If You Think Cold Calling Sucks, It's Probably Because You're Doing It Wrong

Call calling sucks, you hear it everywhere. But… Maybe because you’re doing it wrong? Let’s find out in this article why people think it sucks and what you can do to improve your skills.
Benard Kiplangat
Benard Kiplangat

Content Writer

Reading time: 11 minutes

The rise of advanced communication technologies has made cold calling a more convenient and efficient method for lead generation. In fact, businesses that don’t cold call experience 42% less growth than those that do. 

But even though cold calling isn’t as time-consuming as it used to be, many sales professionals still think that cold calling sucks. 

But why?

With statistics revealing that prospects are still very receptive to cold calls, the hatred towards cold calling isn’t because of the low-pay offs. It’s most likely because you’re doing it wrong

After all, if you suck at cold calling, cold calling will suck. This can be said the same with pretty much everything! 😅 

That said, let’s dive deeper into why people hate cold calling and tips on how you can make it work for you to close more deals. 


15 reasons why cold calling sucks and how to fix it

Your expectations are too high

Naturally, the end goal of every single one of your cold calls should be a close. But a close doesn’t necessarily have to be a sale or a scheduled demo of your tool. 

If you want a 100% conversion rate, then get ready to be utterly disappointed. Cold calling is not a numbers game, it’s a quality-over-quantity type of situation to ensure you get the results you want.

That’s not to say you should have low expectations — but studies have shown that sales reps can make an average of 45 business calls per day, but the number of their daily quality conversions is 5.1 calls.

So if you set extremely high and unrealistic standards, chances are you’ll think that cold calling is high-effort but low-payoff, which will make you hate cold calling for wasting your time. 😂

💡 The fix: Based on your past cold calling performance, set realistic standards and even consider focusing on the right metrics.

For example, if ‘conversion rate’ seems unachievable, focus on the ‘contact rate’ or ‘follow-up rate’ instead. Having realistic targets can help you stay motivated and actually push you to strive for more. 

You take rejection personally

No one likes rejection — even if you’re a rookie sales rep or a veteran sales professional, rejection remains among the top reasons sales reps shun cold calling like the plague. 

Even top performers find it challenging to constantly accept rejections and move on. 

However, rejection is common in the cold calling world. It’s important to note that not every person on the other end of the line will be interested in what you have to say or what your product or service is. 

And, it’s also important to note that someone turning you down for your product is not a reflection on you. It’s simply their decision, and there are most likely many other people out there who will be interested in what you’re selling.

💡 The fix: Easier said than done, but you have to embrace rejection and face it head on. Try to understand why the prospect said ‘no’. This can help you put yourselves in the shoes of your prospect and better understand your prospect’s needs and wants. 

Maybe they’re saying no because they don’t have the budget for it? Or they’re not in need of your product right now? Whatever the reason may be, note this down and such pointers can help you when prospecting for new leads. 

You do everything manually

Ringing people requires that you do a lot of repetitive tasks like dialing their numbers into your phone system. While this seems manageable if it’s a few calls, you’ll start to feel the pain if you have hundreds of prospects to call.

And that’s not all. 

After dialling your prospect’s number, you’d still need to wait for the phone to ring. If your prospect picks up and hears you out, you’d have to schedule the next follow-up call, track each prospect’s stage of the sales cycle….

Anyway, you get where we’re going. This can take up a lot of your time and can be extremely overwhelming. 

💡 The fix: If you’re constantly making many cold calls, it’s wise to invest in a tool that will help make the process more efficient. This can improve the sales productivity of your reps and generate more leads in the long run. 

Invest in an outbound call software like Novocall that provides advanced features to support your cold calling efforts. Some features include an autodialer, call recording, lead routing, and in-depth reporting.

You call at the wrong time

Cold calling is tough because you’re essentially making a call to your prospects without their knowledge.

It’s common to call them at the wrong time — when they’re in the middle of a meeting, busy picking the kids up from school, or just enjoying their break at home. This can certainly annoy your prospect and the chances of them rejecting you would be close to 100%.

💡 The fix: While it’s impossible to predict just what your prospects are doing every time you decide to call, studies have shown that there are some best times to cold call

the best times to cold call

According to four studies, the best time to cold call would be from 10 am to 11 am, 2 pm to 3 pm, and 4 pm to 5 pm. This seems logical because call connection rates dip after 11 am as people are leaving for lunch and again after 4 pm as people are preparing to wrap up their days.

the best days to cold call

In the same four studies, they’ve concluded that the best days to cold call are weekdays, Tuesdays to Thursdays. 

