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Cold Calling Tips from the Best SDRs in the World

News of cold calling’s demise has been greatly exaggerated. For SDRs, it’s still an incredibly powerful first step toward building lasting and quota-crushing relationships with prospective leads. 

But it has to be done well, and it’s not easy to master. Check out these cold calling tips from some of today’s top SDRs to up your game:

Daniel Disney
Speaker, trainer, author

Fear of rejection is what holds back 99 percent of people when it comes to cold calling. Not only does it hold people back, but those that do make calls and have that fear end up sounding nervous on the call.The key is to become comfortable with rejection. Embrace it, don’t fear it. The worst thing that can possibly happen on a cold call is they’re not interested — so what?! Pick up the phone and try the next one.

Ben Smith
Development Team Manager, ReachDesk

If someone leaves a call with concerns, they’ll amplify over time. They’re going to speak to their friends and draw their own conclusions. It’s like selling: you want to address reservations so people leave the call with 100 percent clarity. Ask the candidate if they have any potential reservations before the call ends. Don’t let a high performer leave the call with any red-flags unaddressed.

Lindy Drope
SDR, Teamflow

Be level with people and talk to them like you’re chatting with a friend. It’s hard for people to be jerks to someone who’s their friend. 

Charlotte Johnson (Via YouTube)
SDR, Salesloft 

My goal from a cold call is to set up an additional 10-15 minutes to see if this is a fit…I don’t need to book an hour slot after a call. I just need to find out a little bit of information as step one. And then secondly, my cold call isn’t necessarily to book them. If I can book them, it’s only for a short time period. After realizing that, I started to have so much fun with it and my personality would come through and I’d just be a lot more natural and not overthink elements. I thought, “If this person doesn’t pick up, if they hang up or they’re not interested, it doesn’t matter because I don’t need to book this person.”

Alex Alleyne
SaaS Sales Leader, Elite Level

Your focus on a cold call should be to reference one key benefit that aligns to the persona you’re speaking to and how it has driven value for customers like them. That’s it. It is important to limit this stage because you need to create a sense of curiosity and excitement. You want the person on the other to wonder how you’re able to drive that benefit, what is different, special and unique about your solution that enables this.

Sarah Brazier
Account Executive, Gong

What to say if someone you call is in a meeting: “Does it make sense for me to tell you why I called and then you can tell me if I should even bother to give you a call back?” And everyone’s like, “Fine, tell me why.” And then they talk to me for 15 minutes!

Tom Boston
Brand Awareness Manager, Salesloft

Complete honesty is so refreshing for prospects that it can be used as a tool to break down barriers and enable you to have better conversations. Prospects are so used to sellers avoiding selling that if you lean into the sales process and embrace it, it's like a breath of fresh air. Here are some of the honest phrases that worked for me:

  • “Yes, this is a sales call and I'd love you to be a future customer.”
  • “Yes, I am a salesperson and I'm contacting you because I'm so intrigued by what you do.”
  • “Yes, I'm building some rapport with you now so you'll be more likely to buy from me.”

Kyle Coleman
SVP of Marketing, Clari

Four steps to better cold calling

  1. Leave a voicemail. Direct them to an email you’re sending or will send shortly, mention your name, have a POV on what matters to them.
  2. Send an email. It should have a one-word subject line, show more about the POV you included in the voicemail and tell them when you’ll be calling back.
  3. Send another email. Thread it to your initial voicemail email but use a new subject line. Tell them when you’re planning to call, but also ask if there’s a time that works better for them. And ensure they know the conversation will be short.
  4. Call back on time. Be prepared to showcase your full POV on what matters to them.

Kyle’s full guide, with examples, can be found here.

Sam Nelson
Founder, SDRLeader.com

Tone communicates a lot without taking any extra time. So if you feel like your tone is a little off, you can improve it and make a big difference in your cold calling without having to change much about what you’re actually saying or having to expend time or energy on other experimental things. 

It’s not like there’s only one tone that’s going to work for you, but I'm going to give you one that works extremely well for everyone. And that is a comfortable conversation with a close friend. It’s a little bit different for everyone, but the great thing about it is that every person has had this experience — unless you’ve never had a friend. So when you’re talking on the phone, you can actually check yourself and ask, Is this how I talk comfortably with a close friend? 

Amy Volas
Strategic Advisor, Avenue Talent Partners

The best cold callers (and cold emailers) know 80 percent of their success comes from the homework they do to warm themselves up ahead of time before they ever reach out. Things that inform them and help them ask intelligent questions, so they can have a meaningful conversation.

You need to start your cold calling prep by finding a relevant, business-critical insight that allows you to start a meaningful conversation with them quickly. Something that catches their attention but is also emotionally compelling, intellectually interesting, and value-added to them, not you. You can do this in any number of ways, and you don’t need endless hours or a prior engagement. Here are some of my favorites:

If you can find a relevant and compelling data point in any of these areas, you’ve got the foundation to start a conversation.

Ok, you’ve heard from the cold calling experts. Now it’s time to give their tips a try for free on Teamflow’s virtual sales floor. The more you dial, the more you’ll smile!