Part 2 of our two-part series with the Queen of Cold Calling, Wendy Weiss, is here! If you tuned into Part 1, you know what Wendy is all about, but if you didn’t…

Wendy is an author, speaker, sales trainer, and so much more! Wendy’s track record is impressive— she’s recognized as one of the leading authorities on lead generation, cold calling, and new business development.

In this episode, we’ll pick right up where we left off and chat with Wendy about overcoming rejection, why you need to optimize your calling scripts, and…

  • The structure of a successful call
  • How you should design your voicemail messages
  • Should you always follow your script to the letter?
  • How to know if your script is working
  • Quality vs. quantity
  • And more

Listen now…

Special Offer:

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Steffen Horst: Welcome to the Performance Delivered Insider Secrets for Digital Marketing Success Podcast, where we talk with marketing and agency executives and learn how they built successful businesses and their personal brand. I’m your host, Steffen Horst. Today we’re going to continue our conversation with Wendy Weiss about cold calling. If you have not had a chance to listen to the first episode where Wendy talks about building target lists, why cold calling is not dead, developing cold calling scripts and more, don’t forget to download the episode. Wendy, welcome back.

Wendy Weiss: Thank you for having me back, Steffen.

Steffen: Wendy, I think we stopped last time when you gave an example of how a cold calling script should be constructed. I think you talked about that there’s a difference between prospecting and selling so that this first touches about setting an appointment and not offloading what you can do and then having a long sales conversation with your target. So when people design their cold calling script, how much should they follow the script? How important is it for them to follow the script?

Follow a Script Or Just Wing It?

Wendy: It’s very important to follow this script. And a lot of, I know a lot of people are resistant to the idea of having a script. However, what the word script means is that you think before you talk, that you’re prepared. And so it’s actually like any other kind of marketing message in that you do the best that you can possibly do with your script. That’s one of the things we do with our clients is helped them create all their messaging.

And then you need to try it out. And sometimes it’s perfect. Sometimes you need to tweak it a little bit. But if you’re winging it all the time, then you don’t actually know what works. And it’s just like anyone doing really any kind of marketing. People that are great email marketers, they test. They send out the message to a sample and then they change the subject line and send it out to another sample and see which subject line is better.

And they, you know, will change something in the text of the email and see if it converts better than the first email. It’s, but if they’re sending out a different email every time and not tracking anything, they don’t actually know how their emails are doing. It is exactly the same here. And once you get it, and I’m not saying that people have to read it word for word. If you have a sales team, they’re different human beings, they need to be themselves and If they change a word here or there, that’s fine. But they really should stick fairly closely to the script and the ideas, the concepts that are contained within the script. When it works, it works.

Steffen: Yeah, I think it’s about the core messaging, like you talked about last week that there is a certain message that you need to come, get across. It’s not about you. It’s about the target, you know, about the person that you talk to. They’re interested in about or in how you can help them overcome their problem. They don’t want to listen to what your proprietary stuff is because everyone who calls them tells them that they have something proprietary.

Wendy: Exactly.

Steffen: So how soon should you adjust your script? What a good KPIs, so key performance indicator from a script perspective to judge whether a script works or doesn’t work?

Wendy: Well, we’re looking at a conversion of, the numbers we look at our dials, meaning how many times did someone dial the phone, conversations, meaning a conversation with the decision-maker, and then appointments scheduled. And then we can also look at the response rate to voicemails and emails. But in terms of dials, conversations and appointments, and then this completely depends on the market that you’re calling into and the level, you know, if you’re calling C level executives, the number is going to be lower than if you’re calling managers, but it could be anywhere from 3% to 20% dials into conversations.

There’s a lot of fluctuation there. The number, the conversations into appointments, we’re looking at a minimum conversion of 20%. We try to get 25 but 20% of those conversations should turn into appointments. We have people that do our programs that are doing like 50%. But we aim for at least 20. And then for voicemails and emails, you know, if you look at it over time, because we do a whole, we do something we call a voicemail campaign, which is like a drip campaign for voicemail. And if you’ve left, because people ask me all the time, they’ll say, Well, nobody ever calls me back so why should I leave a voicemail?

And part of that is a function of what you’re saying in the voicemail, but it’s also a function of the process, having a process that you’re following to continually reach out because all the research shows that it takes somewhere between eight to 12 touches to get someone to respond. So if they don’t know that you’re reaching out, if you’re not leaving voicemails or sending emails or texting them or something, they’re not going to respond. So and even if over a year if only 1% of the people you reached out to responded, that could be huge. But we’ve seen response rates as high as 25, 30%

Steffen: Yeah, I guess it’s about building familiarity. If you leave a voice message, if you send an email, if people don’t know you, if people don’t have any recollection of how they’re connected to you, it will take time, you know? It will take its time for them to see Oh, yeah, he called me and left me a voicemail.

