Complete guide to cold calling [+ sales cadence example]

Updated on
November 3, 2023

Cold calling is like a neat suit. 👔 It gets the job done and it never goes out of style.

This guide is packed with actionable advice from people who are making a living by deploying quality cold calling tactics. Today, they're sharing these tactics with you, including:

  • how to find phone numbers of your prospects
  • how to prepare for a quick call
  • how to overcome the fear of rejection
  • how to consistently improve your performance
  • what tools to use for cold calling

Plus, we will also show you the sales cadence we use at lemlist where cold calling plays a big role.

Prepare your Wolf of Wall Street chest thump and let the games begin!

cold calling

What is cold calling?

Cold calling is the process of calling prospects who don’t know you to book further meetings and sell them your product or service.

Wondering why you need it in the era of automation and emails?

The thing is that inboxes are filled with messages. And it’s easy to miss an email in such a dynamic space.

Hence, cold calling, no matter how much you thought is useless, is still one of the best ways to build relationships with prospects before trying to sell something.

How to find the phone numbers of your prospects?

Finding the phone numbers of your prospects is as important as finding email addresses.

Let’s quickly go through some ways of doing it:

Way #1: Use online prospect databases

This is probably the easiest and quickest way to find phone numbers.

When doing prospecting through databases, like UpLead or ZoomInfo, you will get prospects’ phone numbers as well.

uplead database

As you already understood this is the paid way to find phone numbers. And it will cost you from $99 per month (if you choose UpLead) for 200 credits monthly.

But let's be honest, if there’s potential for big deal closure, it's worth it.

Way #2: Use ColdCRM Chrome extension

This Chrome forks on LinkedIn and Facebook, and helps to find numbers with ease.

All you need to do is just to go to the person's profile and click "Get a phone number". Once the number is found - you can see it in ColdCRM and save it for later.

Don't want to use the Chrome extension? Not a problem - you can upload a list of social media URLs and get the phone number associated with the profiles.

The pricing starts from $99/mo for 10 direct dials phone credits, but you can start for free and have 3 phone credits to try.

Way #3: Search white pages

White pages can be a great source of information and phone numbers.

There are dedicated white pages websites for any country.

For example, if your prospects are living in the USA - you can use this site to look for numbers.

Simply put the prospect’s name and city, and it will give you relevant results:

whitepages for phone nubmers

But there’re two problems you can encounter with this method:

  • You won’t be able to find your prospect (in this case there’s nothing you can do).
  • You will get 100s of results like in the example above. In this case, try to use other information you have (age, street, etc.) to identify the right prospect.

Way #4: Use the company numbers to find prospects' number

This is one less-scalable way of finding prospects' phone numbers that will give you the most relevant results.

Essentially, what you want to do is to use the company's official number.

Go over to the company website, and usually, in the footer or the contact section, you will be able to find the numbers for different inquiries or headquarters:

company numbers

Now, this isn't the phone number of your prospect, so you will need to pass the gatekeeper to find out the actual number of your prospect.

Alternatively, you can open Google and use search operators.

Type --> "phone number"
how to find a phone number

Way #5: Check social networks

Do you connect to your prospects before actually calling them? I bet you do.

Then this way won't take lots of time, so just check your prospects' LinkedIn and Facebook to see if they mentioned their phone numbers there.

If you are connected to these networks, the chances to get numbers are higher because some people can limit visibility only to friends.

Way #6: Receive the answer to your email

As we all know, the prospect’s email is far more accessible than a direct phone number 😅.

But if you can receive the answer via email from your lead, the chances to receive the phone number increase a lot.

Why? Typically, they have phone numbers in their email signature. Another option is to try sending an email outside office hours.

When you send an email outside office hours, some prospects have “auto-responders” set.

When you get your auto-respond, there is a chance to find a phone number in the signature.

finding phone numbers

This is not the best or the most scalable way to do this, so we don’t suggest using this as your go-to strategy for finding phone numbers. In some cases, it can mess up your email deliverability if you overdo it.

So only do this occasionally, when you’re looking for some significant phone number, but you’re not able to find it in some other way.

How to quickly prepare for a cold call?

When you have a list of numbers, you have to make sure you are ready to call.

Preparation is what differentiates cold calls that convert from those that don’t.

Let’s assume that you already did in-depth research and lead qualification while you were preparing your prospect list.

But is there something that can make your call even more personalized and converting?

Here’s what you can do:

  • Take a look at prospects’ activity once again to personalize your opening line

Have they tweeted something recently? Published on LinkedIn? Wrote an in-depth article?

All this info might be helpful cause any personalization will likely get a better response rate and you will be able to build a better relationship with the person you are calling.

  • Prepare a one-page note-taking template

Whether it's a sales demo, cold call, or any other appointment - taking notes is super important. They help you keep a record of what was discussed and be able to quickly recall everything. The one-page template is exactly what you need.


  • It's clean and simple
  • Has everything you need
  • Doesn't take too much of your space
  • Keeps everything organized and cleaned

Here's what it looks like:

taking notes

How to overcome the fear of rejection?

Fear of rejection is one of the biggest problems for new cold callers. Cold calling is stressful at first, but with practice you'll be a cold calling expert.

You would probably be rejected several times before you figure things out. But that shouldn’t be the deal-breaker for you.

Here are a few tips for cold calling that will help you with this:

Tip #1: Think about your goals

On live webinars in lemlist family community, we asked Morgan Ingram, one of the leading cold calling experts, that same question.

How do you keep yourself motivated? What are your goals? Think about them.

They force you to move forward even when you get thousands of "No's". If you have a clear goal in your mind (such as schedule 20 meetings per week), you won't pay attention to rejections and only focus on success.

