Cold Calling Guidelines for Practical and Actionable Prospecting

So you’ve got yourself a list of new leads to turn into possible customers. Now comes the hard part — the cold call. 

Daily, sales reps (mostly SDRs) face the daunting task of turning cold calls into warm calls.

Sales reps look to increase conversion rates by upping their cold call game. And If you haven’t tried out cold calling scripts yet, now’s the time. 

Along with actionable intelligence, guidelines for cold calls allow both sales managers and SDRs to tailor their sales processes. Cold calling scripts help keep conversations on track toward a successful warm call — and beyond.

Let’s take a look at what should go into cold calling guidelines, what regulations to follow, and how to create a cold call script.

What are the Rules on Cold Calling?

Guidelines for cold outreach may vary by company and department, but every organization must follow SEC regulations.

Although B2C companies get almost all attention for unwanted cold outreach, for B2B companies, the following is what the SEC lays out:

Times of Day

As a sales professional, you can make cold calls to company phones at any time of day (preferably during business hours). 

Cold calling is different for home (and personal mobile) phones — sales reps must call from 8 am to 9 pm. This is unless the recipient is already a customer (not a lead), or you have their permission to call outside of those times.

Reason for Calling

Be upfront and transparent with your prospects. Tell them who you are and why you’re calling — include your name, company, location, phone number, and purpose for your call (truthfully).

And be prepared to answer the tough question: “How did you get my contact information?” 

As the conversation progresses, share relatable (not deceptive) details of your product or service.

“Do Not Call List”

Your organization must have its own version of a “do not call list.” And if the person you’re calling asks to be on it, you have to comply. There’s also a national “do not call” list managed by the FTC.

What are the Do’s and Don’ts of Cold Calling?

There are plenty of reasons why 1 out of 2 B2B sales reps fear making cold calls, but preparation can boost their confidence.

Consider these following tips to get more success in your cold calls — before, during, and afterward:


  1. Research your prospect (Who are they? How does your product or service fit into their operation?)
  2. Practice your cold calling script.
  3. Take your lead’s time of day into consideration.
  4. Anticipate gatekeepers (the jaded call operators).
  5. Plan different ways to close in every avenue of conversation.
  6. Keep your messaging individualized and personable.
  7. Leave a voicemail if they don’t pick up.
  8. Follow up after the call (preferably by email).


  1. Waste your time calling unfit, or barely fit leads — find out exactly who’s in your market.
  2. Assume you’ll always get direct access to an executive or decision maker — study the org chart.
  3. Lead with a pitch — let it fit in after discovery conversation.
  4. Sound robotic or recite a one-size-fits-all message — personalize with various options.
  5. Interrogate them — ask open-ended questions about their pain points.
  6. Center the conversation on yourself — get to know their day-to-day operations and challenges.
  7. Wing it when faced with objections — plan them out in advance.
  8. Forget about the social proof — keep customer success stories in your arsenal.
  9. Let your value proposition age — review it regularly.

Check out more cold calling tips in our eBook – 9 Cold Calling Tips and Tricks to Generate More Leads.

Creating a Cold Call Sales Script 

Creating cold calling guidelines is equal parts following legal regulations, sticking to company values, and adding personality. 

Even if your call recipient doesn’t know about your company, they should get a sense of its values. Insert company-specific language into your cold calling strategies and scripts.

But don’t rush into selling — at the beginning of a conversation, take some time to get to know the lead (and maybe utilize a scoop!).

And after a good deal of cold calls are done, collect feedback from previously called (and willing) prospects, and adapt them to calling guidelines.

Cold Call Sales Script Template

This cold calling script template comes with a few options to apply during the conversation:

Hi, this is [name] with [company]!

[Uh, what’s this regarding?]

  1. I want to congratulate you on your recent [award, achievement, or promotion]
  2. I saw that your organization is [going through an acquisition, product launch, gathered a round of funding, etc.]

[Chat for as long as it’s comfortable, then position:]

  1. So I’m working on an initiative for [lead’s industry] to improve their [industry-specific goal]. How is your [goal]?
  2. I work with clients in [lead’s industry] to address their [industry-specific challenge]. Is that something you also deal with?

[Lead responds with goals and challenges]

Tell me more about how it’s affecting your day-to-day.

[Lead goes into their operations]

So what I’m hearing is [recite their responses (not word-for-word)]

[Lead responds]

Let’s talk further about how we can take care of that. How does a meeting next week at 11 sound? [or whichever time]

Back in 2007, it took 3-4 cold call attempts to reach a prospect. Now it takes 8 attempts. Crafting a calling script, on top of building a cold calling strategy, can help reduce the amount of those attempts.

Final Thoughts on Guidelines for Cold Calling

In the end, your cold calls are about providing and offering value. Even if you have a successful cold call script, the work doesn’t end there. 

Warm calls mark the beginning of the sales cycle, which requires extensive personalization and communication.

Each cold call is a learning experience about intaking and sharing the value your company offers.