How to Get More Responses From Your Sales Calls (Even If You Dread the Phone)

For Salespeople, sometimes there’s nothing more frightening than picking up the phone and dialing into the unknown. Just the mere thought of cold-calling can send top performing reps into a state of panic. Although cold-calling can be a daunting experience, it’s something that every Salesperson has to experience on a regular basis. For those of us in Inside Sales, calling prospects is a huge part of the job.  

We’ve previously discussed about how to get an email response from a busy prospect, but what about those sales calls?

Is there a secret sauce to getting more responses from your sales calls?

The fact is that, in Sales, we have two main modes of communication: emails and calls. Dread aside, dialing up a prospect is still an effective sales strategy to qualify leads, book a meeting and build relationships.

Warm Up Your Cold Calls

Cold-calling doesn’t have to be cold—thanks to the advent of emailing and Social Selling, cold-calling doesn’t have to be calling cold anymore. These days it’s easier to figure out a prospect’s email address than it is to track down their direct line. So, just because you need to cold-call to fulfill your Campaign cadence, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t warm up your leads before reaching out via phone.

Instead, warm up your cold calls by sending an introduction email first. Quickly introduce yourself and go straight into the value add. Remember, this is the first email—so every word counts.

Talk Your Way Out of Your Comfort Zone

Many people dread picking up the phone, but let’s face it: we’re in Sales and it’s part of our jobs. Our best advice? Practice makes perfect. If you get knots in your stomach just thinking about picking up the phone and asking to speak with the Director of Sales Development at XYZ company, sit down, relax and practice.

Here are some quick pointers:

  • Write a script and recite it word for word
  • Work with a colleague to make sure it sounds human
  • Speak clearly
  • Don’t say too much (and don’t pitch your product—yet)
  • Be polite and respectful of your prospect’s time

It’s Important, So Leave a Voicemail

No matter how long you’ve been in Sales, you know there’s a huge argument between the “leave a voicemail” and “never leave a voicemail” camp. At ToutApp, we believe in leaving a voicemail. Why? They’re effective, and we do get response either via callback or email.

So, why bother with leaving a voicemail rather than calling and sending a quick follow-up email? The answer is simple: voicemails allow reps to humanize themselves and their companies. It gives a real voice to the name and email address. Instead of reading the name “John Smith” in their inbox, the prospect gets to hear what John Smith sounds like on the phone.

Additionally, a voicemail can inspire a myriad of trigger events: a website visit, a glance at the pricing page, reading a blog post, downloading an eBook, reply to an email or even a call-back. All of these responses add up to prospect engagement, which is key in prospecting.

Always Add Value

The number one pitfall in sales calls is pitching prematurely. If you’ve managed to get a hold of your prospect, got a call-back or an email response—whatever you do next, don’t pitch. Even though a prospect has responded to your outreach, the relationship is still forming and you still have to earn trust in order to move ahead in the sales process.

So, what’s next? First, listen to the prospect. Figure out what their needs are, empathize with them and provide value. Up until this point, you’ve done a lot of research on your prospect, overcame your phone dread and got a response—don’t blow it by not empathizing and failing to add value.

Don’t Forget to Follow Up

We can all agree that not every prospect will respond to your call (or email)—and that’s fine, that’s Sales. But 80% of sales requires five follow-up calls after the initial meeting and 44% of Salespeople give up after only one follow-up.

So, if you want to get more responses from your sales calls—don’t forget to follow up. The key to a successful follow-up workflow is making it as seamless and easy to do as possible, so that you’ll actually follow through. Setting up a Sales Campaign aimed for inbound and outbound prospecting is simple and is a must-do when you want to increase your call response rate with a multi-touch campaign.


The sales call isn’t going anywhere. Instead, we as Salespeople need to overcome our phone dread and seize the opportunity to connect with our prospects in real-time. If we approach cold-calling as a way to connect and provide a human touch to the person behind all those sales emails, it’ll aide the sales process and drive results.

[Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in July 2012 and has been updated for comprehensiveness.]

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