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7 Ways to Improve Cold Call Contact Rates

By Bill Rice
7 Ways to Improve Cold Call Contact Rates Feature Image
23 minute read

Cold calling doesn’t have to be all dial tones and voicemails. Believe it or not, there are things you can do to increase the chance you get to actually talk to your lead on the phone instead of being instantly sent to the dreaded voicemail box.

By using a couple of my proven tactics, you can get your cold call contact rates up into the coveted 15-20% range. Not only does this give you more opportunities to close deals, but it also makes the most effective and efficient use of your (and your sales team’s!) time.

Keep reading for an easy to follow checklist that I use to successfully increase my cold calling contact rates:

Call People Who Use the Phone

This obvious question can slip by a lot of us: are you calling people who are actually going to pick up the phone? Is it feasible to think that the person you’re calling is going to answer your call?

Think about it: if one of your leads is a CEO of a company or a tech expert for a business you want as a client, they’re probably not going to answer their phone in the middle of a work week, or even at all. They’re more likely to be reached with other communication methods, like e-mail.

Another example is with various age groups. Did you know that multiple surveys show that Millennials despise phone calls?

Over 25% of Millennial cell phone owners never use their phone for actual calls. The chance that a Millennial lead answers is pretty close to 0. You’re much better off e-mailing or even texting these workers.

So what type of lead should you cold call? Most general consumer leads are going to pick up their phones (keep in mind the Millennial idea, though!). Also, many business departments that require more social, analytical, and direct communication, like finance, insurance, construction, PR, marketing, product services, etc, will be more likely to answer a cold call compared to more tech-centric departments.

Take the time to analyze the businesses and consumers you’re reaching out to, and understand the likelihood that they’ll answer before taking the time to prepare your script and call them up only to get sent to voicemail.

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Use Good Data

You should be putting a lot of emphasis on having good data that is both clean and accurate. Whether you’re using real time leads or aged leads, you’re going to continually need to verify, update, and clean up your data.

This “data hygiene” will ensure you go into each and every cold call with accurate and usable information. This means keeping up to date phone numbers, email addresses, locations, client names, etc.

Create a system of tools and even a separate data hygiene checklist that you go through periodically in order to make sure you have accurate and generally good data. This will increase contact rates inherently: you can’t get an answer from a lead if you’re calling the wrong number, can you?

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Build up Brand Impressions

Cold calling asks a lot from you. Not only do you have to take the time to call up someone who isn’t expecting your call, but then you’re expected to introduce yourself, your brand, your product, your company, etc.

And you essentially need to be able to do all of that even before they pick up the phone.

Now what do we mean by that? We mean that your number showing up on your lead’s caller ID should spark recognition from the caller in order for them to pick up.

That means your brand impression and message should be clear to even just potential leads to influence them to think, “Hey, I think I know who that is and what this company is about. I’m going to pick up the phone.”

Anything that you can do to bring up the familiarity of your name and your business’ name will help with that initial call/opening, and it’s going to help them actually pick up the phone and speak to you.

So how can you actually do this? Get your name out there! Update your social media, post on Instagram, send out emails, make YouTube videos, set up a website, create blog content, etc. Converse with these leads over these other communication outlets as well.

That way, they’ll already have experience with you and potentially have had other conversations with you, which means they’ll understand you, your business, and your brand before they even head into this call with you. And when people feel like they already know you before you even speak, they’re much more likely to pick up the phone when you call.

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Call at the Right Time

Similar to the point we made in step 1, ask yourself: are you calling at the right time?

There have been numerous studies backed by science looking at the best times to call, down to the minute. But you don’t necessarily need that; just think logically.

Is calling at the end of the day on a Friday really a good idea? Is calling in the middle of the work day going to be effective? Would you answer the phone from a number you barely recognize when you have twenty emails to answer and are about to head into a meeting?

No on all counts, right?

But what about during the morning or evening commute? People don’t have anything else to do besides look at the tail lights of the car in front of them, so why not answer?

Lunchtime is another great one. While not everyone will pick up the phone during lunch, the chance is much higher that they have a bit of free time to answer the call, especially if all they’re doing is browsing social media while eating.

Take mortgage calls, for example. Perhaps you’re calling a stay at home parent who would have plenty of time to talk during the day when the kids are at school. Or maybe you need to call when both spouses are available. In that case, you might be better off calling on the weekend.

Think about the gaps of time your consumers have and arrange your calls around those times.

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Call Inbound Leads Fast

This is critical! If you get an inbound lead from your website, your app, or any other method, that means that they’re available and on their device, ready to talk!

So why not call them immediately? Waiting even a little bit means they could be away from their phone/device, and it’s essentially like starting with cold data.

