Top 15 telemarketing tips to improve your cold calling

Cold calls are not going anywhere, so why not make it easy for yourself? In this article, we discuss the best telemarketing tips to improve your cold calling.
Picture of Nigel Seah
Nigel Seah

Digital Marketing Executive

Reading time: 8 minutes

Good ol’ telemarketing campaigns from outbound call centers aren’t going anywhere anytime soon!

70% of salespeople still connect with prospects and generate meetings over the phone.

Yet, making a successful call is easier said than done. And you’re not alone if you feel so. And as a SaaS company trying to reach out to people to sell our product, we get you!

But when done right, it can lead to a  shortened sales cycle and accelerate your sales processes.

This is exactly why we’ve compiled a list of the best telemarketing tips to help you improve your cold calling efforts.

But before that, let’s quickly examine what telemarketing really is.


What is telemarketing?

Telemarketing is the process of directly marketing your product or service via the telephone or internet. It does not, however, does not include direct emails.

It generally involves the use of outbound cold calls to reach out to leads. It is part of the “approach”, “qualify”, and “pitch” stages of sales cycles.

The best telemarketing tips

1. Clearly define your telemarketing goals

Before you even start thinking about anything else, be very specific about what you want to achieve.

The goal of your telemarketing campaign is will shape the way you conduct your outreach:

  • Tone of messaging
  • Channel of communication (social media messages, phone calls, emails etc)
  • Industry of target audience
  • Position/Job titles of target audience
  • Etc etc …

Once that has been clearly defined, you should move on to clearly define the next most important thing – who do you want to reach out to?

2. Conduct in-depth research on your personas

Before you even start conducting your outreach, you need to know clearly who you want to target. And to do that, you need to conduct in-depth persona research.

This would ensure that all your marketing and sales processes are aligned with the needs and preferences of your target buyer.

Say for example, if you intend to sell your product/service directly to C-suite executives, you may want to avoid sending messages in a more formal tone. Or maybe they don’t even want to be contacted via emails or LinkedIn!

In fact, 57% of C-suite executives prefer to be contacted via the phone instead of emails and text messages.

Once you have clearly defined your buyer personas, you should gain a much better understanding of where and how to reach out to them.

3. Treat your cold ❄️, warm ☀️, and hot 🔥 leads differently

Now that you’ve categorized your leads based on job title, industry, and preferred channel of communication etc, it’s time to further finetune your categorization.

Differences between cold, warm and hot calls.

Cold, warm, and hot leads differ based on how much the lead has ‘warmed up’ to your company. Hotter leads tend to be more familiar with your company and have interacted with you in one way or another in the past. For example, they may have praised your content on your social media page. Or perhaps they have already subscribed to your blog.

Hotter leads also tend to be more willing and are more ready to make the purchase.

This form of categorization helps you personalize the tone of your approach when conducting your telemarketing campaign.

For instance, when approaching cold leads, it’s best to avoid selling your product/service right from the start. Instead, focus more on building the relationship and the trust in your business can develop.

💡 Read more: Cold calls, warm calls, hot calls: what’s the difference?

4. Come prepared with a script

Telemarketing campaign goal ✔️

Clearly defined buyer personas ✔️

Can you start now? NOPE 🙅‍♀️🙅‍♀️🙅‍♀️

Ever hear of the iconic saying “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail”? Even when conducting outbound cold outreach, come prepared.

Of course, that’s not to say that you should think of every possible scenario of how the conversation will go. That’s impossible. It also doesn’t mean that you need to memorize a script word-for-word.

This simply means that you should come up with a skeleton of the things you want to say. In terms of preparing for possible scenarios, you can always ask your peers about some of the most common situations they encounter when they conduct their telemarketing campaigns.

Check out some examples of cold call scripts we prepared for the insurance and real estate industries 👇👇👇

💡 Read more: 8 best cold calling scripts for insurance agents
💡 Read (even) more: 12 real estate cold call scripts that agents need

5. Avoid the worst timings to call

Here’s another quick telemarketing tip. Don’t call at timings when people are least likely to pick up.

Ask yourself this. As an employee, when do you least want to receive a cold call? Chances are, many others will have a similar answer to yours.

The best times to make cold calls are between 10 am and 11 am in the morning, and between 3pm and 4pm in the afternoon.

In fact, a comparative analysis of the best times to cold call we conducted revealed that the best timings are between 10 am and 11 am, as well as 3 pm and 4 pm.

Essentially, avoid early mornings when people may still be grouchy, midday when people are having lunch, and evenings when people are preparing to knock off.

6. Use the right tone

You could say all the right words, but if your tone of voice doesn’t match, then you’re not going to make the sale.

CEO of Steli Efti said that your tone can determine the success of your call at a staggering rate of 93%. Yes, that’s right, 93 % 😲

Simply put, you can’t afford to use the wrong tone.

