10 tips on B2B cold calling: 6 step-by-step samples

Alibaba.com AUGUST 30, 20217 MIN READ
10 tips on B2B cold calling: 6 step-by-step samples

The big myth that is untrue is that business-to-business (B2B) cold calling is dead and no longer effective. Maybe those people are using the wrong medium or method. Actually, many businesses still rely on it - too much success.

When Travis Kalanick founded Uber, he had to use cold calling to get his early customers. In his own words:

“I went to Google, typed in San Francisco chauffeur or San Francisco limousine, I just filled out an excel sheet, and I just started dialing for dollars, right? The first ten guys I called, three of them hung up before I got a few words out, a few of them would listen for like 45 seconds and then hung up, and three of them said, ‘I’m interested, let’s meet.’ And if you’re cold calling and three out of ten say ‘let’s meet,’ you’ve got something.”

When used right, cold calling may give you that big break in your b2b and get bigger profits. It is also an ideal way to get insights to understand the requirements and business challenges of prospective buyers.

What exactly is cold calling?

When you try to sell a product to someone who hasn’t previously contacted you or done a deal with you, what you’re doing is ‘cold calling.’ Before the call, potential prospects have shown no interest in purchasing your product or service. This process is different from another term known as warm-selling. In warm selling, prospects already have an idea and have been previously contacted by your business. In cold-calling, the potential prospects may not even have heard of your business before.

Even though the popular means of cold-calling is telemarketing when you dial over the phone, in-person door-to-door marketing is also a form of cold-calling. Whichever way it is done, the idea is to convince potential customers to purchase your product or service with sales calls. Rather than having a product blog and hoping someone reads it and eventually contacts you, you can just cut the block and make phone calls.

Since cold-calling is about entering the unknown, you should also expect the unexpected. It doesn’t mean that your first call with every person will lead to a deal. Cold calling is the essential ingredient in B2B sales because it lets you acquaint a potential sales prospect with your company and product.

Why is cold calling more successful for B2B than B2C?

What makes cold calling more effective for business-to-business than business-to-customer? Every business is in the industry to make a profit. In B2C, you’re marketing to an end-user, a customer. As such, most of your invitations will be emotional. Also, in B2C sales, the salesperson knows very little about the person they’re contacting. It’s hard to introduce your products to someone when you don’t even know what works for them.

Even more so, it’s hard to cold-call individual customers. How do you determine the right time to call them? If you call in the day, they’re at work and can’t talk much. If you call any other time, they’re at home or out with their loved ones. Finding time to listen to a sales pitch is hard work for us all.

This is unlike B2B sales. While you have to bring emotional arguments to a customer, in B2B sales, you need a rationale-based logic. Every business is willing to listen to and get the best deal. The company you’re cold-calling wants to know product solutions that can further develop their own business. Also, you already have a fair idea of what the other firm does and how your business may be able to work with theirs. All you need to do is nail it on the head.

10 practical B2B cold calling tips

The businesses that say cold-calling doesn’t work probably don’t know the proper cold calling tips. Cold calls require a little persistence, patience, and proficiency to succeed. If you can polish your skills and you know how to do it right, here are some top cold calling tips to help you improve your B2B skills.

  • Narrow down your list

Here’s what people that fail at cold-calling do: they do a google search, get the hotline of the businesses, and start making calls. This process may not be that effective. You have to weigh the businesses and determine the ones you should call. It’s not just about trying to get across to as many businesses as possible, hoping that you’ll at least hit luck with one of them. Knowing the right ones to call will help reduce your task.

For your sales team to run a successful cold call campaign, you have to narrow down your list. Here’s what you can do:

      • Define your target business
      • Reflect on the database of the existing customers or view the testimonials on your competitor’s website to find your ideal sales prospect.
  • Research your prospects

B2B cold calling is more successful than B2C because it is easy to conduct preliminary research on businesses. This is part of the sales process. Information on the potential business is already online, and you can get to know how your business can work with theirs. If you’re wondering where to find out information about a company you’ve shortlisted for cold-calling, you can check them out on their:

      • Company websites;
      • Sites like Crunchbase;
      • LinkedIn profile;
      • Social media networks, and so on.

