Sales Coach Christine Harrington

3 Clever Tips the Sales Pro’s Use for Successful Cold Call Follow Up

One of the most courageous and…let’s face it…insane things you do as a sales pro is make cold calls. At least…cold calling can feel insane at times.

Why is it insane? Because you’re trying to have a meaningful, professional conversation with a total stranger…over the phone. You’ve interrupted his busy day, so you have 5 seconds to make a great impression that will cause him to want to listen further…

Yeah..that’s insane.

IMG_3589Some of you sit in a cubicle surrounded by other sales pros making call after call…

Some of you sit in your home office all alone with a cat staring at you wondering when it’s dinner time. That last part would be me…and the cat is called Kitten (she has a mean stare!)



And still some of you are road warriors making cold calls in between appointments.

No matter your situation…cold calling is necessary.. still.. in today’s market place. Others will tell you it’s not….listen to their advice and you will starve.

You may be asking yourself…Why the focus on cold calls follow up? Because, my guess is your cold calling numbers are close to mine…out of 100 dials, you’ll only get through to about 12% of the prospects…the large majority of the calls go straight to voice mail. So you need a strategy for the remaining 88%.

IF you’re a die-hard cold calling machine, like me…here are…

3 Clever Tips the Sales Pro’s Use for Successful Cold Call Follow Up

Don’t play games. I’ve heard sales reps actually say this when leaving a cold call message…

“This is (name). Call me back as soon as you receive this message. It’s urgent.”

WHAT? PLEASE don’t play these phony baloney games. You will NEVER get in the front door, let alone a sale, by playing these silly tactics.

Would you buy from someone who left you that kind of a voice message? I didn’t think so.

Or worse yet….how about the sales reps who hang up when they get voice mail. Everyone has caller ID now and it’s just plain rude. I know, I know…lots of sales leader teach this…I’m telling you…leave a voice message. It’s crazy that “being different” now is as simple as leaving a voice message…geezzz!

BE TRANSPARENT. When calling into a business, state your full name and the company you work for. When you’re transferred to the person you want to talk to, state your full name and company you work for. Always be totally transparent and up front. You want the same in return right? Besides, it’s the right thing to do and the right professional image to project.

Tip #2 Yes…You Need to Follow Up After Leaving a Voice Message.

It’s rare that you’ll deliver the perfect voice message, with the right dose of information, which will cause your cold call prospect to immediately call you back! It’s rare, like I said. So don’t set yourself up for disappointment…instead try this when leaving a voice message…

“Brad…this is (Your Name) with (Your Company name) My number is (phone number)… Again my number is (Phone Number) I’m calling to set up an appointment with you. It will only take about 15 minutes. After the initial conversation, we can decide if it makes sense to have a deeper conversation. Since you’re unavailable now to take my call, I’ll give you a call back on Thursday at 11:00 am. Hopefully that’s a better time for you to talk. “

AND…hopefully, you were persuasive with the gatekeeper, and able to snag the prospects email address.

On the day you’re to call the prospect back, send him a reminder email at the beginning of the day stating you will be calling. Make it very short and to the point.


Monday I left a voice message stating I’d follow up with you today at 11:00 am. This is just a reminder and I look forward to meeting you over the phone for a very brief conversation.

Talk soon,

The goal is not to expect the prospect to call you, email you or return your emails and calls…you do all the work and just allow the prospect to receive from you. Make it easy for the prospect. This proves how easy you are to do business with.

Tip #3 Your Word

If you say you’re going to follow up….then follow up on the day and time you stated. You’re building a relationship…and the first step is building trust. Always do what you say you’re going to do. There’s no fudging on this! And prospects will test you on this very thing. They want to know how reliable you are before they bring you in….so prove yourself…keep your word!

It’s your turn now…what are your tips you can share with the community that works fabulous for you! Go ahead and share in the comment section below.

What do you think about the tips I’ve shared…I’d love to hear your feedback.

AND here is a recent interview I did on Cold Calling…watch! It was fun to do.

6 thoughts on “3 Clever Tips the Sales Pro’s Use for Successful Cold Call Follow Up

  1. Hello Christine,

    Your article on Cold Calling is actually the recipe that I use. I spend weeks strategizing my cold call. In fact my most recent cold call took me 2 months of strategizing (researching, planning, fearing, crying, … you know the nine stages of cold callings, hahaha =). No doubt it was my most successful to date! I got a call back in 93 minutes (I was counting =), and this could be a Million Dollar client. It went like this:

    Ed – Hi [receptionist]. May I speak to the head of business development.
    Receptionist – Who are you?
    EW – My name is Ed. I’m calling from A-Company. And yes… this is a cold call.
    Receptionist – Oh… let me check
    Receptionist – Do you have an e-mail package that you can send us?
    EW – Not really. Our standard e-mail packages don’t speak to the value we offer to XYZ (competitor 1), ZYX (Competitor 2), and of course a company like yours.
    Receptionist – Ah…. (awkward pause)
    EW – How about voicemail? May I leave a voicemail for the head of business development?
    Receptionist – Sure… (uncertainty)

    Hi, my name is Ed. I’m calling from A-Company. We’ve never spoken before but I did want to reach out to you. We are the preferred “infill providers” [the client’s KeyWord for partnered vendor (I researched this for 2 months =)] for [insert name of competitor 1], [insert name of competitor 2], [insert name of competitor 3], and I would like an opportunity to share with you why we are their preferred infill providers [there’s that word again]. Please call me back at XXX-YYY-ZZZZ. That’s Edmond at XXX-YYY-ZZZZ wanting to speak with you about why we are the preferred infill providers for “unitizers” [their category of business].

    93 minutes Later
    Head of Business Developement – Hi Ed… I got your voicemail.

    Not easy… lots of prep work… it involved 5 colleagues… summed in 34 seconds of salemanship! Please feel free to share this story. If any details are missing, I’m happy to provide them.

    1. Excellent Ed! You are living proof cold calling works.And thank you for sharing your script so other readers can know how to snag a million dollar client. A good cold calling strategy does take lots of research and prep…it’s just not picking a business name off of (I actually had someone tell me that’s how she prospects…yikes!) The hard work paid off and now you have your own model of success to repeat.
      Last, thank you for taking the time to share your successes and suggestions in the comment section. You’re awesome for engaging! I hope we hear from you again.

  2. I’ve copied your script Christine. Thank you for giving me the words I need. I’ve struggled so much with scripts, and I now understand I need to do more research. I especially like the idea of letting the prospect know that I’ll be following up at a certain day and time. That makes perfect sense! Thank you again. -Sue

    1. Sue…It’s wonderful to have your engagement. Use the scripts as a guideline but tailor it around your specific prospecting niche…then practice, practice, practice until it flows naturally! Let me suggest that you record it on your smartphone and play it back…brutal, I know! Keep doing it until it sounds natural to you.Thank you for stopping by and taking the time to post your comment!

  3. I’m not a fan of cold calling, never have been. My employer requires 50 cold calls a day but I do have some success with it especially when staying consistent, like you said. I do like the idea giving them a date and time when I’ll call again. I’m going to add that and see if my results improve. Thanks

    1. I appreciate your honesty Ray and your comment. Letting the prospect know when I’ll call back and then followup the day of the call with an email, has always worked best for me. Come back and share your results after you’ve tried it for a month!

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