If you Google “cold calling”, you’d be forgiven for thinking it’s dead, an ancient marketing method which has gone the same way as dinosaurs and door-to-door encyclopedia sales. But even in today’s virtual world, the obituary for cold calling is premature.
Cold calling is one of the toughest and most dreaded aspects of doing business. However, when done right, it can be an effective and powerful sales tool.
A DiscoverOrg study of 1,000 executives, from small and medium-sized businesses to Fortune-ranked companies, found that nearly 75 per cent of decision-makers have attended an event or taken an appointment that came from a cold call or email.
While increasing attention has been placed on social media, search engine optimization and blogging to generate leads, the findings make a case for the effectiveness of the good old-fashioned method of picking up the phone. Of course, there are numerous studies which point to the failures of cold calling, often quoting a success rate of just 1 to 3 per cent.

But the reason most cold calls fail is simply because they’re done wrong.

From failing to properly target prospects, calling at the wrong time to diving in without a script, there are numerous reasons why your cold calls can bomb. Cold calling is an art you need to master and a valuable skill that can pay off.

Here are 5 tips that will boost your cold call success rates.

1. Research your markets and prospects
Target your cold calling to the right audience. Use market research to focus on your target market and do your homework on each person or company, whether it’s a Google search or through LinkedIn. Learn about your prospect’s business needs and tailor your pitch.
2. Know what you want to say
Have a script. Your opening statement should include a greeting and introduction, a reference to the prospect, the benefits of your product or service and a transition to a question or dialogue. Write out possible objections and your answers. Ask questions and gather information. The goal is to develop a pitch that doesn’t sound like you’re reading from a script.
3. Use specifics when closing
Instead of asking, “Can we meet to discuss this further sometime?”, ask “Would Thursday 9am be a good time to meet?” This encourages prospects to meet with you, while the first question encourages responses such as, “Let me think about it”.
4. Know when to call
The best days of the week to cold call businesses are Wednesday or Thursday, while Tuesday is the worst. The best time to cold call is between 8 and 10am and 4 and 5pm.
5. Be persistent
Statistics show that 80 per cent of prospects say “no” four times before they say “yes”, whereas 44 per cent of sales representatives give up after their first attempt. Be sure to follow up and persevere.
Cold calling isn’t dead. You just need to do it in a smarter way.