With the relevant information about the business at hand, you’ll no doubt be able to have a better conversation with the point of contact. The research may also be used to find out the critical decision-maker you should be speaking to.

  • Time your calls

Timing matters in cold-calling because you want the person you call to be in the right mood when you say hello. To have a successful cold call, 76% of sales reps say that knowing the right time to call matters a lot in the success rate or sales conversion of cold-calling1.

For instance, calling B2B prospects at their lunchtime may not be a wise decision; they’ll most likely not be at their desk.

TIP: Generally, the best time to make sales calls is between 10 and 11.30 am, and then again at 1.30 pm. There’s a logic to this: the first time is after the morning rush; the second time is after lunch. You can also work around the schedules of the business to find the perfect moment to make the calls.

Well, you can always leave a voicemail if they end up not picking.

  • Cheer up and learn to deal with rejection

Think of it as a game. It should be fun with the right tactics. Many people gave up after getting rejected by a couple of prospects they called. What do you call a salesperson who gives up? Nothing. A salesperson who gives up is not a salesperson. Of course, it’s not easy being a business owner. Part of the requirement of being such a superhero is to be mentally prepared for rejections.

One, try as much as you can; it’s not everyone that’ll do business with you. When you cold-call a company, and you get a cold shoulder from them, move on. More often than not, maybe the business is not interested in doing business with you. Or, maybe there are some lessons for you in the rejections. Here’s what you can do:

      • Analyze the reasons for the rejections;
      • Re-strategize and try finding solutions to deal with the objections;
      • Stay positive for your next cold-call;
      • Polish your sales pitch to sound more confident.
  • Start the conversation with an email

The purpose of sending a mail first is so that you can establish a ‘prior conversation’ and ‘familiarity.’ It’s a little trick that cold callers have been using for a while. It’s best to send an email first before cold calling. That should be your first contact. Sending an email is, of course, less intrusive than calling first.

Your email should contain the necessary information about your business and how you think you can help solve the prospect’s business problem. Well, maybe they’ll read your mail; perhaps they won’t. Perhaps they’ll respond to it or not. But when you call, it sure sounds better to say:

“Hi, my name’s Jane from Doe Company. I sent you a mail last week. Did you perhaps get a chance to go through it?”

  • KISS – Keep It Short and Simple

Your first call with a business is unlikely to be the one that’ll seal the deal and lead to product sales. The purpose of cold-calling is to establish a ‘rapport,’ grab your prospect's attention and pique the buyer's interest.

You have shot yourself in the leg by boring the prospect with too much information or statistics. The ideal thing to do is to keep it short and straightforward.

  • Know when to speak and when to listen

It’s not just about you speaking and rolling off the sales pitch you have memorized. It’s also about letting the other person speak and finding ways to bring them over to your side. Short sentences and short pauses also help a great deal.

As a sales manager, you should also know how to use the right moment of pauses and silence to your advantage. The goal is not to make the conversation sound monotonous or like a never-ending monologue.

  • Do away with distractions while calling

You want to sound as confident as possible when you cold-call. There’s no way you can do this if you’re getting distracted and you’re having diverted thought processes. Cold calling requires your undivided attention. Distractions will disturb the flow of the conversation, cause you to stumble on your words or ask the same questions over again.

To keep yourself concentrated and in focus during your cold calls, here are some things you can do:

      • Turn off your TV screen;
      • Keep your phones aside;
      • Work smart and divide your time;
      • Have designated hours of the day for cold calling;
      • Dedicate some other time to creating proposals, following up with outreach, scheduling appointments, updating information in your sales CRM, or meeting a prospect for a product demo;
      • Maintain social distance from social media sites while you are on a B2B sales call;
      • Avoid noisy environments or interruptions from people;
      • Put on wireless headphones and be in a comfortable position;
      • Get rid of unwanted thoughts and focus your attention on the call.
  • Ask the prospect relevant questions

You already know an essential part of cold-calling is also to get to know your ‘client’ and how you can work with them. There may be other services you offer or other ways that you may do business with the prospect.

