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Cold calling - a definition

Cold calling is the very first contact with potential customers. This means that there were no business relationships up to the time of contact and you don't know each other personally, for example from an event, a trade fair or private life. On the street, you'd just walk past each other.

Strict rules may apply to cold calling

Cold calling is difficult for both the callers and the contacted persons. To convince a stranger of your own product requires a certain sales talent. However, many people also find it annoying to be contacted for advertising purposes. Especially from sellers who rely on hard selling methods, people often buy out of insecurity rather than from conviction. In many countries, such as Germany, cold calling is therefore subject to strict rules. In order to be on the safe side, it is therefore best to inform yourself in advance about the rules for cold calling in your country.


Efficiency of cold calling

As far as the exploitation of opportunities is concerned, cold calling is certainly much worse than warm acquisition. However, this does not mean that you could or should not acquire new customers. Even companies that have built up a solid customer base over the years should not rest on their laurels and rely only on warm acquisition. They too will continue to lose customers. Whether it's because a company is closing down, whether it's due to restructuring or simply because new suppliers are pushing into the business area. Cold calling is still part of the daily sales routine.

However, the success of cold calling depends to a large extent on the need to explain your product or service.

The higher the complexity of the product, the more difficult, but also more necessary is cold calling.

Why more difficult? On the one hand, it becomes more complex to identify the right decision-maker in a company and then actually get them on the phone. On the other hand, complex (and expensive) products are seldom purchased at the first contact. This means that you have to talk to the right decision-maker several times or get him/her to read your mails and deal with the topic. This requires constancy and very good self-organization, often combined with the use of the right technical means such as a CRM system. This is the only way to ensure that you still know what you've talked about with a customer in detail after six months even if you have a lot of customers.

But why also more necessary? If your product or service is not easy to understand or differentiate from competitive products, the attention span of classic advertising media is not sufficient. In addition, the sales strategy depends to a large extent on the needs of your customer. In cold calling, you are often dependent on the direct feedback of your counterparts. Does he buy because of the price? Because of a special feature that only your product offers? Or is he himself not sure about the profession and wants to have the feeling of expert support? You will only receive such information in a direct conversation.


Recommendations and tips for cold calling

There are countless advisors and trainings on the subject of cold calling. One thing is certain, you need a certain routine and experience to be successful in cold calling. Especially in telemarketing it is not easy for everyone to avoid throwing the shotgun in the corner even after many negative answers (which you will certainly get). Every canvasser will confirm it: In cold calling, a "No" is the standard case (it can be replaced by "no need","no budget" or "NEVER call me again!"). Even if some sales experts say that they don't accept a "no", reality shows that most people don't care if you accept the "no". They will just not buy. Nevertheless, you can of course increase your success rate considerably by preparing yourself well and getting clear about your goals in advance. The result does not always have to be called "conclusion" or "immediate sales success". The goal should rather be to establish a personal relationship with the potential customer. In order for this to work from the first phone call, there is no getting around these three tips for cold calling:

  1. Research carefully - Only if the customer knows from the beginning of the conversation on why you are calling especially him or her he or she will continue to listen to you.

  2. Master your Elevator Pitch - If you want to convince, you need to be able to get to the heart of your product's unique selling point (USP) within 30 seconds.

  3. Practising, practicing, practicing - in the beginning you will certainly be helped by a conversation guide, which you should ideally have discussed with an experienced acquisitionist. Over time, however, you will automatically feel safer and you can start to "play" with the different approaches.


Systematic acquisition through a CRM system

As already mentioned above, the use of a CRM system is practically impossible to avoid in cold calling. This is the only way to remember what was agreed last, even after weeks and many calls. In addition, resubmissions can be created and systematically processed in the software. When choosing a CRM system, it is important that you find your way around it and have quick access to the customer's history. Therefore, it is better to avoid countless functions or analytical evaluations when in return the practical benefits in everyday business increase. There are now CRM providers for all company sizes and technical requirements. I can recommend CentralStationCRM for use in smaller teams or self-employed people with a clear conscience, because it is very easy and intuitive to use and also web-based, i.e. it can be used from any Internet-enabled device (PC, Mac, Smartphone). In terms of price, CentralStationCRM is very affordable or even free of charge on a small scale. A non-binding test account can easily be created here



Cold calling is much more than just calling lists and playing the same sales pitch over and over again. Cold calling involves solid preparation and research for the customer, good self-organization, qualified product knowledge and, of course, negotiation skills. Especially in the B2B area, cold calling is still a tried and tested method of distribution, provided that the merchant does not work with unfair methods and does not concentrate on selling out of hell, but solves a customer's problem. Then nothing stands in the way of a long business relationship even after initial cold calling.

Karina Leitner