If you want to increase your contact rates, as soon as that form gets filled in or as soon as you get that inbound lead, give an immediate call.

Not only does this almost guarantee that they’ll be available to talk, but the consumer will also just have been browsing your website, your brand, and your information. They’ll have that brand impression we talked about in step 3 fresh in their mind, making them even more likely to pick up.

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Have a Website!

We’ve mentioned a website a few times already in this post, and we’d be surprised if you didn’t have a website in this day and age. But just in case it needs to be said: you must have a website.

Imagine this scenario: you don’t have a website. You call someone, they don’t answer, and you leave a voicemail. What’s the first thing they’re going to do after they listen? Head over to the computer to find your website to learn more.

Except that website doesn’t exist, and you’ve potentially lost a customer since now they can’t find your business, and they’re much less likely to work with a business that doesn’t have a website.

So if you do have a website, great! Make sure it can be found easily by consumers and leads you’re calling. This ups the professionalism of your business, and increases the chance that your leads will pick up (and that you’ll have leads to call in the first place!).

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Use Good Tools

The old days of Excel spreadsheets filled with contacts and little scraps of paper in bulging paper files should be a thing of the past. Cold calling requires multiple calls, follow-ups, data management, and data hygiene (remember step 2?) that simply cannot be managed with the old fashioned methods.

You need data management systems, large databases, and other tools.

Firstly, and perhaps most importantly, you need a good Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system. This one system will allow you to schedule follow up calls, organize all of the information, run drip email campaigns, and run long term lead nurturing all through mostly one-click and pre-programmable systems.

A dialer is another great tool that will increase your efficiency. Imagine a world where you don’t have to look up a number, physically dial, or wait to hear a voicemail yourself. Isn’t that a cold caller’s dream?

A dialer can make that a reality. All you have to do is hit a button and the technology will automatically dial them number and drop the call if you get a voicemail. While voicemails can be useful in some cases, many times you simply want to drop the call and move onto the next prospect.

You can also use other tools like ringless voicemail, email campaigns, and text messaging in order to boost your contact rates by increasing brand impression and boosting your calling efficiency.

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Need Some More Help Boosting Your Cold Call Contact Rates?

Cold calling can be critical to gaining new customers as well as keeping old leads interested in you and your business. But it’s demoralizing and time-consuming to call hundreds of number to only “reach the voicemail box of….” and not speak to an actual person.

The good news is that these 7 tips are tried and true ways that we’ve lifted our cold call contact rates up to the golden range of 15-20%.

Still have questions? Let me know in the comments below! Also let me know how you cold call and what your average contact rate is. We’d love to start a discussion and see what content we can provide you with that can directly help your business!


