The Year (or the Death?) of the Cold Call: 6 Tips for Setting Appointments in 2019

Maybe you’ve found it harder to connect with prospects on the phone in recent months (or years). Maybe it’s been a while since you set an appointment with a cold call. Maybe you’ve read about how email, social, and SEO are where it’s at these days.

Or maybe you just don’t like cold calling.

Whatever the reason, you may be wondering: is cold calling finally dead?

You’re not the only one asking that question… but the answer may surprise you. Here are a few excerpts from recent articles about cold calling:

“People keep saying cold calling is dead, but many successful businesses rely on cold calling to drive revenue. Whether they're Fortune 500 companies or high-growth startups, they all have sales reps eagerly dialing numbers day in and day out. But if you're still doing cold calling like it's 1995, you might as well not do it at all.” —

“These days, many reps are more comfortable sending an automated email than picking up the phone. But... it's worth identifying whether the phone is even the best way to follow up with leads today. That answer is ‘Yes.’ A recent study by sales pro Marc Wayshak shows the phone is still the best tool in selling, with 41.2% of respondents naming their phone as their most effective sales tool.” — HubSpot

“I've talked to so many people about this recently. There's no debate: it's empirical based on the conclusive 2016 feedback I've received: The top reps are still calling.” —

You’ll still find some who question the value of cold calling. Of course, cold calling really is dead if you never pick up the phone—and that makes it easier for those of us who know cold calling is alive and well.

Still, the cold calling landscape has changed. Here are 3 new challenges and opportunities for cold calling in 2019 (along with 3 things that will always be fundamental to your cold calling success):

What’s New in 2019:

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1. Voicemail is King

Prospects are deluged with incoming information—emails, texts, tweets, phone calls. Caller ID is ubiquitous. Traditional “gatekeepers” are less and less common. That means prospects screen calls more than they used to, and send a lot more of them to voicemail.

Be ready—develop and use a voicemail script that gives you the best chance of a callback.

2. Peer-to-Peer Calling is Easier

Corporate hierarchies have flattened over time, and decision-makers are less likely to prejudge a call based on the caller’s perceived position. Use that dynamic to your advantage, and treat your prospect’s as peers. Be professional and respectful, but also have confidence that what you’re offering has as much value for your prospect as what you would get in return.

3. Cold Calling is “Smart Calling”

Like everything else in 2019, cold calling has become “smart,” with tools that make it more efficient and effective. But “smart” calling is about more than just high-tech tools—it’s a philosophy. Resolve to make the most efficient use of your cold calling time in 2019 with these key tips.

What’s Not New in 2019:

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1. Phones Still Work—Use Them

With prospect interactions shifting away from the phone and toward email, text, and social, it’s easy to lose sight of one important fact: you can still use phones to call people.

Successful sales hunters avail themselves of every opportunity to connect with prospects, and use different channels (phone, email, networking) in tandem to maximize leads and keep their funnels full.

When you view your sales strategy as a comprehensive whole rather than a mere sum of its parts, it’s easy to see that cold calling still has a prominent role to play.

2. The “Golden Rule” of Cold Calling

Cold call unto others as you would have them cold call unto you. Be direct. Don’t waste time. Focus on what’s important to your prospect. Offer value and honesty—even if that means you’ll never do business with a prospect. That’s what you’d want from a cold caller, so that’s what you should offer as a cold caller.

3. Call the Right Prospects

For as long as cold calling has existed, its success has depended on one thing above all others: working from a list of high-value prospects. Cold calling really is dead when you fail to target prospects who might actually buy from you. And the better the list, the better the results.

Business Wise users can discover (or get a refresher on) how to build a robust, focused call list at our in-person Essential Skills Training class.

If you’re not already a Business Wise user, take the first step toward a list of your best local prospects with our Prospect Finder.