Oh, I remember he sent me an email with a case study, etc before they then decide, hey, you know what, maybe I’ll pick up the phone or maybe I’ll respond to that voicemail because I actually now have the pain point they’re talking about and now’s a good time to chat. You talked about number of dials. So that kind of always brings up the question to me, what is more important, quantity or quantity?

Wendy: Quality, quality, quality, always quality.

Steffen: Okay. But where’s the right, how do you define what the right level is? I mean, obviously quality relates to building a list in the beginning, you know, your first step, and how well you were, or how well you did in identifying your target audience, breaking it out and then defining, in this case, call scripts, email sequences, voice messages, to communicate with the one group or several groups that you are reaching out to. I assume 10 calls is probably too little during a day. Is there kind of a right balance that companies or people should have or should aim for?

Wendy: Well, if a company hires a new salesperson, it’s kind of the 80, 20 rule. And they hire a new salesperson or you’re a brand new business owner and you have no pipeline, you probably want to spend about 80% of your time looking for new business. If you do that for about three or four months, the equation flips. And you probably only need to spend about 20% of your time looking for new business. In terms of the people that come to our coaching programs, we ask them to commit, we do a three-month program called three x appointments. And the reason we call it three x is that people tripled their numbers.

They tripled the number, if they’re already doing business development, they tripled the number of appointments they can schedule. So we asked the people in that program to commit to doing 20 dials a day, which is 100 dials a week. And that’s a minimum commitment for the program because they’re unlikely, one, they’re unlikely to see results if they’re only doing a handful of dials every day and two, because they’re learning new skills we want them to get the muscle memory. So if they do the 20 dials every day over the three months of the program, they’ll get the muscle memory.

Steffen: That makes sense. Okay, so we have a script ready, we briefed the team, how should they deal, or so how should the individual deal with rejection? And there will be a lot of rejection if you call someone and then that person actually picks up the phone. How is it easy to get over rejection and then pick up the phone right after you hang up?

See It as Your Responsibility to Help

Wendy: This idea of rejection, it’s very complex. And I have colleagues that teach this some, teach on this topic as well and some of them say things like prospecting sucks. Get over it, which is, I think is a very macho stance. I’m not sure how helpful it is but, and the conversation about cold calling is often it’s so stupid because the conversation is usually something like everybody hates it. And then there’s a handful of people that love it. And here’s the thing, the opposite of hating to pick up the phone and talk to people you don’t know is not that you suddenly love it. That would be silly. What we aim for is neutral.

Because if you feel neutral, if we remove all the emotion from the experience, you can do what you need to do and you can be really good at it. You don’t have to love it. And there are a lot of things. as business owners, as professionals, there’s a lot of things you do that maybe you don’t love that it’s like part of the business and you do it.

Nobody has a nervous breakdown when they’re hitting send on an email, even though the email could very well go to spam or just get deleted immediately. Part of what we do is help our clients make a mind shift on this. If you believe in the value of what you’re doing, if you believe that you’re really helping your clients and you’ve done your homework, you’re reaching out to that micro-targeted list because you think they potentially have a need that you could help them with and your goal is to introduce yourself.

It’s not dump who you’re working with, hire me, it’s just I’d like to introduce myself and my agency, then things start to shift. And there are the facts and then there’s the story you should tell yourself about the facts. And the facts are kind of Well, you’re gonna dial the phone, you’re either going to reach the person you want to talk to or you’re not. If you reach them, you’re going to say something, they’re going to say something. That’s pretty much it. The facts are, I’m bothering them, I’m interrupting them, they don’t want to talk to me. They already have a vendor, they’re going to be mad at me. All of those things.

And I’ll share with you a quick story from my dancing days. When I got that first telemarketing job so many years ago, and I was very young, I was probably about 20. And I knew nothing about business because I was a dancer. And they basically, you know, they gave me a script and they trained me and I started making calls. And I very quickly in a matter of weeks became one of their top representatives. And they started giving me all the really, really difficult to reach people, the presidents, the CEOs, people that didn’t take cold calls. And later on, when I started doing training, I thought back to that time and I thought, well, how did I do that?

And I realized something very interesting. And this is just about the power of your mind. I was 20. I knew nothing about business. I was calling mostly men that were a whole lot older than I was that made a whole lot more money than I did. But in my world, I was a dancer, I considered myself to be an artist.

And in my world, artists were pretty darn important people. And so I was calling all of these CEOs and presidents. I thought they’d all want to talk to me because I was an artist. It never even occurred to me, they wouldn’t want to talk to me. Now, did that have anything to do with reality? No, had nothing to do with reality. It was just the way I thought about it.

