If you work in an outbound call center, you know how important it is to hone your skills and keep outperforming the competition. At the same time, you also know not to waste time with useless gimmicks and low-level advice that was written by AI in two seconds. 

What you need is cold-calling advice that’s tried, tested, vetted, and actually works. 

Try these on for size. 

Shadow The Best Rep for Half a Day

Shadowing the best agent in your call center can be insanely valuable, even if just for a few hours. Cold calling can be half science, half art, and while you can get the scientific, psychological, and strategic bits from articles, books, and certain professionals, you can’t always get the art bits. These are things you watch, learn, and even steal from the best. 

Find your company’s best-performing sales rep and see if you can shadow them for half a day. Offer to buy them lunch if you have to—it’ll be worth it down the line.  

By watching a high-performing agent take care of business, you’ll be able to pick up on big ideas and subtle lessons in a short period of time. This is the kind of learning that could take weeks of sales training, so pay attention and ask questions when you have clear openings to do so.

Set a “No” Goal

An old trick in the persuasion book says you need to get someone to start saying the word “yes” as soon as possible—because the more they say “yes” to your statements, the more likely it is they’ll say “yes” to your eventual offer.

However, as important as hearing a “yes” may be, hearing a “no” can be just as crucial. 

The idea of setting a “no” goal is to make sure you hear “no” so many times that it completely frees you from the fear of rejection. It helps you change your mindset so that failed sales attempts are not as demoralizing. 

As long as you’re not bogged down by hearing “no,” you’re closer to hearing a “yes.” 

Switch Products If You Need To

You can’t sell a BIC pen when you’re asked to market it as a gold-plated fountain pen. 

Knowing your product and believing in it are two of the most important elements of successful cold calling. In fact, up to 90% of your success can be determined by the quality of your offer. Are you selling something the market really wants, or is this product so niche in your mind that you can’t see yourself ever reaching your sales targets?

If your company is struggling from this point of view, you may end up getting the brunt of it each and every day. Sooner or later, you will probably burn out or lose your passion for sales. 

To get your swagger back, see if there’s another product your company sells that you can work on instead. If there isn’t, switch companies if you need to. The important thing is to make sure you’re actually excited about the solution you’re selling. Prioritizing this will do more for your career and income than anything you could do in your current role.

Test Your Script in Batches of 50

Like most cold-calling professionals, you probably have some scripts to follow. In most cases, these scripts start off as more modest, but as you go along, you will recognize the areas where you can make small, impactful changes.

To know if your changes are good, you have to try the modified script out in the wild. Our advice is to test it on at least 50 prospects before you draw any conclusions. Don’t be discouraged if it doesn’t work on the first few attempts—especially if it’s something you believe will work. Reevaluate after 50 or so tries, and move on to the next test based on your results. 

One thing to keep in mind here is that there is no magic associated with the number 50. Depending on your product, business, or industry, you may find that there’s a better threshold for determining if your changes are good or not. 

Write Down and Prep Objections

Imagine you have a potential customer’s full attention, they listen to your whole pitch, and then come back to you with objections. 

If any of these are repeat objections that you’ve encountered before (or think you’ll encounter again), take notes and try to form counterpoints in your own words. Once you have a detailed list of how you can respond to the most common objections you’ll face, it’ll be far easier for you to stay composed and keep the conversations going. 

Remember to be specific and very well organized about your plans for these objections—the more prepared you are, the more natural it will be for you to show how they shouldn’t get in the way of a sale.

When You Notice that You’re Hesitating, Dial

Cold calling can put you on a rollercoaster of both positive and negative emotions. Sometimes it can be exhilarating and uplifting, other times it can be stressful and make you want to quit. 

That said, if you’re hesitating to make calls, that means something is wrong and you’re not making as many calls as you should. Meanwhile, the only way you can make a sale is to make a call, so hesitating can have a severely detrimental impact on your performance and results. 

Do your best to be mindful about your hesitations, because it might just be self-sabotage that you can overcome with a few personal tricks and words of encouragement. 

But above all else, the best way to cure hesitation is to press the dial button. Simply put, there’s almost no way back once you’ve done so, and you’re most likely to fall back into a groove once you’ve done it. 

If you’re not sure what to say, make it a goal simply to introduce yourself and ask if they have a minute or two to talk about your product. Don’t even worry about getting a “yes” or a “no” yet. The important thing is to get back in the game. 

You Don’t Have to Talk Non-Stop

Nervousness and other preconceived notions about what a successful salesperson does might make you think you have to keep talking. However, there are two big reasons you shouldn’t:

  • You need to listen to your potential clients to build rapport and understand their pain points. That way, you can figure out how to angle your sales pitch so that your product sounds more appealing. 
  • Silence can be a great tactic. Strategic pauses after making a key point or before answering questions can be extremely powerful.

Using silence intelligently can be a way of showing your credibility and attention to detail. It also gives prospects more time to process the information you shared with them. Give them as much time as possible to speak about their pain points, challenges, and needs.

Focus on the Prospect, Not the Selling

Yes, your main goal is closing a deal, but always making everything about selling can be off-putting and overly transparent—even when someone is interested in your product. 

Instead, focus on your potential customers. Empathize with them, educate them, and build good rapport with them. Show them that you truly care about their problems, rather than just making a sale. 

This can help make people more comfortable and open to chatting with you—especially when your calls would otherwise be annoying. If they don’t buy from you now, having a good relationship with them might lead them to buy from you in the future or even refer you to someone else. 

Use Storytelling

Stories resonate with people because they grab our attention and feel more relatable than numbers, facts, and figures. 

Whenever you can, try to weave in a relevant story that illustrates your point, such as how your product or service helped another customer in a similar situation. This makes your pitch more engaging, and it also builds credibility and trust.

Of course, be careful not to overdo your storytelling, because the last thing you want to do is waste somebody’s time. Stick to short, impactful anecdotes that leave a lasting impression and showcase the value of your product in a meaningful way.

Great Selling Is All About Being Present

You can read all the blogs and prepare yourself for all possible scripts, but if you’re not present, you won’t be able to create the connection you need for a prospect to trust you. 

So be present, show you care, listen actively, and remember that you’re a resource for them to find a solution to one of their problems—not just some machine that recites stats and pre-written monologues.