Top 15 cold calling tips for SaaS sales reps we found on LinkedIn
Cold calling is hard. But you’re not alone in the journey to better cold calls.
In fact, there are plenty of sales experts right down there in the trenches with you, and they have some pretty spectacular tips on how to succeed.
If you’re looking for...
- Better response rates
- More meetings booked
- Higher quality calls
- Better conversion
...then you better read these top sales tips from our favorite sales pros on LinkedIn.
1. Learn the right way to ‘poke the bear’
Author: Josh Braun
This cold call script from expert sales trainer Josh Braun is separated into 5 steps—permission, problem, poke the bear, promise:
“Hi Lisa. Ben Smith. We’ve never met, but I was on your website and was hoping you could help me out for a moment. Do you have two minutes?”
“Thanks. I’m with CaptivateIQ. We’ve processed over 2 billion dollars in commissions. I’m calling because I recently read an article in HBR that said business operations professionals are spending 5-7 hours calculating and running monthly payouts.
3. Poke the Bear
“And I was curious, how does your experience compare with that?”
4. Peel the Onion
Listen carefully and be curious.
Here’s some phraseology that gets prospects to open up and elaborate about their current state.
Prospect: “We're trying a few things.”
“Trying things?” (Mirroring - Chris Voss - repeat the last 2-3 words with a slight up-tone as if to say “Tell me more.”
“How’s that been going?”
“Can you give me an example?”
“Could you clarify what you meant by…”
“When you say it’s been challenging, in what way?”
“It sounds like…” (Labeling, Chris Voss - describing the underlying emotion the other person is feeling.)
“Sounds like this might be helpful because of the amount of time you spend smashing error-prone spreadsheets together.
I know I promised to keep this to two minutes.
Would it make sense to carve out some time over the next or two so you can review how other business ops professionals are running commissions statements in a few minutes?”
Check out Josh’s explanation as to why this works here
2. Use a mixture of humor and insider lingo
Author: Armand Farrokh
Armand Farrokh, host of the 30 Minutes to President’s Club podcast, chats with Josh Braun in this video about cold call openers and how to use them to interrupt the pattern your prospects are expecting.
Here’s how it works for Armand, selling a compensation program software at Pave:
All 500+ managers need their own compensation data sheet.
One comp mistake in any of those 500 sheets? Unacceptable.
So instead of "we save you time on merit cycles"
Here's my "problem proposition"
🤔 We're having a competition here at Pave.
📊 Who has the most columns in their merit spreadsheet.
😂 The current record is column QZ. Would you win?
9/10 times, the answer you'll get...
"Haha, okay. What do you do?"
If you don’t get it, you’re probably not in HR. And that’s the beauty of this opener: Armand paints a very clear picture of the problem, gets a laugh, and shows how well he knows the space of his prospects.
See the full post and video here
3. Ask yourself: Would I take my own cold call?
Author: Maggie Blume
Time for a bit of self-examination, brought to you by Maggie Blume, AE at Mailshake (and a very appropriate reference to Seinfeld).
Here’s what Maggie says:
Would you stay on the phone longer than 30 seconds with yourself? Would we take the time for ourselves and our own approach?
See her post (and an appropriate Seinfeld reference) here
4. Overcome the fear of cold calling with this simple hack
Author: Steli Efti
This post is based on a real experience from the early days of Close. When you have a fear of cold calling, it’s most likely based on a fear of failure. To start overcoming this, it’s essential to address and verbalize the issue.
Then, go for this simple hack: Instead of trying to avoid failure, aim for it!
Be creative in looking for ways to actively fail. Have fun with it.
Once you’ve experienced failure, you’ll see there’s nothing to be afraid of.
Check out the full story (and how this world IRL for someone on our team)
5. Try this data-backed opening line
Author: Sarah Brazier
Sarah is a LinkedIn star who is documenting her career growth in sales. In this post, she digs into your first lines in a cold call. Her sales pitch script is optimized to grab attention and keep the prospect on the phone.
Here’s her breakdown of the best opening line:
In the rest of the cold call script, Sarah shows why making mini-asks keeps people on the phone, how to empathize with their reality, and challenge them with something impossible.
See Sarah’s cold call script (and the full explanation) here
6. Don’t ask if they have time: tell them you don’t
Author: Joanne Howard and Brian Burns
In this video from the producers of The Brutal Truth podcast, Brian talks about some bad cold call openers that are commonly used, including the old favorite: ‘Do you have time now to talk?’
Then, he dives into his own cold calling opener: “Hey Jack, it’s Brian here. I only have a minute…”
This opener tells your prospects that your time is valuable too, and the call is going to be brief.