But because of the way I thought about it, I could just pick up the phone and talk to them. And if they said they didn’t want to meet with the client, I just insist that I thought they must not have understood, actually. I would encourage any of you that, you know, are really, really uncomfortable to examine what is it you’re telling yourself when you think about making these calls because what if you were telling yourself, I’ve done my homework, I have something of value to offer. They’re going to be really glad that I called because I can help them. You know, what would change if that’s how you thought about it?

Steffen: Yeah. So it’s about the mindset. I mean, what I hear is, it’s about a mindset at the end of the day. You got to be in the right mindset and you got to be convinced that what you’re selling is helping the people that you’re calling.

Wendy: Yeah, it just, if you believe in the value of what you’re doing, then you have an obligation to let the right people know about it. And that’s what you’re doing.

Steffen: I want to go back briefly today to the call script that we talked about, are there certain things that you should and should not ask, talk about when you get someone to respond and give you a minute?

Keep It Short, Pithy and to the Point

Wendy: Well, I’m not a big fan of saying may I have a moment of your time because you risk the answer being no. How are you today? That’s kind of a phony question. That’s not what you’re asking, you know, that’s not why you’re calling. And I’m a big believer in say what you have to say, short, pithy to the point and ask for what you want. And so what that means is, you know, how do you help your clients, give an example, say I’d like to introduce myself and whatever your company name is. And I need 10 or 15 minutes anytime that works for you. What does your calendar look like? That’s why you’re calling.

Steffen: Yeah. So how should a call end? How should a successful end? Is there something that you should not forget to say? Something you need to confirm? What are your thoughts on that?

Wendy: Well, if your goal is to set an appointment because we always start with the goal in mind, then the successful call ends with an appointment. And when you set that appointment, it’s concrete. And we’re going to talk next Tuesday, whatever that date is, at a specific time, you know? Or I’m going to get in my car and I’m going to meet you at your office next Tuesday, whatever the date is at a specific time.

Or we’re going to go to a Zoom call next to, I’ll send you the link next Tuesday, whatever that date is at a specific time. So it’s not that it finishes with, oh, I built rapport or they said I could call them back. You know, your goal is to set the appointment and an appointment is concrete.

Steffen: Yeah. So you’re calling a lot of people now and you can’t get them on the phone. You end up getting to the voicemail. From what I heard earlier, similar to creating a call script, it’s probably also a good thought to develop a script for leaving a voicemail. The first question is, what should be part of that voicemail? And the second one would be should I have different voice messages because I might not get the person several times and need to leave several voice messages?

Wendy: Yes, the, what we do is we help our clients create a voicemail campaign. And a voicemail campaign is a series of messages that you leave over time and you also do it with email. We usually start with four voicemails and four emails because all the research shows that it takes at least eight touches to get someone to respond. So we start with eight touches, four voicemails four emails, and then you track it. You might need more voicemails and emails, you might need fewer.

So we start week one, you make the phone call. If you get voicemail, you leave voicemail number one, which just like your introductory appointment setting script focuses on how you help your clients. And you ask for a return phone call. And then you send, like immediately, send this same thing in an email, whatever it is you’ve just said in voicemail number one, you send email number one. They mirror each other. You wait about a week. If you haven’t heard back, you call again. If you get voicemail, you leave voicemail number two, which still focuses on how you help your clients but it’s different from number one. And then you send along email two that mirrors voicemail two.

Steffen: Yeah. So how does that differ? How does the voicemail two differ from voicemail one?


Well, you can have, if you have multiple value propositions, you help your clients in different ways, it could have a different value proposition each time. The formula is that you lead with the value proposition. We have a track record of helping our clients and you plug in how they’re better off after they work with you and then you give an example. I call these success stories. You give an example.

And that’s the basic format. So you could have the same value proposition in each voicemail and you have different stories to back it up. Or if you have, if you’ve got different ways that you help your clients, those could be separate value propositions and then use, you have different examples, stories that back up the value proposition.

Steffen: Okay. So then how does number three and number four from a voicemail perspective look like? How are they different from the first two?

Wendy: Okay, well, number three follows the pattern. You know, it’s different content. But you’re either going to use the same value proposition with a different example, or a different value, a third value proposition with an example that backs it up. Then you send email three that mirrors. Then you’re going to wait a week. If you haven’t heard back, you call them again. This time the last message number four, I call it the move on message. And the move on message goes like this. You know, I’ve tried to reach you a number of times to discuss fill in the blank with whatever it is you wanted to talk about. I haven’t heard back from you.

I know you’re busy so I’m assuming that this is not a good time for us to have this conversation. I don’t want to be a pest so I’m going to cease and desist. And I’ll reach out to you again, and you name a timeframe. It could be three months or six months or a year. That’s really just contingent on how many leads you have. And then you say, if you’ve been meaning to get that to me and just haven’t had the chance, I’d welcome the opportunity to discuss fill in the blank with whatever it is you want to talk about.

