Why is cold calling difficult? Is cold calling dead? How do you get your message across during calls with prospects? Kevin Dorsey, VP of Inside Sales at PatientPop Inc., breaks down the secrets and strategies of overcoming this task!
by Kevin Dorsey
(VP of Inside Sales, PatientPop Inc.)
Is Cold Calling Dead?
– No. But it is dying.
– Why? Anything left unattended, unfed, and
unnurtured will die.
– All prospecting channels are dying – they’re
getting harder and harder to do, which
means we need to focus on them more.
– Just because it’s more difficult now doesn’t
mean it doesn’t work.
– People caused cold calling to die because
they gave up on it too early.
Why Cold Calling is Hard
– Poor training. Many companies don’t give
good, proper training on how to cold call.
– Different buyers. Information is more
accessible now. Younger buyers also
prefer messages over phone calls and video
snippets over hour-long demos.
– Noise. More emails and LinkedIn messages.
Barely anyone calls.
– Misaligned Messaging.
– Timing and Luck. You need to get the
timing right to have your cold call answered.
– High Volume for Low* Results. One result
is better than zero. Two is better than one,
and three is better than two. There are
The Future Belongs to SMART Callers
– Because cold calling is hard, many people
won’t do it.
– Which leaves a massive opportunity for
those people who are willing and are able to.
We salespeople are here to do the hard part of the job.
– SalesLoft study: multi-channel approach is
91% more effective than a single-channel
The better you are at something, the less you have to do it.
If you don’t like cold calling, get better at it so you can do it less.
Key Cold Calling Metrics
– Connect Rate. For every 100 dials, how
many times do you connect?
– Conversion Rate. For every 10 connects,
how many can you get to agree to a meeting?
*Connect Rate & Conversion Rate will tell
you how many calls you need to make to get
a meeting. If your connect rate is 5%, you’ll
need to make 100 calls to get a meeting.
In sales, we do enough of something to
suck, but not enough of it to get results.
If you make 84, 88, 96 calls when your
conversion rate is 5%, then you did enough
cold calling for it to suck, but not enough to
– Activity Total. Before you write off whether
it’s working or not, are you doing enough to
see the results you’re looking for?
Metrics tell you where you need to focus.
“Sales is just a numbers game.”
– Yes. But skills are what drive the numbers.
Cold Calling Best Practices
There are certain things that have been proven to work better.
– Tonality. How you sound in the call.
– Preparedness and Relevance. Are you
prepared to make that call and do you have
relevant information to share?
– Permission-based and Questions.
– Frequency. Building awareness to your
prospect. The frequency of seeing your name
and number increases the chances of your
call getting answered.
– Timing and Consistency. Be intentional with
your timing and switch it up to find those
– Messaging trumps everything. If you get your
prospect on the phone, but your messaging is
bad, nothing else will matter.
– Your messaging needs to be about the
problems you solve not your product.
The Ultimate Sales Machine by Chet Holmes
– People don’t care about your product. People
care about the problems you can solve. Your
messaging needs to mirror this.
– How do you know their problems? You ask
questions. BUT if you know your buyer
persona well, you should know what
problems they’re strongly likely to have.
– What are the 3 core problems that your
– How you sound drives everything. Since they
can’t see you, they’ll read you based off how
you sound in the call.
– Intro: Lost in the City. You sound like you’re
someone who needs help
– Your questions.
– Might make sense – value prop. With what
you gathered from your questions, offer what
might make sense to your prospect.
– Excited to help – call to action. Most
important. Master this, and you’ll be so
Speaking the Prospect’s Language
Salespeople say things no one else says.
– Most cold callers sound like cold callers.
– Use the language the customer does.
– Talk to 50 customers, record the calls, ask
1. Why did you buy? (Your value prop)
2. What problems were you hoping to solve?
3. What were you afraid of before buying?
4. What’s your favorite parts?
5. What’s changed the most?
(Micro stories and micro testimonials)
6. How would you describe what we do?
After the intro, ask 2-3 gap questions.
Gap Questions expose holes/gaps in their current process and are built around the problems you solve.
– Sells without selling and builds curiosity.
Example: How are you ___ so that ___ doesn’t happen?
– Give 3 core leads with the tone of thinking
“Oh no! Scripts are awful!”
– Not true. You should have a script.
– It’s not the script’s fault if it doesn’t sound
good. It’s up to us to make it sound good.
– Gameplan for your calls. Provides structure
and serves as a guide.
– It’s your job to make the scripts come alive.
Intro Scripting – KPIC
– Problem for Persona
– Call to Action
[Know] Hey, KD! It’s Bob from SuperBiz. I
read/saw/heard/spoke to ___
[Problem] A lot of X are dealing with A, B, C
[Impact] Causing X, Y, Z
[Call to Action] Could I ask/Does that sound
like/Have you figured this out already?
Objection Handling – 8 Mile
8 Miling is the art of getting ahead of the objection. (From the 2002 Eminem movie)
– If there is a very common objection you get,
say it first.
– It takes the sting away, builds trust, keeps you
– Most people fold when faced with objections.
– I know you weren’t expecting this call
– I know you hate cold calls
– I know you’re already using somebody
– I know you’re not interested yet
– Take the objection away and keep in control.
“What do you do?” Objection
– The objection we fail the most because we
start talking about our product
– The usual formula:
You know how…? (Relevant problem/story)
That can cause X, Y, Z?
We help solve that for the right people.
It might not make sense for you.
How are you dealing with X right now?
– Keep that ask ready to keep that conversation
Dealing with Rejection
Ways to deal with rejection better:
– Meditation & gratitude. Helps control
– Quick physical movement. Get up and
– Share & laugh. Point out what you did
wrong and grow. Laugh through it and make
light of the situation.
– Watch something funny on
– Remember: if they’re declining help, you
can’t feel as bad about that.
They’re rejecting the help, they’re not rejecting you or your product.
Practice More than You Play
– You should be practicing daily.
– 10-15min. at a minimum
– High repetition and chunking
– You only get one shot when you get that
prospect on, you have to be ready.
The best practice on purpose, the rest practice on prospects.
Don’t be the rest, be the best.
– Cold* calling would be almost completely
gone in the next 5-10 years.
– Calling will be more dynamic and behavior-
based. You are calling people because of what
they’ve done. No more static Day 2, Day 5
– Calling the right people at the right time
because they did something.
– Emails warm up calls. Calls warm up emails.
Calls and emails work 100% in tandem.
– More of an outbound marketing approach.
– Cold calling can be your competitive
– Cold callers will be the Navy Seals of the
– Make sure you’re doing enough of it.
– Master the problems and language of the
– Questions help you sell.
– Practice more than you play.
– Have some fun!