Tip #2: Take the maximum from the “I don’t have time” situation

While cold calling you will probably sometimes hear this frustrating I don’t have time phrase.

So, how to handle this?

This exact question we asked Milovan Milosevic, VP of Revenue Operations at Shyft.

In his words, when someone tells that they don't have time to discuss or try your product, there are a few things to keep in mind:

  1. you are not doing a good job setting up the whole conversation that led to that conclusion
  2. you haven't shown that there is pain within that specific problem you're trying to solve, that will motivate them to hear you out

What to do? Below is a practical example from Milovan of dealing with this type of rejection:

I completely understand, could you please provide some feedback to me what could have I done better to get you to land 15 minutes to actually see the product?

That will open up potentially a conversation and actually show you the reason why they say "I have no time".

In some cases, it's because they are too busy or you just caught them in the peak of their season. So you can ask to put them on the calendar to contact them later.

One more thing you can say:

I completely understand, I know you are overwhelmed and I'm not going to be pushy. But if you give me 30 minutes of your time - you will be able to XYZ [your product main value prop].

By acknowledging it like this, you’re showing them that you care about their time while also explaining that the next step doesn’t involve too big an investment.

How to improve your cold calling skills?

Based on our research and talk with different cold calling experts, such as Morgan Ingram, we crafted for you the list of 5 best cold calling tips to have better call performance:

  1. Stand up while you talk. You'll have more energy and be fearless while cold calling
  2. Have a bullet-point list of prospects' data that you want to mention. This will help you won't forget important things
  3. Call similar people at the same time. Pick the related people, with the same job roles and in the same industry and call them at the same time. This way, you'll be able to use "general" personalization and "desire" triggers that are associated with all of them
  4. Take notes. By taking them you will be able to recall the main things you discussed: problems, goals, etc
  5. Keep track of your calls and metrics. Proper call tracking is essential for your strategy and your cold calling sales funnel should look like this:
  • leads - total number of leads you have
  • calls - total number of calls you need to make or you made
  • reached - how many leads have you actually reached out to?
  • qualified - how many of those reached leads are qualified?
  • closed - how many leads did you close?

Sales cadence we use to book more meetings

Building a sales cadence that works takes time.

The things you should consider while creating your own cadence are:

  • Duration: how long your sales cadence lasts
  • Attempts: how many times do you contact a lead
  • Media: what channels to use to make these contacts
  • The spacing: how long is the break between contacts

Here's what our looks like:

lemlist sales cadence

This is a multichannel sales cadence where we use LinkedIn, emails, and cold calling.

The duration of the cadence is 21 days and we have 5 contact points during this period.

The first touchpoint is LinkedIn. Being a vastly popular space in the B2B space, it's a great place to start.

Plus, before we send a cold email, we want to establish a connection with our prospects so they can be like this when they see our email.

For cold emails, the goal is to get a reply, not sell. We accomplish this by making the email hyper-personalized. In other words, more human.

Be that a dynamic text tag, custom image or a dynamic landing page, genuine personalization in cold emails is what makes your reply rate sky high.

cold email template

Pro tip: Personalized video thumbnail template

The goal of this template is to get clicks and redirect people from their
inbox to a dynamic landing page (feature in lemlist) where people can watch the video and book a meeting with you. But you can redirect them]
anywhere you want.

To this day, Guillaume booked over 300 meetings using this template.

Wanna learn how to create a personalized video thumbnail? Check this resource

The next in line is the cold call.

The cold call happens if LinkedIn and cold email didn't provide us with a response.

Our go-to tool is Aircall. We love it because it's super friendly, integrates natively with lemlist, and is really a robust call calling software with a lot of inbound and outbound sales features.

Check this guide to call center software and call center best practices.

During the cold call, we don't go all-in on sales. The goal is to connect with our prospects. Usually through a joke on not replying so far and through something we have in common.

Before the cold call, we always have a deeper understanding and intel about their company, pains, and how we think we can help.

The objective is to communicate that in a personalized way and sparkle interest. Either that or to identify the prospect who will never convert and save time.

If they're interested, we'd either spend more time talking or book a discovery call, depending on various factors such as their availability, company size, and their decision-making process.

If we can't dial them or they miss our call, it's up to our two follow-ups to make it happen.

How you write your follow-up emails will vary on your entire sequence and call-to-action.

We leverage two schools of thought. Either we try to add more value with every additional follow-up, or we send quick reminders and check if we're emailing the right person in the team.

cold email templates
Need more cold email templates? Check our resource hub

This sales cadence lasts 21 days and consists of 5 contacts in total.

As for results, in Q2 2020, our growth rate was 22.4%, signing a pretty sweet amount of larger deals in the process. 😎

For more info on the business growth, check the latest article by our CEO.

But, as we already mentioned, every cadence is different. It depends on various factors that vary from business to business and from product to product.

Once you have set up the sales cadence, you need to see if the cadence is working for you by bringing in the desired results. So just test the sales cadences that you build and adjust as needed until you find what works best for your business.

Bottom line

As you can see, cold calling might be a super useful and effective outbound strategy you can use besides cold email outreach.

To recap all of this once again:

  • Don’t be feared of rejection and learn from them
  • Practice all the time
  • Always prepare great questions before the call
  • Don’t spend time doing tasks that can be automated. Use some of the sales and cold calling tools instead
  • Don’t speak about yourself. Focus on your client and his goals

And may the sales force be with you! 🤞

What you should look at next
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How to Execute a Sales Discovery Call
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Nicolas Gromer
November 6, 2023
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Top 10 cold-calling tips to close more deals
In this article, we share the top 10 cold-calling tips from real sales experts that are proven to work and will help you book more meetings.
lemlist team
October 24, 2023