Cold calling is an attempt to solicit business from a potential customer, via the telephone, who may or may not know about your company.

Whether your company is new and doesn’t yet have the connections or financial means to avail itself of other forms of marketing, or your sales team wants to ensure that all potential prospects have been exhausted, cold calling represents a “ready-to-go” method of finding new leads.

How to Make Cold Calls with These Simple Strategies:

Smile and Dial

Next time you go to pick up the phone, hold a smile for at least twenty seconds, whether you’re in a call room or at your desk.

While it may seem silly at first, recent research suggests that wearing a smile – genuine or not – brings certain benefits that can help reluctant cold callers:

Reduce stress. University of Kansas researchers found that smiling during a stressful situation can lower heart rates and reduce the stress response.

Lowers your heart rate. Even just holding your mouth in a way that resembles a smile (participants in an experiment were asked to hold a chopstick horizontally in their mouth) is effective.

Research your markets and prospects before cold calling

You need to target your cold calling to the right audience. Use market research to focus on your target market. (See How to Find and Sell to Your Target Market.) Then find out as much as you possibly can about the company or individual you’re going to call in advance. This gives you the huge advantage of being able to talk about their business and their needs when you call them.

According to the Gartner Group, in a typical business with 100-500 employees an average of seven people is responsible for most buying decisions, so connecting with the right people is critical to your cold calling success.

Prepare a Strong Opening Sentence

You have ten seconds to prove to that you’re worth talking to, so differentiate yourself from other callers. After introducing yourself, turn the focus to your prospect by weaving in your research and personalizing the call.

For example, You could open with a compliment on a recent professional accomplishment you came across through research.

Know the Best Times to Make Cold Calls

Weekday afternoons are the best time to make cold calls, according to the analysis of over 25,000 sales calls. The majority of calls lasting over five minutes occur between 3:00-5:00 pm on Tuesdays or Thursdays.