You also have to sound confident. If you’re bored, your prospects can tell and they probably won’t be inclined to buy. After all, if you, the person selling the products, can’t be enthusiastic, why should they?

It’s also best to sound assured and strong but not too pushy. There’s no room for aggression in cold calling.

7. Don’t do all the talking

Successful cold calls last an average of 5 mins 50 s, while unsuccessful ones last 3 min 14 s.

But this doesn’t mean that spending more time on the phone equates to higher rates of selling. It really depends on the things discussed in the call.

Perhaps the call lasted long because the sales rep was engaging and had interesting topics to discuss. Perhaps the call lasted longer because the sales rep used more case studies.

During that short call, a great telemarketing tip is to also allow the lead to talk and learn more about their business needs. Ideally, the talk-to-listen ratio for a successful cold call is 55%:45%.

Remember that your prospect is an individual, not just another number in a long line of leads.

8. Speak in an open-ended manner

You know how much your tone matters, but what you say is almost as important.

Particularly, the way you ask questions can sometimes be the factor determining whether or not the prospect gives you useful information.

You want to focus on asking questions in an open-ended way.

Asking yes/no questions only provides you with, well, yeses and nos. While they’re not completely useless, they’re not able to provide you with in-depth insights into your prospects’ needs.

Try peppering in a few more open-ended questions next time you talk to a prospect. Even if you don’t get the sale, you’ll be impressed with how much more info you glean.

9. Persistence is key, follow-up!

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.

That being said, giving up just after one call is just too soon. We’re not advising you to harass a prospect with constant calls, but follow-up a few more times.

Quick telemarketing tip. Persistence helps increase conversion rates by up to 70%!

Persistence helps increase conversion rates by up to 70%

You must be in touch with the prospect before they disappear from the sales funnel.

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.

10. Record your calls and learn from them

A great telemarketing tip here is to record your calls. And many outbound dialing software allows you to do that.

Novocall's outbound dialer allows you to record your telemarketing calls

Novocall’s outbound dialer allows you to customize your call campaign settings so that you can record your calls.

This allows you to re-listen to the entire conversation and pinpoints any areas of improvement that you can make for subsequent telemarketing campaigns.

11. Practice makes perfect

What if you’ve tried this whole cold calling thing and you’re just not good at it?

Keep practicing. You know the saying that practice makes perfect, and it is true in this instance. The more you speak with people on the phone, the faster your nerves will dissipate.

As time passes, you’ll naturally become less nervous about cold calling prospects.

It’s important to bear in mind that even the most successful salespeople have faced many rejections from prospects throughout their careers. Countless, if I daresay.

Instead of taking rejection personally, make every rejection an opportunity to get introspective. Take some time to think about the reasons for your rejection and work on improving your sales pitches.

12. Take notes during the calls

Don’t just talk during calls.

It is also important to write down important things your leads say. Not only will this help you remember these points better, but it also helps you save time when you listen to the call recordings again later.

You won’t need to listen through entire conversations just to pick out some key points because you would’ve already written them down.

13. Give yourself some time between calls

Here’s a telemarketing tip you’ll want to keep in mind.

When conducting your telemarketing campaign, give yourself ample time in between calls.

Novocall’s outbound dialer allows you to customize the amount of time between calls.

Novocall’s outbound dialer allows you to do just that. This allows you to consolidate notes from the previous call before the next one. It also gives you time to mentally prepare for the next call.

14. Measure, track, improve

You need to see what’s working for your company and what isn’t.

This way, you know whether or not you should double down on something or try something different. Many software such as Novocall come with data analytics features and outbound call software.

Novocall comes with data analytics features and outbound call software.

The data collected can provide in-depth insights as to which sales strategies are doing well and which are not. Sales teams can then use this information to tailor their sales processes to improve results.

You can keep on various outbound call metrics, such as average call duration, call volume per agent, conversion rate, and first-call close.

15. Have fun with it!

When you make that many calls, the task can become stale and boring.

And your energy is contagious. If you go into a call sounding grumpy and disaffected, you’re not going to do a good enough job of getting the person on the other end of the line excited.

Although it’s not always easy, try to treat each call as its individual experience. More so, have fun with it! Talk about lighthearted subjects for a bit, maybe even crack a joke if appropriate.

This can help liven the mood and make your leads more willing to listen to you.

What’s next?

And there you have it!

I hope that these 15 telemarketing tips have been useful in helping you better understand how you can close deals.

If you’ve noticed, I brought up outbound call software a couple of times. That’s because it has become the norm to use technology to improve sales processes.

If you are unaware of the options available in the market, check out this list of outbound call solutions that we’ve prepared for you.

Picture of Nigel Seah
Nigel Seah

Nigel is a Digital Marketing Executive at Novocall where he specializes in SEO. Prior to this, he had written for several SaaS companies including Workstream and the now defunct Hatchme. In his free time, he engages in strength training and is a lover of languages.

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