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5 Tips for Inside Sales Reps When on the Phone with New Prospects


Sales Prospecting Perspectives is pleased to bring you a post from Gillian Sontz, Business Development Representative at AG Salesworks. 

In B2B inside sales, you will often have to call lists, both warm and cold. When cold calling - which actually isn't that different than warm calling with the right preparation - it's important to make a strong first impression on new prospects. They've never heard of you before. They may have never even heard of your company before. Instead of coming off as a lazy sales rep interrupting their day's work, try out these cold calling tips to help position yourself as a trusted advisor first and foremost.  

1. Have a plan of action.

Before sales prospecting new contacts, it's important to know your objectives. Keep a notebook handy and map out your call, so you remember to get key information from the conversation. Here are some important questions to ask yourself:

  • Why am I calling this person?

  • What am I calling them about?

  • What do I already know about the company/prospect?

  • What pieces of information do I need to retrieve in order to make this a quality conversation?

  • What would the next step be should the prospect accept?

2. Do your research.

Don't forget - a prospect will hang up on you if he or she thinks you didn't do your research. Instead of "probing" into their environment, research their industry and their job role. Don't wait for them to explain their position; they don't have time! Here is a short checklist to complete when researching prospects:

  • Does he or she have a LinkedIn?

  • If so, are they still employed at the company?

  • Is the title of the prospect correct and up to date?

  • From exploring the website, would the company be a fit for what you are inquiring about?

3. Start off strong.

Introduce yourself and be friendly. This is the first impression the prospect has of you. Talk with confidence, and engage him or her with a general question. Here are some key components of a strong introduction:


Hi (Prospect’s name) this is Bob calling from (Company).

It's important that your greeting is clear and direct. You'll also want to personalize the greeting by including your prospect's name. 


How are you doing this afternoon?

How is your day going?

Every sales call is unique. Based on the prospects' response to your greeting, gauge whether or not he or she could benefit from an icebreaker. The icebreaker may be a welcome distraction from the prospects' work, and could further invest him or her in their conversation with you. However, some prospects prefer you to get to the point, so use your judgment to decide which would be best. 


The purpose of my call is to get an understanding of how you are currently managing your network capabilities. After speaking with a number of people in your position, I understand they are continuing to evolve in your industry.

State why you are calling. Are you trying to determine if he or she is the appropriate contact, or are you following up from a previous engagement? Remember to show that you did your research by speaking to industry needs and possible pain points. 

4. Use your resources.

You’re on a headset, so put those fingertips to work! And remember - people are resources, too! Have the company’s website tabbed so you can refer to it if needed, and have your notes from your research and from your call plan out in front of you should you need to refer to them. If you speak with an admin and the prospect is unavailable, don't hang up! The gatekeeper can be a huge resource, too. He or she can help you determine if the person you are trying to reach is the most appropriate contact. Lastly, take notes, as they will come in handy when documenting calls and generating lead write-ups. 

5. End on a high note. 

Regardless of whether or not your prospect was passed to the next step, whether or not he or she gave you a referral, or whether or not anyone offered you any information, always be polite.

Thank the prospect for taking the time to speak with you. Clearly identify the next step (if there is one): I will be following up, connecting you with my colleague, etc. End with a closing greeting, even if it is a simple “Take care” or “I look forward to speaking to you in two months.” Of all the calls high-level executives receive every day, you want to stand out by being politely persistent. 

With these tips, you should be armed to have simple sales conversations with new prospects. For a more in-depth look at call plans, check out the Ultimate Guide to Inside Sales Prospecting and Management eBook. What cold calling tips would you add?

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About the Author   |   Megan Tonzi

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