Cold calling, for many, invokes a sense of dread. You’re dialing a list of strangers (who most likely don’t want to talk to you). Resistance is inevitable—occasional rudeness; is very possible.

It’s easy to see why it hardly has salespeople skipping into work.

But this type of outreach remains an integral part of many sales cycles, so the key to success (or at least less dread and pain!) is, as with many things, down to our mindset.

Our perception colors how we see the world and, thus, how we interact with it. If we are twisting inside at the thought of cold calling, it exacerbates the whole process. However, if we can transform making calls from a chore into a more enjoyable activity, this has an impact not only on morale but also productivity.

Here are seven easily-actionable techniques to help you make cold calling fun.

1. Gamify the process

There was a great story in James Clear’s "Atomic Habits" about the young stockbroker who went from nothing to $5 million a year using a secret weapon unseen in any business book: Paper clips.

Each morning he’d put two jars on his desk. One was filled with 120 paperclips; the other was empty. Each time he would hang up after making sales call, he’d move one paperclip from the full one to the empty one until they were all moved over.

This is gamification- where game elements are incorporated into routine tasks. It is a simple but effective way to make daunting tasks more engaging. If you need another example of gamification, consider Duolingo. This app does a great job gamifying teaching foreign languages.

Adding gamification elements to your cold calls is a simple, low-cost, and easily actionable way to shift your mindset and add a little fun every time you reach for that handset. It can help you be consistent and hit your cold call daily goals. This practice can help you sharpen your skills and boost your outbound sales results. And what’s more, games are better when played with friends (or colleagues) so consider a little healthy competition to improve team morale.

For anyone looking to level up the process, gamification software like Hurrah! caters specifically to sales teams and cold callers, allowing a more tech-driven approach.

2. Spread it out

One hundred pushups might sound overwhelming, but what about seven push-ups every hour? Not so tough, right?

My partner used this method to complete the “squat challenge” that was doing the rounds on social media a few years back. This method is known as "chunking"- breaking a larger task into manageable bits, making it less daunting.

In this light, consider portioning out your calls. Instead of gulping as you stare at a list of 50 phone numbers (or log into your CRM), envision making seven calls every hour. It’s about setting frequent, achievable goals. The beauty is when these mini-goals are accomplished, our brains release dopamine, a feel-good neurotransmitter (linked with motivation and reward), which propels us to do more and keep this virtuous cycle going.

3. Update your perspective

The phrase, "you are what you eat," extends beyond just food. It’s about all consumption – food, thoughts, or beliefs. Shawn Achor’s "The Happiness Advantage" points out how our brains can be conditioned based on our focus. Spend hours playing Tetris; soon enough, the real world looks like a game of Tetris. (Bizarrely, that was not just an analogy!)

This harks back to what we said at the start about the importance of mindset. Our perspective and how we frame things are critical. The brain may have a negativity bias, but we can use what we know about its neuroplasticity (ability to change) to our advantage.

Applying this to cold calling, the more positivity you infuse into your daily routine, the brighter your outlook becomes. Make simple linguistic shifts. For instance, say, “I get to call” instead of “I have to call.” Embrace challenges as "areas of opportunity" It may sound a little wishy-washy, but it’s firmly rooted in science and an easy habit to build your sales confidence.

4. Visualize success

Visualization is a potent tool grounded in cognitive psychology and neuropsychology. It involves imagining a desired outcome to manifest it in real life. Athletes are most famous for it- visualizing that putt to win to Masters, for example- but it can also be hugely beneficial for sales reps calling potential customers. Before picking up the phone:

  1. Mind's Eye Rehearsal: Run a detailed mental simulation. Picture the client answering, their tone of voice, the questions they might ask, and your responses. This kind of mental rehearsal can increase your preparedness and decrease anxiety.
  2. Embrace the Emotions: Visualize how you'll feel when the call goes well. A key decision maker has responded favorably to your sales pitch. What are the emotions that are coming up? Do you feel joy, relief or maybe pride? This emotional anchoring can uplift your spirits and give you an upbeat demeanor, which the person on the other end can often sense.
  3. Affirmations: Follow-up visualization with positive affirmations. Statements like "I am capable," "I add value with each call," or "Every call brings me closer to my goal" reinforce self-belief and confidence. (How loud you choose to say these, we’ll leave at your discretion!)

