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Let’s be real here: Cold calling is tough. With the awkward introductions and the very real possibility of getting yelled off the line, cold calling is probably not your favorite task—unless of course you’re one of the many who have made thousands from doing it.

Don’t listen to the “experts” who say cold calling is dead: It’s much easier to claim that a niche strategy doesn’t work than to spend time mastering it. Cold calling is certainly not a walk in the park and it takes a lot of caffeine and patience. But with the right set of tools and strategies, you can make it well worth your time.

We’ve put together six of our favorite tips for surviving your next cold call and making the experience more pleasant (and profitable) for everyone.

1. Use Your Script Only as a Guide

One big mistake that you can make during a cold call—especially if you get nervous talking to strangers—is to read directly off your script. Conversations aren’t written down, rehearsed, and acted out in the real world—they’re dynamic and can change at any given moment. You can’t possibly account for every outcome in a script; reading off a script will only make you appear cold and robotic. Even if you think you’re good at hiding it, know that the person on the other end will see right through the act and tell that you’re reading your lines. Your script should only be considered a guide—something you can reference occasionally if you’re not sure what to say or encounter a question that stumps you. Otherwise, you should use your script as a way to guide the conversation toward the resolution you’re hoping for.

2. Research Each Recipient

We know—you’ve got a list of hundreds of names you have to call. How can you research each contact? It may sound exhausting, but it’s more than worth your time to do this, even if your work ends up taking longer than expected. Try to learn whatever you can about your contacts. What have they purchased in the past? Are they a decision-maker or influencer? Should you sound formal or informal? The more information you have on hand, the better the call will go.

3. Respect Their Time

Not everyone has time to answer an unexpected call. While keeping a contact on the phone is important for your sake, respecting their time is more important if you hope to make any progress. Make sure that you begin the call by politely asking whether they have time to speak with you. You can pitch to them briefly beforehand, but don’t go into a 10-minute script without making sure they have the time to hear it. If they don’t, but you’ve respected their wishes, you may be invited to call them at a later time when they are available to talk.

4. Leave Voicemails

No one will return your phone call if they don’t receive a follow-up voicemail or text describing the reason for the call. Leaving a voicemail can be intimidating, especially because you usually have one shot at making it right, but there are ways to make sure it goes well. Keep it under 20 seconds, address the contact by name, mention your value proposition very briefly, and of course, be warm and friendly. Most of all, don’t try to sell during the voicemail—always get them on the phone first, and only then build that into the conversation.

5. Don’t Waste Anyone’s Time

This includes your time, too! If you find yourself talking to a prospect who apparently has no use for your services, then it’s time to politely say so and to end the call. Always mention your availability in case something changes down the road or they know someone who could use your assistance, but don’t waste a prospect’s time by trying to sell a service they don’t need. It’s more valuable for you to move on to a warm prospect, and it shows that you have respect for the other person on the line.

6. Be the Listener, Not the Talker

The best salespeople know how to listen. While you obviously need to participate in the conversation, your prospects need to feel that you care about what their needs are. Listen intently, ask questions, repeat back what they’re saying for reassurance, and don’t flood the conversation with your script or sales jargon. If you listen well, they’ll continue to divulge bits and pieces about them or the company that you can use further your sale.

Final Thoughts

Everyone has their own approach and flair when it comes to sales. There are many more tips and tricks out there to help you get started with cold calling, but these are just a few of our favorites. Remember to stay calm, prepare ahead of time, and most importantly, actually make the call! Your confidence will sell more than a couple well-written lines.Looking for a trade printer to add to your arsenal? Contact us today to learn more about Seaway Printing. Seaway will ship all of your products “blind”. We finish projects quickly, efficiently, and with the highest quality and technologies available.