5 Rules For Cold Calling That Save Time & Deliver More Appointments

Cold calling never works.

It’s a waste of time!

All I hear is, “not interested!”

I never set any appointments.

Why bother?

Sound familiar? You may be the victim of a common sales problem.

To discover a cold calling strategy that will deliver leads for your business, here’s a refresher on two key principles of biz-dev success:

  • Value your time
  • Provide value to your prospect

(You can read more about the “Time-Value” approach to sales here.)

Here’s the problem in a nutshell:

First, most sales reps cling to low-value leads much longer than they should. Second, reps too often behave as if “features and benefits” will save the day (they won’t).

In contrast, successful sales reps put a premium on their time by focusing on only their best prospects. What’s more, they foster stronger relationships because they focus on their prospect’s needs rather than their own.

To demonstrate how the “Time-Value” approach can be used to fuel a more successful biz-dev strategy, let’s return to cold calling.

Our guide on to The New Rules of Cold Calling offers 5 “rules” on how to set more appointments, faster:

cold calling rules.jpg

When you think about it, each of these rules is rooted one of the two “Time-Value” principles.

Time: Your List, Your Research & Your Nose for “No”


The first rule of successful cold calling is:

Start with a good list.

A good list is the ultimate time-management tool. When your starting point is a list of your best prospects—the ones most likely to benefit from what you offer—then, by definition, you’re already eliminating those time-wasting low-value leads from the equation.

Another rule says that research wastes time.

Once you’ve gained a general or basic understanding of your prospects and the challenges they face, there’s no need to continue researching until you after you set an appointment.

There are only so many hours in the week that you can devote to cold calling, and you want to spend as many of those hours on the phone talking to prospects.

The key is to research efficiently—profile your prospects according to categories, research common issues and challenges facing those groups, and organize your cold call list accordingly.

Finally, be ready to take “no” for an answer.

That might seem odd, but the ability to recognize a prospect who will never get to “yes” is critical for managing your time wisely.

Spend your phone time talking to qualified prospects—the ones most likely to meet with and buy from you.

Identify the pain triggers that apply to your selling situation. As soon as you sense that a prospect isn’t worth an investment of your time, move on. While you may eventually want to follow up, for now, she’s a “no”—and potential “yesses” are your top priority.

Value: Get Your Prospect Talking, Then Listen


The two remaining rules in our cold calling rulebook have to do with how to make your interactions more meaningful and valuable… for your prospect.

Why is that important? Because the only reason a prospect will ever talk to, meet with, or buy from you is if he believes doing so will help him solve his problems or address his priorities.

For example, rule number 3 says “don’t sell your product”—because your prospect doesn’t care about it (and because you’re not going to close a complex sale on a cold call anyway!).

Instead, sell the benefit of a no-strings-attached meeting. What ideas will he gain? What questions will you help him answer? What problems will you help him solve?

Our final rule tells you to scrap your old cold call script—that rigid, long, cliché-filled screed that bores your prospect to tears, or worse, insults their professionalism.

Forget about outdated introductions or gimmicky turns of phrase. Be curious. Treat your prospect as a human being and a professional equal. Talk with him, not at him. Most importantly, encourage him to verbalize his priorities, then listen to what he has to say.

If you’re interested in turning a demoralizing, lackluster cold call strategy into a more dynamic, efficient, engaging way to connect with prospects and set appointments, check out the following resources:

  • The New Rules of Cold Calling—5 updated rules you can follow to set more appointments, faster.

  • Cold Call Planner—take the first step toward a better list with this custom tool. Answer a few short questions about your biz-dev targets and priorities, then learn the number of good local prospects you can call on.

  • 6 Cold Call Scripts That Work—short, flexible, situational scripts to get your prospect talking.