5. Create a playlist

Music, as a rhythmic and harmonic phenomenon, has the unique ability to connect with our emotions. Understand which genres boost your mood. Maybe it’s a blast of AC/DC. Perhaps it's Katy Perry's “Firework.” (This is a judgment-free zone; whatever does it for you!)

Lyrics can inspire too. Songs like "Eye of the Tiger" or "Happy" can become your warm-up anthems, driving home messages of resilience, perseverance, or just plain joy. Playing a song before your phone calls can become a rhythmic routine that signals your brain into the 'cold call zone’ as you reach for the headset, much like athletes’ pre-game rituals.

6. Celebrate the small wins

Don’t sweat the small stuff; celebrate it!

In the world of B2B lead generation, where even the best cold calling wins can be sporadic, it's the journey and continuous learning that should be celebrated: Adopt the belief that each call, successful or not, is an opportunity for growth.

Did you learn a new sales objection? Did you handle a challenging potential client gracefully? These are all victories. Celebrate them as such.

Maybe even create a reward system. For every 20 calls, you get a favorite snack. For successful cold calls, a five-minute break to stretch and relax (or snicker at today’s selection of humble brags on LinkedIn... ). These mini-rewards can act as motivators, making each call feel productive.

At the end of the day, jot down three things you did well and one area of improvement. This practice not only celebrates your strengths but also identifies areas for growth.

7. Share and learn

Sales can be challenging but it’s easier when you're not in it alone. Here are a few ideas:

Role Play with Cold Calling Scripts:

Create different cold-calling scripts for various scenarios. Ask your teammates to role-play with you. You can take turns being the caller and the prospect. This helps you practice handling common objections, asking open-ended questions, and adapting to different situations. This way, you learn from each other's strengths and refine your cold calling techniques.

Voicemail Challenge:

We all know getting your call picked up is a game of luck. But you can still leave an impactful voicemail. Challenge your team to leave a voicemail that receives a callback. Experiment with different voicemail scripts, tones, and lengths. The best part? You'll improve your voicemail game in the process.

Dialer Duel:

Using a dialer can significantly increase your calling efficiency. But why not make it more fun? Challenge a teammate to a dialer duel. See who can make the most calls or set the most meetings using the dialer in a set timeframe. Remember, it's all in good fun and not just about quantity. Quality matters too.

Open-Ended Question Contest:

One of the critical skills in cold calling is asking open-ended questions that get the prospect talking. Why not have a contest to see who can come up with the best open-ended questions? These questions can help uncover the prospect's pain points, needs, and preferences.

Value Proposition Bingo:

Create a bingo card with different value propositions you offer. As you're making calls, mark off each value proposition as you mention it during the call. The winner can be the first to get a bingo (or the one with the most at the end of the day).

Story Sessions

Dedicate a time each week to share 'cold call stories.' It can be a therapeutic session where you laugh over bizarre interactions, empathize over tough calls, and celebrate the wins, big and small.

Collective Growth

Initiate a 'tip of the week' where each member shares one insight they've gained. This collective wisdom can be a repository of learning, helping each member develop their sales strategy for a better success rate in the future.

Put these cold calling tips into action today

By diving deeper into these cold-calling tips and understanding their rationale, sales professionals can foster an environment where cold-calling is not just a task but an enjoyable, enriching experience. And infinitely less painful!

Remember, the perspective you choose -and it IS a choice- is the most significant factor in your success.

(And, of course, a little bit of Katy Perry helps too).

While Qwilr can’t make the calls for you- unfortunately!- our proposal software can help you speed up the sales process afterward, providing the information for your buyers and the analytics for your sales team to deliver faster, more predictable sales outcomes.

Try it today for free and see for yourself.

About the author

Brendan Connaughton, Head of Growth Marketing

Brendan Connaughton|Head of Growth Marketing

Brendan heads up growth marketing and demand generation at Qwilr, overseeing performance marketing, SEO, and lifecycle initiatives. Brendan has been instrumental in developing go-to-market functions for a number of high-growth startups and challenger brands.