7. Stop using local numbers for cold calls
Author: Amy Copadis and James Urie of Close
Many salespeople use a phone system that allows them to choose the area code that they’re calling from. That makes it easy to pretend they’re calling from a number that’s local to their prospect, even when they’re far away.
While this many have worked in the past, James explains in this video that most people have become immune to local numbers. Instead of more people answering the phone when they see a local number, they’re more likely to reject it simply because they assume it’s a sales call.
The advice from the Close team: Own your area code. Be proud of it. Don’t hide behind a local number.
8. Treat email opens like MQLs
Author: Armand Farrokh and Parker Eide
This video interview from the 30 Minutes to President’s Club podcast is all about cold calling with a purpose. In other words, stop calling just for the sake of making a call or getting through a list.
Parker talks about how he sets up scheduled emails to go out at 8:00 AM. Then, when he starts cold calling at 8:15, he sees who’s opened or responded to his email, and calls them.
This purposeful cold calling treats prospects who acted on an email like qualified leads, and adds them to the calling list at the time when Parker is already top-of-mind for them.
Check out his whole strategy and how it works in this post
9. Batch your cold calls (the right way)
Author: Stephan Hamilton
Break up your calls into batches. Open a tab for each person you're going to call, don't close it until you call them.
10. Know when it’s time to give value on a human level
Author: Steli Efti
We’ve been through some difficult times over the past year, and many of us have seen our prospects suffering and overcoming changes and layoffs.
Our very own CEO, Steli Efti, talks about how to reach out to prospects who have experienced hard times.
First, don’t avoid reaching out at all. Now is the time to show you’re a human, talk to these people, see what their game plan and situation is looking like.
What if your main point of contact was let go? Don’t write them off completely. Reach out, offer your help if they need references or are looking for a job at a company where you have connections. Sending an email like that to someone who’s just lost their job will leave an unforgettable impression on them.
Now, more than ever, is the time to be human.
Check out the full post and clip from the Q&A session here.
11. Get better by reviewing your own calls
Author: Kyle Vamvouris
This is a personal story from someone who has grown in his sales career from SDR to CEO of a sales advisory company.
Kyle found a recording of some of his early sales calls, and while it was probably a bit cringeworthy to listen to them (again, we’ve all been there), he talks about how reviewing those early calls helped him to improve with each call.
Become better every day and in a year you won’t be recognizable.
In fact, this is one of our favorite methods to become a cold calling pro.
See Kyle’s story in his own words here
12. Use customer stories to get pumped for your cold calls
Author: Tom Alaimo and Alex Abraham
Getting pumped before starting your cold calls is like an athlete’s pre-game routine or a musician’s soundcheck before the show.
In this video interview with Tom Alaimo and Alex Abraham, one way to get pumped is to look at customer stories or review how you’ve helped other customers reach their goals.
You have to really believe and love the product you’re selling. Call from a mindset of, ‘I’m actually here to solve a huge problem that you have.’
See the whole video interview here
13. Call in blocks
Author: Jake Harry
Getting motivation to start running through your calling list can be tough. We’ve all been there.
Jake shares some of his top cold calling tips, one of which we really love: Call in blocks.
Check out the rest of Jake’s pro cold calling tips here
14. Prepare If this, Then that scenarios
Author: Tom Stearns
Being prepared mentally for different scenarios and sales objections can help you stay calm and sharp. So, create an If this, Then that formula for common cold call scenarios.
For example: If I get a gatekeeper, Then I will...
As Tom says: “Flow charting and preparing for all the possibilities will keep your brain sharp but will also ensure you don’t squander each scenario’s opportunity.”
15. Use the right framework to open conversations
Author: Darryl Bassett
SDR Director Darryl has his own framework that he uses to open conversations, not just 'start a sales call'. This outlined cold call script idea is a great way to build on your opening line to start a conversation.
Here's how Darryl does it:
Hello, First Name
Thanks for taking my call
I was really hoping to connect briefly, could I get 2 minutes of your time?
Great, this is Name with Company
The reason for my call is xyz (I sentence on why you're calling)
Then 1 thought provoking open ended question to create a dialogue
What's your cold calling tip?
Know a cold calling tip we've not yet listed here? Let us know on LinkedIn, whether it's your own or one you've come across on LinkedIn and we might feature you in a future roundup.
Did you know: we regularly post our favorite tips for startup and SMBs sales on LinkedIn and our weekly. Make sure you’re following on LinkedIn, then sign up for our Sales Brief with a curated list of the best sales articles for the week.