However, do note that different businesses have different best days and times to cold call, so it’s important to do your research. The studies presented are only for SaaS businesses.

You’re not talking to the right person

answer, and instead, someone else picked up on their behalf. 

This is an extremely common occurrence where you have to deal with someone coming between you and the prospect in your calls. These people can be referred to as ‘gatekeepers’, also known as executive assistants, receptionists, or office managers, and are trained to keep cold callers at bay.

💡 The fix: While there’s no magical formula to get past gatekeepers and pitch to your prospect, here are some tips to keep in mind:

  • Do not simply dismiss the gatekeeper. Be respectful and build trust with them.
  • Be honest and tell them why exactly you’re calling.
  • Don’t try to sell to the gatekeeper as they’re not the intended audience and you’ll just waste their time (and yours).
  • Don’t demand to speak to your prospect.
  • If the gatekeeper is persistent, navigate your way around and call your prospect’s colleagues or try a different department. 

You can’t handle objections

So you’ve got your prospect on the line, you’re having a good chat and they seem interested. But they throw you off guard with an objection and you’re not ready to handle it. You can’t find a suitable answer and you just end the call, even though you knew you were so close.

Well, does this scenario sound familiar to you? Chances are, you’ve gone through that before. 

And just like rejection, it’s more common than you think it is for people to object or question you. 

If you’re not prepared to handle any objections coming your way, you’ll just be fumbling and scrambling to answer them. Of course, you won’t see any results from your cold calling efforts this way.

💡 The fix: Prepare some possible counters your prospect might have and your answers to them. It’s also important to be flexible and adapt to their objections, but having a script can be extremely helpful in guiding you. 

Check out our full list of cold calling objections and how you can answer them!

You follow your script like a robot

If you’re reading your script monotonously and just going through the motion, you’ll sound robotic and unprofessional. Nothing would land you a sale in that state!

Reading off the script will only tell the prospect that you’re not sure of what you’re saying, and that you have to follow your template word-for-word. 

We’re pretty sure that you’d hang up if someone tried to sell you something without even sounding convincing 🤦

💡 The fix: Your script should act like a checklist or guide to remind yourself to mention the key points in the call. After all, cold calling can be daunting and having a script to fall back on can reassure you. 

In essence, you can use a script, just don’t act like you’re using it. Be as natural as possible and consciously use your own words.

And most importantly, be able to adapt quickly to changes depending on how the conversation flows and tailor each conversation to the prospect.

You’re not thoroughly prepared for the call

If you fail to plan, you plan to fail. 

This is a famous saying because it’s true! Cold calling is daunting and if you’re not prepared before the call, you’ll be overwhelmed with all that’s happening — the rejection, the questions, the script… 

But the worst part is if you know little to nothing about your prospect. What’s their industry? What are their pain points? Who am I calling? Are they the decision maker? Knowing all these details about your prospect can help you steer the conversation in your favour. 

💡 The fix: Prepare yourself before the call — and we don’t mean just preparing a script of things that you want to say. 

Start off with doing in-depth research about your prospect. You need to use any background information you have on a lead to personalize your approach during the call. This will improve the buy-in from prospects and will make it sound as though you’ve dedicated time and effort to solve their problems. 

Then, prepare for possible scenarios that could happen during the call. Ask your peers about some common situations they’ve encountered, or cross-check with your CRM regarding past clients. 

Don’t forget to prepare yourself mentally for rejections or any impolite prospects. Remember, whatever rejections or rude prospects you face, it’s not a reflection on you. 

You try to close too early on

You have to remember that when you cold call, your prospect knows nothing about you or your business’ products or services. So, it’s extremely unlikely that they have no intention of buying what you’re selling before the call. 

That said, if you’re trying to close too early on, you’ll come off as pushy and forceful, and will result in prospects outright rejecting you. Who wants to be forced to buy something they’ve learned about a few seconds ago? 

💡 The fix: The key here is to be gentle while still offering the chance of a lucrative one-call sale. 

For example, if you’re selling an educational course, you might state something like this: “Well, it’s great to hear you’re excited about ‘X’. It sounds like you are ready to get started. I can send you an email to give you a chance to look through it in your own time, or I can just enroll you over the phone now?” 

You still give the prospect the option to sign up and you’re not trying to force them to buy from you. 

You’re talking too little

While this might come as a surprise, successful cold calls have a longer average monologue duration of 37 seconds, compared to only 25 seconds for unsuccessful calls.

During your call, if there are too many long awkward pauses you should lead the conversation instead of waiting for your prospect to say something. After all, you’re the one with more knowledge about your product and service, and you were the one who initiated the call. 