Relevant questions will help you hit the pain points and demonstrate to the prospect that you’re genuinely interested in their business. This will further help cement a relationship between the two businesses.

Focus on building a relationship or further communicating. You can take it up from there to setting up the first meeting or referring them to check your online store.

  • Use cold calling scripts, but don’t sound scripted

Every good movie begins with a script. Rather than winging it and searching for the right words, you can try cold calling scripts. It's a method used effectively by sales professionals. You can have an already prepared outline or a script for the conversations you want to have with the potential businesses.

The scripts can have variations or verticals, tailor-made for the responses of the prospect. For instance, you'll have a script for what to say when the prospect says a 'Yes' to a question you asked and a script for what to say when they say 'No.'

Nonetheless, it's no use having a good script without knowing how well to use them. If you use them well, you sound great. Otherwise, you may come off as a robot or as someone just reading off stuff from inside a book.

Scripts of effective cold calls are to guide the conservation and make sure you hit the right notes.

BONUS: Sample cold calling scripts you can use

There are a couple of roadmaps to good cold call scripts. The cold call samples used by cold callers are tailored in the same way here.

  • Introduction

Keep it short and straightforward. Start by saying who you are and where you’re calling from. If necessary, ask if you’re talking to the right person before moving on.

Hi, this is John from the Doe Company. How are you this morning?


Hi [use the name of the person you're calling], it’s Jane here calling from Doe Company. I sent you an email on Monday. Did you get a chance to read it?

  • Opener

There are two ways to make an opener. You can use a personalized method, or you can go about it the 'business' way. If you want it personalized, you have to find common ground to breed familiarity.

For example:

Saw the news or your business expansion on LinkedIn. Wow. Congratulations.


I like what you guys are doing over there. Your business solutions are top-notch.


A friend of mine also went to [UNIVERSITY], she speaks very highly of the place.

There are more than a thousand ways to go about this. The trick is in doing research and finding what tickles the prospect.

  • Why are you calling?

Well, this is where it starts. After the introduction and the preliminaries, the prospect wants to know why you're calling. There's no beating about the bush: getting straight to the point helps.

I came across your business, and I think I may have one or two things you may need.


My business sells [insert what you do]. We provide one of the best….. Would you like to hear more about the offers we have?

  • Value proposition

Now that you've started your business, what next? If you sense that the prospect's interest is beginning to wane and they're leaning towards not wanting to continue with the conversation, what do you do? Move into the value proposition.

Why should the prospect want to listen to you? Here's where you talk a bit about the successes of your products or company and what sets you apart from the competition.

For example:

I'll tell you a bit more, and then, if it makes sense, we can set up another call to talk more, okay?

If they maintain they're not interested:

I understand how you feel. It may not be a top priority right now. A couple of other people said the same, but I could win them over with just a few minutes. Want to give it a try?

  • Questions

Use leading or open-ended questions in your cold calls. It will give the prospect a sense of being carried along in the conversation.

Would you be interested in hearing how you can shoot up your sales?

I’d love to talk to you about our products and how we think it is the right thing for your business. Would this be of interest?

  • Close

Close the deal and establish a further line of communication. You can do this by setting up another time to call. Or you can ask the prospect to check out your products in the Alibaba store.

Oh. It's been a fantastic time. I wouldn't want to take too much of your time. We've got great products on Alibaba.com. Can I send you the link?

Sell on Alibaba.com

The end goal of every cold call is product sales. After using the tricks and script samples above, the prospect should be further directed to a platform where they can check out your products. Referring the prospect to your catalog on Alibaba.com is a surer way to make sure the cold call leads to sales.

Alibaba.com is an international platform that offers you access to millions of international buyers. Alibaba.com provides you with the largest B2B platform where you can sell to millions of consumers and retailers all over the world. Sell your products here today



1. https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/cold-calling-statistics-you-need-know-improve-2020-coreen-menezes