B2B Cold Calling Made Easy

Cold calling for Business-To-Business sales is one of the most misunderstood opportunities for salespeople. Quite often anymore it feels like a tool that no one even has, or if they do, they don’t know how to use it. Many salespeople like to think that emails were the long-awaited coffin nail for actually picking up the phone. So now a wave of passive-aggressive sales tactics has washed ashore mediocre salespeople to flop around on the beach. I say flopping around because email oftentimes is a choice of quantity over quality for cold calling as we flop our message around the internet. Don’t get me wrong, emails can be very effective and they certainly have their place in the sales process, but despite what your open rates tell you, you don’t really know what’s going on in terms of how your message is received. 


All that said, salespeople most often overcomplicate cold calling when using the telephone. This is because they either forgot or don’t know the primary purpose of a B2B cold call using the phone. Don’t believe me? Just ask your salesperson, what is the desired outcome of the initial phone call? It is not to sell something or even to discuss your product or service at length. In fact, it’s much easier and simpler than that. The goal is to get the meeting. That’s it. The more direct and purpose-driven you can be with that goal in mind, the more you will improve the results of your cold call. But let me give you a play-by-play of a simple and effective B2B cold call using your phone. There’s also a sample conversation as well.


    1. ‘Did I call you at a bad time?’ – This is by far the best opener you can use. The prospect will always say ‘yes’ (which you want them to get in the habit of doing) and will immediately follow that with, “what’s this about”. They just gave you permission to sell without being aware that they did so. You’re off to a good start.
    2. ‘I assumed this was a bad time to call’ – No need to apologize, but let them know that the only reason why you called was to schedule a meeting with them to discuss how your product or service may be beneficial to them. 
    3. Head for the goal – Remember, every part of this brief conversation has to be to get the meeting. You won’t have a lot of time, so don’t go into a deep dive about what you’re offering and why it is so great. 
    4. Keep it brief – As I said, you already know you called at a bad time, so don’t disrespect the prospect by using this opportunity as your meeting. Answer any questions she or he may have and keep the conversation focused on getting the meeting.
  • ‘Can you think of any reason not to meet with me?’ – This is the best way to get a commitment. If they offer an objection then be sure to work through the problem, but if they said ‘no’ to this question, then they just said ‘yes’ to a meeting. Schedule it.
  • Always ask twice – Don’t be discouraged if they decline the offer to meet the first time. Empathize with their objection and ask at least one more time. You’ll be surprised how many times a ‘no’ becomes a ‘yes’. Persistence is powerful. 


Here’s a sample of how the phone call should go for you:

Salesperson – ‘Hi (customer) my name is (name) from (company). Did I catch you at a bad time?’


Prospect – ‘Yes you did. What’s this about?’


Salesperson – ‘I figured this would be a bad time, but that’s why I wanted to give you a quick call. I have been helping companies like yours to (reduce costs, increase profits, find more customers, improve efficiencies, recruit new talent, etc.). I wanted to schedule a 15-minute meeting with you next week to learn more about you and share what we are doing for our clients. Could we schedule a meeting for next Tuesday at 2:00 PM?’


Prospect – ‘Tuesdays are never good for me. What do you mean that you can (reduce costs, increase profits, find more customers, improve efficiencies, recruit new talent, etc.)?


Salesperson – ‘Well, basically we (*use one or two sentences to describe what you do) but I would need a little more time to really explain how this would work for you. Would Wednesday be better for you?’ 


Prospect – ‘I’m not sure this is something I would be interested in.’


Salesperson – ‘You know, all my best clients said that to me when I first met them. Let’s have a 15-minute conversation next week and, after that, if you decide this isn’t for you, I’ll respect that. But I have a feeling that there is something valuable for you and, at the very least, you can learn some of the options that you have. Can you think of any reason not to meet with me next Wednesday?’


Prospect – ‘No. I am very busy, but we can talk for 15 minutes. Let’s set an appointment for 10:30 AM. 

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