Research shows that successful cold calls have reps talking more than their prospects — the optimal talk-to-listen ratio is 55:45%

As long as you’re not rambling on about information irrelevant to your prospects’ problems and your product or service, don’t be afraid to have longer monologues.

💡 The fix: Make sure to expand your script when talking about important points such as how your product or service can help them or when you’re finding out more information about your prospect. Areas you can cut down on would be your introduction and the features of your product or service. 

Of course, while it’s okay to have longer monologues, don’t be the only one talking. You should not forget to give your prospects time to speak their minds too.

You don’t sound confident

People trust people who know what they’re talking about. 

If you don’t sound confident, your prospects can easily tell that you’re unsure about the call, your product or service, or even about the prospects themselves. Stuttering is also a common tell-tale sign you’re nervous and aren’t confident enough to speak to a stranger.

This can make you seem terribly unprofessional and of course, would not land you that follow-up call.

💡 The fix: Know your product inside and out. Be ready for any questions your prospects might have, and practice your pitch before the call. This way, you won’t be caught off guard and stammer during the call.

You don’t actively listen to your prospects

Just like how you don’t want to sound robotic by just following your script, you also don’t want to be clinging to the script and following it word-for-word without listening to your prospects.

Active listening allows you to better understand your prospect and gives you access to important information that should be recorded clearly on your CRM software for any follow-up calls. 

Effective active listening will help you build rapport, give you a stronger phone presence, and might give you the information you need to successfully pitch your product or service.

Furthermore, keeping your ear out and listening to how the prospect speaks allows you to mirror the way they talk. This can make it easier for you to persuade them to make the purchase.

💡 The fix: Depending on the context of your industry, use all your market knowledge to ask questions and gather information about your prospect’s position in that market. This will help you find out if they’re a good fit for your business and will help you flaunt some of the credible industry knowledge you’ve gathered.

You don’t build enough trust

Customers don’t want to be sold to, they want you to help them buy.

This is why many cold calls don’t end up a sale because sales reps focus too much on the call and the end results instead of building trust with their prospect

After all, people do business with people they trust. 

By building rapport with your prospects, they will be more willing to hear your pitch and initiate the conversation by asking questions. This will make them more receptive to follow-up calls and would make the deal easier to close. 

💡 The fix: Help your prospect instead of solely focusing on your features and benefits. This centers the conversation on the other person, not you. Use a consultative approach to build trust instead of being pushy and trying to shove your product in your prospect’s face. 

You don’t follow up with your prospect

The high rejection rates of cold calling can make it exhausting for sales reps when they repeatedly fail to close a deal. It’s not hard to understand why 44% of salespeople give up after one follow-up call not being successful.

We’re not advising you to harass your prospect with call after call, but persistence can help to increase conversion rates by up to 70%!

💡 The fix: Make sure to follow up with your prospect a few more times, and keep in mind the best times and days to make a cold call. You could even drop them an email before the call to check in and let them know you’ll be calling them in the next couple of days. 

Don’t wait for them to get in touch with you. The onus is on you to call them back. After all, you’re the one trying to sell to them, not vice-versa.

You’re not addressing your prospects by their name

If you’re doing all of the above correctly, and you’re still wondering why you’re not excelling at cold call — it’s probably because you’re not addressing your prospects by their name.

A study shows that our names are intrinsically linked to our self-perception and identity. That’s why we naturally become more engaged and trusting of a person when they address us by our names.

That said, it’s important to know your prospects’ names and the names of their business before reaching out to them. Addressing your prospect by their first name also makes the conversation more personalized and shows that you are trying to build a relationship with them.

💡 The fix: This is where proper research comes into play. If there’s one thing you should know about your prospect it should be their name. If you don’t know a prospect’s name before the call or need help pronouncing it, find out during the call. It shows that you want to know them better and are putting in the effort to do so.

So, does cold calling still suck?

And there you have it — 15 reasons why cold calling sucks and how you can fix it. 

Whether cold calling (still) sucks, you can’t deny that it is one of the most rewarding outbound lead generation strategies out there. 

Call calling sucks because you have to do a lot of waiting, handling objections, and dealing with gatekeepers, which is daunting. But if you put in the effort to change your cold calling habits, we’re sure you’ll change your mind about cold calling!

If you’re looking for an outbound call software to automate your cold calling, give Novocall a try today

Benard Kiplangat
Benard Kiplangat

Ben is a content writer at Novocall.

Subscribe to our blog

Get insights & actionable advice read by thousands of professionals every week.

Start driving better conversations.
Novocall will be your new favorite business phone system.