Some people might say that cold calling is dead, but it still has its place as a sales technique. It's a good way to introduce customers to a product or service they may not have sought out themselves.

Set goals

The most difficult part of a cold calling campaign is making the calls. Set yourself daily goals, so you can get in the number of calls needed for success.

Not only should you set goals for the number of calls you should be making, but also in terms of call backs and actual sales.

If you know that you need 10 sales per day and tend to get one for every 10 calls, that means you need to make 100 calls per day to meet your target.

Know who you are calling

Before you call, you must have a name. People don't respond well when you ask to speak to the decision maker. If you're in B2B sales, a bit of Googling should bring up some names of the decision makers in the company.

Do your research

Once you have a name, do a bit of research. Make inquiries about the business, what they do, who the decision makers are, and how your product or service can be of benefit to them.

If you are in B2C sales, then you won't need to do as much research, but make sure you are prepared before making every call.

Respect the receptionist

When making B2B calls, it's very likely your first contact will be with a receptionist, or the secretary of the person you are calling. Be nice to them, as they have the power to put you through to the person you need to speak with.

If you're nice, and can establish a rapport with them, then they are more likely to pass on your messages, or put through your calls in the future.

Be polite

Over aggressive sales tactics will get you nowhere. If someone says, "No!" then take that as their final answer and be polite about it. If you aren't polite, then you will leave a bad impression about yourself, and your company.

Even if someone is rude to you, just accept it. Thank them for their time and move on.

Recover quickly

If you do end up speaking to someone who is rude to you, or just hangs up, move on. It's all part of the job. Cross them off your list, and move on to the next call.

The best sales people regard this as part of the job. There's no point in dwelling over the few rude people who just hang up without hearing you out.

Create a rapport

The sooner you can create a rapport with a potential customer, the better. This can be through a mutual interest, inquiring about their day, or making small talk about their business/family/last holiday.

This will be easier with some cold calls than with others. Some people are more receptive to friendly conversation over the phone, while others might be a little annoyed by the unsolicited call, especially if they are busy.

Know what you are going to say

Avoid using scripts that make you sound forced, and there is no flow in the conversation between you and the person. Instead, jot down a few notes regarding what you want to say, and then pick up the phone. You have approximately five seconds to catch their attention. Scripts don't always allow you to do this effectively.

If you are new to sales and making cold calls, then a script can be helpful, but learn to improvise and you'll have much more success.

Ask questions

You're going to be able to find out more about a potential customer's needs by asking questions. However, be sure to relate them to the research you've already done, in order to build a better rapport.

Remember, people like to talk about themselves. If someone answers a question with a one word answer, you should move on. If they're willing to chat, then you can try to get more information out of them.

Get to the point

Although you'll want to create a rapport with a customer, it's important you make your point as quickly as possible. If you don't, that person is just going to get frustrated if they have to engage in small talk without knowing the purpose of your call.

Don't stop until they say "No"

If someone gives excuses, or asks you to call back at another time, then you should. Unless they explicitly say, "No!" there's the chance you might be able to make a sale.

They might be putting off your calls because they are busy. Eventually you'll catch them at a quiet time, and they might even thank you for your persistence.

Keep records

Good record keeping will make it easier to call back a potential customer in the future. You'll also avoid making the mistake of calling someone who already said they were not interested.

Don't forget those warm leads

You're likely to get a number of good leads from cold calling. Once someone sounds interested, keep calling, as these are the prospects that have higher conversion rates.

Hopefully these tips will help you feel more confident about cold calling. The best way to get more comfortable and to do a better job with cold calling is to make cold calls. Experience is the best medicine.

What are some tips you've picked up along the way?