Show Transcript
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Hey lead store fans. This is bill rice again with another week of sales training. Uh, and today we are going
to be talking about cold calling and specifically how to increase our contact rate. I’m going to give you
seven different steps that I use in a framework to enhance my cold calling contact rate in this video.
Okay. Before we dive into the actual content today, I would love for you to subscribe and hit that
notification button. So, uh, that bell there so that you will get a notification every time we go live or we
publish a new sales training video. We want you to be here. Also, as always, I like to open with a
question. The question is, are you cold calling leads? Currently these can be realtime leads, these could
be aged leads. If you are cold calling leads, please in the comments put yes if you are not cold calling
leads, uh, put it in the comments.
No, I love this because it kind of gives me a feel for this audience and the things that are important to
you and what you’re actually doing currently in your sales process. Helps me to shape my future content
and the things that I present on this a youtube channel. So appreciate that comment. If you are, um,
actually cold calling leads, put yes. If you’re not cold calling leads, put no. All right, let’s jump in here. So
our actual goal and target rate, a four contact on cold calls. And when I say contact, I mean somebody
actually picked up the phone and you heard a alive voice. Um, our goal should be around 15 to 20%. If
you’re doing something lower than that, which probably you are, you’re probably in the single digits, I
would imagine. Um, the fact of the matter is you’re kind of, um, setting up a system that’s very
inefficient with your, uh, sales time, where your sales forces sales time.
So we need to do something to increase that content, that contact rate, such that when you are cold
calling a, you’re being effective with your time. Anything, again, lower than a 15 or 20% contact rate,
you’re going to be wasting a lot of your sales day. And just, you know, dialing on tones, right? So here’s
what we’re going to do. In order to lift that contact rate, the first thing you need to ask yourself is, am I
calling people who will actually pick up their phone, uh, or have a high probability of picking up their
phone? Um, with this particular audience on this channel, I do a lot of sales team training with Btby, um,
uh, folks that are calling on companies and individuals within a company. Uh, and in that case, uh, we
really have to analyze this because a lot of times, let’s say you’re calling on CTOs or CEOs or people that
are the technical executives, oftentimes they don’t use their phones as much they prefer and things like
email and different types of communication methods.
Uh, whereas if we’re calling, I’m in a different area of the PR marketing. Uh, those folks have a tendency
to pick up their phones. So we analyze this a lot more, uh, for aged lead store and the type of folks that
you are. Generally you’re calling on consumers for financial services type products, insurance, mortgage,
maybe you’re doing solar or home improvement, those sorts of things. But in all cases you’re calling on
consumer, see kind of get this one as a Freebie. Uh, generally, uh, consumers, uh, are probably going to
pick up their phone and answer. So you’re ahead of the game with step one. Step two, super critical. We
want to have good data and you know, at age, lead store we put a lot of emphasis on having good data
and doing everything that we can, uh, to help to verify and validate the data that we have a and
continually keep it as clean and as accurate as possible.
Um, inherently inside of your data set, even with realtime leads or potentially with your past client
leads, there will be some need for data hygiene to go through a, into use services to make sure that your
data is as accurate as possible. And then of course with age leads, this is inherently a, the the problem of
a last time people change phone numbers, people change emails. But again, there are opportunities in
our case you can exchange those, uh, back in. But in all cases with data, there are a lot of tools, uh, and
services that will help you with that data hygiene process. So in order to get these, these contact rates
up, I would say one of your best first steps is to investigate and put into place some sort of data hygiene
process to make sure that you’re calling on good, accurate data.
Then number three, um, one of the problems with cold calling inherently is you’re reaching out to
somebody that’s not expecting your call. Uh, and you’re having to introduce yourself. You’re potentially
having to introduce your company. I’m one of the best ways you can move through that opening, uh, in
a very effective way, is to try to do other things on top of your database that will help you start to build
up brand impressions, right? So you’re like, Bill, this isn’t a marketing video. Uh, yes, but even in sales,
uh, anything that you can do to bring up the familiar [inaudible] of your name and your company’s name
will help you on that initial call. When you make those contact, when they see that call come in or they
see your name or they hear your name, uh, this is going to help with that opening and it’s going to help
them actually pick up the phone.
Some of the ways that you can, uh, improve your brand impressions is to start to connect them in other
ways or kind of engage them in other ways so that they start to see you and potentially actually
anticipate a call because of a conversation that you had in email or a conversation that you had on
messenger because saw you on Facebook or they actually, um, so some sort of content that you put out
on Facebook and started to engage with you as an individual or you as a company and they start to
anticipate a call or they ask for a call. Um, having a website, we’re going to talk about that in a second.
Youtube, um, something just amazing about youtube to be able to get in front of their, communicate
some information, some knowledge, and educate that consumer so that they’re a better client.
That they’re actually already starting to understand the philosophy at which you go at, um, kind of
delivering your product under a, and then actually seeing your face, the knowing who you are, knowing
your personality is how your voice is going to sound. Again, making them more likely to pick up that
phone. Uh, when you make the call, call it the right time. There’s all kinds of data research, um, sort of
Voodoo science around windows, the right time to call. But one thing that I like to do is just kind of think
about when might my client be most susceptible or more likely to actually pick up their phone a few
times. That has to know to work for me a lunchtime. A lot of times we’re engaging, uh, our consumers,
uh, at work, right? Our Work Day is the same as their workday. Um, and so sometimes, um, the best
time is to figure out those gaps in their work day and work them into your call flow.
Right? Early in the morning, commute time, super effective. They’re trapped in their car, they see the
phone ring and they don’t have anything else to do, right. They’re likely to pick it up and I can actually
entertain them or engage them while they go through their morning commute. So that’s always a really
