Tips for increasing cold calling success

Here are the best practices for ensuring your cold call is successful:

Develop your communication and interpersonal skills

Communication is the ability to exchange information with others, and it's an important aspect of cold calling. Similarly, interpersonal skills refer to your ability to interact with others. Improving your verbal communication and interpersonal skills helps you convey a friendly tone and develop more confidence in approaching people. You can achieve this by requesting feedback from individuals you interact with regularly.

Read more: How To Become an Effective Communicator

Research prospects before cold calling

Find out about the person you'd be calling in advance to ensure the conversation progresses as planned. Depending on who you're connecting with, you may want to research demographic information, such as their industry and job title. Doing this can help you address the person accurately. It can also help you determine the best hiring managers to contact or determine your product or service's target audience.

Ask questions to keep contacts engaged

Asking questions can also guide the conversation. For example, if you're cold calling a prospect, you may ask them whether they are experiencing an issue your product or service can resolve. Similarly, if you're connecting with a hiring manager, you may ask them what roles they are looking to fill in a company.

Help contacts identify their challenges

If your prospect has yet to identify the challenges they face, you can help them identify them during a cold call. For example, you may discuss how your skills can be useful to a company experiencing a change in popularity. Doing this can help you increase a prospect's interest in what value you can provide them.

Present creative solutions

As you make prospects more aware of their needs and concerns, you also want to offer opportunities to help them. For example, if you work in finance, you can schedule an individual for a seminar to help them address their budgeting issues. Similarly, if you're connecting with an employer, you can briefly discuss a strategy to help the company regain its popularity among customers.

Related: 7 Steps To Improve Your Creative Thinking Skills

Improve your elevator pitch

An elevator pitch is a brief, persuasive speech to increase a prospect's interest in your offer. Practice introducing yourself to a friend, family member, or colleague. Remember to end each elevator pitch with a call to action, which is a statement that encourages a prospect to act.

Read more: How To Give an Elevator Pitch (With Examples)

Call at a convenient time

Another way to improve your cold calling success is to call at the right time. You typically want to make phone calls in the morning of less busy workdays as many prospects tend to respond favourably during these periods. For example, if you're calling to inquire about job opportunities, you can consider Tuesdays or Wednesdays. Hiring managers and prospects often get busier as the day progresses, so you want to call at a convenient time to ensure they respond on your first call.

Focus on your objective for cold calling

Keep your conversations direct and remember the reason you decided to cold call an individual. For example, if a prospect mentions an interesting aspect about your company or skill, you may politely appreciate this and redirect the conversation back to why you called. Doing this ensures the conversation progresses as you intended.

Related: How to Write a Sales Script (With Template and Example)

FAQs about cold calling

Here are responses to common questions about cold calling a contact:

What is the difference between warm calling and cold calling?

Warm calling, or hot calling, is the process of communicating with potential customers you identified as good leads. In comparison, cold calling is the process of communicating with potential customers you had no contact with previously. Here are other differences between hot calling and cold calling:

  • Time investment: Cold calls typically require less time for preparation and research, unlike hot calling.

  • Relationship: If you made a cold call, you typically had no professional relationship with the lead, unlike hot calls.

  • Approach: When making a cold call, you typically need to present more information about yourself. In comparison, the lead already knows you when you're making a hot call.

  • Source of the lead: Individuals on your list for a hot call are typically people you met or connected with earlier. In comparison, your list of individuals for a cold call may be from databases or shared communities you haven't connected with before.

How long should a cold call last?

Cold calls can last for one minute to 15 minutes, depending on the prospect's eagerness to learn about the value you can provide. Ensure you monitor the prospect's responses to determine whether to continue with the conversation. For example, if you notice enthusiasm in their voice, you can politely inquire if you can tell them more about the product or service.

What should you do after a cold call?

After a cold call, you want to follow up with your prospects. Maintaining a professional relationship can help renew the prospect's interest in your offer. It can also help them remember you and take the required action.

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