What’s interesting, and then you send the same thing in an email. What’s interesting is that’s when you’re going to get the most response, often with an apology. And, you know, people, they’ll tell you, a time to call or, you know, yeah, I want to talk to you, I can’t talk to you this week, but could you call me next week or, you know, whatever it is. But that’s actually when you get the most response. You do need to have left some good messages previously. And you will get some response then too, but you usually get the most response after the move on message.

Steffen: So the breakout messages is kind of the golden message that makes it all, not all possible, but that’s when people usually respond or kind of, you know, reconsider whether they connect or not. So that sounds like a lot of work to kind of, you know, remind yourself of every week to send emails for specific clients and then have voice messages too. In the beginning of the first episode, you talked about how technology has helped the cold calling process to be more efficient. What tools can help an organization or individuals to organize themselves and be reminded of who they have to follow up, when to follow up and who said what, etc?

Tools to Keep Calling Procedures Organized

Wendy: Well, the software that we use and that I recommend to all of our clients is Contact Science. And Contact Science, it’s And it’s specifically for prospecting and appointment setting. And it is an efficiency tool. It’s not CRM, actually. They’ve done benchmark studies against various CRM tools. And to do 10 dials using CRM will take close to an hour. To do 10 dials using Contact Science will take like 20, maybe 30 minutes.

And then if you add in a dialer or it takes even less time. But this tool keeps it completely organized. It, you know, not only tells you, you know, if you were going to call Steffen it would say, okay, Steffen, here’s the next person to call. If you get them on the phone, here’s what you say, you’ll see the script. If you get their voicemail, here’s what you say. Here’s the email to send.

Here’s the next person. So it just tells you exactly, you don’t, once it’s set up, you don’t have to think. You can just follow the process because it’s already automated and set up. And if you manage people, it will give you metrics so you’ll know how they’re doing. It’s just, it’s automatic. You don’t have to do anything. You just get the metrics. Anyone that’s listening, please mention my name because they give my clients a discount. So tell them you heard it here from Steffen and Wendy.

Steffen: In the first episode, we talked about, you know, when we talked about building prospect lists, target lists, and you call them micro lists, what tools do you recommend your clients to use to build that target list? I mean, as you mentioned, nowadays, and we all know that there are many more information available to individual companies, from what software they use, who the CEO is, how many people work there, what their revenue is, and goes on and on and on.

But there are also a number of tools out there that can provide those information for a team. What tools do you recommend a team should look at that can help them to build their target list, to build this micro-target list?

Wendy: I’m going to give you more of an it depends answer because it does depend on the market that you’re calling into. And so there are all sorts of, you know, online resources like there’s Sales Genie, and I’m blanking. And I’m trying to remember the name of, let’s see if I can find it really quickly, because they give you , Oh, Exchange Leads, of course. Exchange Leads will give you I think it’s 50 free leads a month. If you’re on a budget and you have a library card, go to the public library. They have access to all sorts of databases that are really expensive, that you can access for free.

And most of the libraries have everything online now so you don’t even have to go anywhere. So but it starts with that micro-target, that profile. And because once you know exactly the type of lead that you’re working, you’re looking for, then it’s much easier to find a resource that will help you find that list. I also recommend Sam Richter, who you might actually want to interview on your program, he’s a world-renowned sales intelligence expert and he has a tool that helps people do research online.

Steffen: Oh, I’ll have to check him out. Wendy, we come to the end again, of the second episode review. Thank you so much, again for joining the Performance Delivered Podcast and for sharing your knowledge about cold calling. If people want to find out more about you, your company, how you could potentially help them if they feel overwhelmed with setting up a program for themselves or for their business, how can they get in touch with you?

Wendy: Well, I invite you to visit our website which is You can also give me a call because I am a phone person. That’s 866-220-4242. And if you get voicemail, leave me a message and we’ll call you back. And I would also like to invite all of our listeners to download my guide. It’s called A Practical Guide to Getting Sales Teams to Prospect. And sales reps often fail because they can’t prospect.

They can’t find enough opportunities, and without opportunities, they’re never going to generate enough sales to meet or exceed their quota. And whatever it is you do, you know, a lot of people that manage sales teams struggle with this. So that’s why I created A Practical Guide to Getting Sales Teams to Prospect. And I believe you’re going to post that right underneath this podcast.

Steffen: Yeah, you will find it on the landing page for the first and the second episode as well as in this podcast description. So download it. Have a look at it and I’m sure it will help you immensely. Well, thanks everyone for listening. If you like the Performance Delivered Podcast, please subscribe to us and leave us a review on iTunes or your favorite podcast application. If you want to find out more about Symphonic Digital, you can visit us at or follow us on Twitter at Symphonic HQ. Thanks again and see you next time.