effective time for me when I was calling on mortgages and for mortgages, and that was a beautiful time
because again, community time, and that can be both ends of that, right? It could be in the morning, it
could be in the the evening commute. So in that commuter time, super productive lunchtime potentially
usually take a little break. They might actually pick up on a call and they might just be able to pick up on
a call, whereas those other times they’re in a meeting or they’re, you know, in their cube and it can’t
actually take a call.
So try not to hit those kind of core business or work times four and consumer. The other thing, uh,
Saturdays and Sundays, a lot of times they’re sort of relaxing, chilled a, if you’re doing a product like
mortgage that often has the spousal objection and you need the spouse room, uh, this can be kind of
the best time to know that, oh, the spouse is probably in the house and they can kind of put them
together on the phone call. Uh, the other thing that’s sort of related to this is text messaging. Um, so if
you’ve made a call and you have, um, kind of, this all depends on kind of your company’s approach or
your personal approach to text message, but if you feel like you have the okay to text them again during
the workday, actually texting them at the core parts of the workday has also been very effective for me
because again, they can’t take a phone call and they’re almost appreciative that you’ve texted them
cause they’re willing to take the distraction.
They probably really want to work through their mortgage and get it done. Um, and so text messaging
becomes actually really effective, a way to actually increase your contact rate. It’s not an actual call, but
it’s as good as a call because you’re communicating. Call inbound leads fast. I can’t emphasize this
enough. If you do have a channel where you’re getting inbound leads, like for instance, your website,
um, it’s really important they’re there. They’re on your phone, they’re ready to take a call, call them
immediately. If you wait for hours or even days, it’s essentially like starting with cold data. Um, so make
sure if you want to increase your contact rates and you get inbound leads, as soon as that form gets
filled in, the lead gets into your CRM, give that an immediate call, uh, and you’ll increase, uh, obviously
that contact rate have a website.
I can’t emphasize this enough, and I have talked to Ed. A lot of you that do not have a website when
you’re doing cold calls and you’re reaching out to somebody and they’ve listened to your voicemail. Um,
the first thing I guarantee you that they’re going to do is they’re going to Google your name and they’re
going to Google your business or your company. And if they can’t find a website or they can’t find
anything on the web about you, I can guarantee you they are not going to take those subsequent calls,
right? You have to have a website. It’s a part of being a professional. Uh, so make sure that not only do
you have a website, but that website you can actually be found. And so there’s people that can help you
with that. But you have to have a website and you have to be found with the information that you
provide on your voicemail.
So if you say, hey, this is bill rice, I work for Kaleidico and I can help you with digital marketing, those
three pieces of information should be able to be put in Google and I should be able to find you. Right?
So super important. Have a website, use good tools. Um, I can’t emphasize this enough. I know a lot of
you are still calling out of spreadsheets or off pieces of paper that has not the right way to do it this day
and age. You’re going to require multiple followups. If you’re doing cold calling, you’re gonna have to
call over and over and over again. There is no way that you can effectively manage the number of
people that you need to manage the size of the database you need to manage in order to be effective to
make a living, uh, any of your guys’ industries, right?
Insurance, mortgage, solar leads, medicare supplements. You need to have a huge database and you
need to be working a full system. So you have to have a good tool or set of tools. So when I’m talking
about tools, what am I talking to? First and foremost, you have to have a CRM, you have to have a CRM.
Let’s say that again, you have to have a CRM, you have to have a that you can work on and that other
tools can work on that data for you, right? That you can do drip email campaigns that you can efficiently
call with one click. Out of that, you can actually run long term lead nurturing. You can schedule
followups, you have to have a CRM that can help you scale across that data. You might also introduce
other tools. Again, many of these I would suggest a dialer, no one this day and age wants to look at their
CRM, pick up their phone and dial in.
You’ll never get enough sales. That way you’ll never be able to make enough calls. You need to look at
your laptop on your screen, hit the button, the phone number and it dials for you, right or you to load
up a list and it just dials through you and you’re just sitting there waiting for connect. Um, I can’t tell you
a dialer will change your life. Voicemail drops. You don’t want to be sitting there leaving voicemails.
Sometimes it’s good. You’ve heard me in videos, talk about how s voicemails are kind of some of the
best training you can get for your sales voice. But generally for most of your calls, you’re going to want
to hit the button and drop it, hit the button and drop it. Or you can actually do your initial calls and
actually leave voicemail drops in order to build up.
Um, the impression. So ringless voicemail, uh, that technology is super interesting, right? Cause it
actually leaves a ringless voicemail. So you’re building up an impression before you actually make that
physical first call. Drip email of course want to get into their email box. That’s the starts, the process of
them hearing your name and your company and what you can do and help them with. Um, and then
text messaging. Again, this is going to be individual based on your kind of interpretation of the current
laws. I’m, I’m not legal, uh, and we’re not going to help you with legal advice, but at that stage at which
you feel comfortable, uh, that you have the permission to text that individual or you’re in the process of
working with a customer text messaging is awesome. And so you need to be able to do that with a tool
on scale, um, so that you can efficiently just like call as you can efficiently do a lot of text messaging and
create some consistent, frequent communication.
So hopefully as always, this has been helpful for you. This is the seven step framework that I use to lift
my contact rate and tried to get into this target 15 to 20% contact rate when I’m cold calling. Uh, as
always, we’d love to remind you, subscribe and notify if you’ve enjoyed this, hit the, uh, up thumbs up
Arrow if you enjoyed this video. And as always, if there’s any questions that I’ve raised in your mind or
you’re stuck somewhere, leave me a comment and I’m going to be in there trying to help you have
better sales performance each and every week.

About Bill Rice

Bill Rice is the Founder & CEO of Kaleidico, a lead generation agency. Bill specializes in mortgage marketing, legal marketing, lead management, and sales automation.

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