10 simple tricks to handle cold call rejection

Cold calling. At times it’s brutal. (Believe me, I’ve been through some gut-wrenching cold-calling sessions!)

But it can also be rewarding. (I’ve been through some pretty successful cold-calling sessions, too!)

Generating leads sometimes requires a cold-calling approach… whether you like it or not. So I’ve collected some of my favorite cold-calling-rejection-busting tips to help you!


  1. Plan ahead. Nothing kills momentum like having to stop to find a pen or to decide who to call next. And if you get a lot of rejections in a row, those pen-finding or call-strategizing sessions between calls become unconscious delaying activities. Have everything laid out and ready-to-go. Have a list of numbers you are going to call. If necessary, keep a clock nearby and try not to let more than 15 seconds elapse between calls. When 15 seconds have elapsed, you’d better be dialing the next number!
  2. If you get a ‘no’, don’t think of it as a rejection. Think of it as a learning opportunity and after the call, quickly jot down the reason why you think they said no.
  3. Never go into a call with just one thing to sell. Shoot for your main objective but try to have a couple secondary objectives in your back pocket (these back-pocket objectives might be slightly easier things for the prospect to agree to). For example, if your main objective is setting up an appointment, and the prospect says no, then pull your secondary objectives out of your pocket and suggest that you send them some marketing material or ask if you can call back six months from now.
  4. Ruthlessly record the details of your call. Record not only who you talked to and what was said but also other details that you can measure — like the date and time of the call, the duration of the call, what was accomplished (an appointment? a sale?), whether this was the first contact with them, anything you said that might have triggered a noticeable response. Write down the ‘no’ answers and the ‘yes’ answers. Review periodically for tips that might help you — such as how a particular demographic of your target market tends to respond.
  5. Look forward to the objections you get by collecting them! Every time you hear an objection, write it down on an index card. On the back of the card (after your calling session is over) write down some responses. Collect those objection cards like baseball cards. (Read more about it at my blog post Thrive on sales-killing objections or watch the video on YouTube). The more objections you collect, the better armed you will be for the future. Therefore, when you get those difficult calls with a lot of objections and rejection, even better! Your prospects are basically advising you on how to sell to them (and people like them) in the future!
  6. Don’t think of it as cold calling. Think of it as fact-finding or marketing or relationship building… but you also have an immediate “special offer” that you’re really excited to tell them about, which could solve a huge problem for them. (You would do that for anyone — friend or stranger — if they had a problem and you had a solution).
  7. For most financial and real estate professionals, you can’t possibly help everyone in the world. You only need to work with a small but loyal book of clients. (Chances are, you or your firm already have a target number). So, figure out figure out how many calls you need to make to get all the ‘yesses’ you need to fill your book. If you have a target book size of 200 people and your close rate is 10% then you need to make 2,000 calls. (Note: There might be other factors in this number that I don’t have the space to address — such as a ‘yes’ being an appointment and not a sale). But this number still gives you something to shoot for and you can cross off a number from your great big target goal every time you make a call regardless of the outcome of the call! (Here’s some food for thought: Seth Godin says you need 10 fans. Kevin Kelly says you need 1000 fans).
  8. Remember: There are lots of people out there who need the service you provide. You just need to find them. It’s like mining for gold: You have to move a lot of rock to get the gold… so roll up your sleeves and find enjoyment in the rock-moving (and you’ll enjoy the gold-finding all the more).
  9. When a cold call prospect says ‘no’, they’re not telling you: ‘never’… the prospect is only telling you ‘not right now’. Things might change. This call might just plant the seed that will send them back to you months or years later.
  10. My favorite rejection-handling tip: I love this tip and it really motivates me! Calculate how much money each and every call is worth! Let’s say that I earn $500 when I close on a call, and I close (on average) every tenth call. Another way of looking at is that I am earning $50 every time I make a cold call — whether or not they say ‘no’. It’s almost as if the 10th person is going to pay you to call the first 9 people!

Got any cold-calling-rejection-busting tips that have worked for you? Put them in the comments! I want to hear them all. Let’s help each other.

Published by Aaron Hoos

Aaron Hoos is a writer, strategist, and investor who builds and optimizes profitable sales funnels. He is the author of The Sales Funnel Bible and other books.

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