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Overcoming Fear of Cold Calling

As a salesperson, you, too, know well how overwhelming it can be to make the first cold call on the first day of the week. It is easy to feel jittery or avoid the situation when anticipating the dreaded call. After exhausting all your options, you reluctantly call the prospect’s number, bracing yourself for whatever might come your way.

Stress is often caused by the fear of rejection, which is one of the most common reasons for cold calling. Your ability to overcome this fear is essential for success in sales. You can take advantage of some tricks to succeed.

Plan ahead for the calls.

Preparation is the key to a successful cold call. Preparing for all potential scenarios and outcomes is the first step to conquering the fear of cold calling. Research is important: determine your buyer’s persona and ideal customer profile (ICP), identify the problems they commonly encounter and determine how you can help them solve those problems.

You should also be mentally prepared for an abrupt “No thanks” and know what to do if it happens. If you encounter objections or get negative feedback, you’ll be ready to handle them. As with everyone else, prospects are also trying their best to balance the demands of work and other life challenges. It is best not to take them personally or to let them affect you.  

Develop a solid sales script.

By keeping a script in mind, you will be able to avoid awkward moments on the phone. As a bonus, it reduces call anxiety, simplifies sales training for beginners, and enables sales representatives to lead the conversation in the right direction. The key elements of a script for cold calls include the following:

  1. Introduce yourself briefly and focus immediately on the topics that matter to your prospect.
  2. Start the conversation by giving the prospect some insight into why you are on the phone: “I am calling you today to …”
  3. If you aren’t sure if someone fits your ICP, ask five to ten qualifying questions.
  4. Adapt your offer to the prospect’s values: Using the answers to the pre-qualifying questions, offer an offer that will increase the prospect’s value and can enhance their perspective.
  5. As a closing note, finish with a call-to-action, such as setting up an appointment or arranging a follow-up phone call.

In addition to the elements listed above, a cold calling script can include many other elements.

Take some time to breathe.

A person takes 17 280 breaths a day on average. In contrast, the number might be much lower if an SDR is speaking with a significant prospect. Often, they forget to breathe in and out, ask questions, and engage with prospects because they are afraid of cold calling. As a result, they start to sound robotic, quickly repeating everything written in their script as fast as they can before the prospect hangs up.

However, speeding up won’t lead to increased conversions and won’t help you overcome your call anxiety. You should rather slow down, breathe deeply, and ask your question, then pause until you have an answer. Keep it simple.

Pauses are powerful tools that can help you convey your message more effectively, uncover your prospects’ pain points, and maximize the value of your call. Pauses increase your confidence and make your monologue sound like a conversation between two people.

Create a dialogue.

I believe cold calling should always be a two-way conversation, not a one-way show. You can get over the fear of cold calling faster if you receive signs of interest from your prospect during your call. You can do so in three ways:

  • Get more information. An opening question like “Hi, how are you?” will help you gain engagement.
  • Personalise your message. Learn more about your prospect’s personal and professional life before calling. For instance, complimenting your prospect on his or her last article, congratulating him or her on a recent job promotion, or highlighting a common ground you have (e.g., attending the same university) shows that you care and opens up a conversation.
  • Keep the conversation flowing. When you’re talking to a prospect, be sure that they can hear your voice. That’s why you shouldn’t go too long without speaking. You need to make sure that you understand your prospect’s words by rephrasing, summarising, and repeating them. Similarly, phrases such as “I see,” “I agree,” etc., show that you are knowledgeable and empathic listeners.

Create a process that is creative.

No matter how afraid you are of cold calling, there is a not-so-secret recipe that always works – keep it fun instead of stressful! You need to use creative methods to get the best sales results, and you can find them by doing the following:

  • Get your voice to sound better before the call by doing vocal exercises. 
  • Pump yourself up by listening to your favourite band. 
  • Have a colleague listen to the script. 
  • Check out speeches of great orators throughout history. 
  • Face the mirror as you practise your pitch. 
  • Experiment with different techniques to improve your communication skills.
  • Take time to recognize your successes.


Most people don’t enjoy making cold calls. Salespeople, however, may find it rewarding. Several simply become accustomed to it and appreciate its value.

Most people, however, experience anxiety when making cold calls. This is especially true at the beginning. Cold calling anxiety is a very common fear for salespeople, with 40% reporting it at some point in their career.

You can often overcome the anxiety by preparing well and then simply making some calls.