Recruitment Insights

Cold Calling: Overcoming objections and the fear of rejection

Joe Summerling
September 21, 2023
Cold Calling Overcoming objections and the fear of rejection

At APositive, my job is to create business opportunities with prospects. I do this by cold calling: following up with people who have visited our website or have previously engaged with us. I have been with the company just shy of six months and previously had a career in recruitment and business development for another outsourced finance and payroll provider.

When I first started cold calling, I felt extremely nervous as I expected most people to brush me off and hang up, which I knew would affect my confidence. So over the last five years, I have developed some strategies that have helped me when I pick up the phone, and I hope that it can help someone else in the same position.  

1. Facing a NO.

In reality, what's the worst thing that can happen during a cold call? They might say no. So, don't stress about it; it's not as terrible as it seems. Each call is an opportunity for learning, and even if the initial ones are a bit rough, it doesn't matter as long as you learn from them, and you'll develop resilience over time. Additionally, it's crucial to accurately document your conversations in your CRM/ATS and add a follow-up date. Circumstances can change with time and it'll be important to read back through your notes to see why they said no last time.

2. Getting your environment right.

One helpful tip I discovered when beginning cold calling is to locate a peaceful environment where I wouldn't feel judged. If feasible, try to set up a quiet room. It's essential to ensure you're as relaxed as possible before calling prospective customers. This will help you project an expressive and authentic version of yourself during conversations.

3. Understanding your fears.

Understanding the fears of cold calling in business development is crucial for success in sales. Many professionals dread the idea of reaching out to potential clients or customers without prior engagement, fearing rejection or negative responses. This anxiety can be alleviated through proper training, script preparation, and the recognition that rejection is a natural part of the sales process. Building confidence and resilience is key to overcoming these fears, ultimately enabling individuals to unlock valuable opportunities and grow their businesses.

4. Practice makes perfect.

Practice makes perfect in cold calling, and tailoring your approach to the specific industry you're selling into is essential. Whether you're targeting healthcare, technology, or any other sector, honing your skills through repetition and learning industry-specific language and pain points is crucial. Personalisation is the key to building rapport and trust with potential clients. By demonstrating a deep understanding of their unique needs and challenges, you can increase your chances of success and develop meaningful business relationships in your chosen industry.

5. Have a plan.

Having a plan of attack with cold calling is crucial to give yourself the best chance of success, and again, the way you approach each type of call will be different depending on the stage of the business you’re selling to. Make sure you have a plan of things the prospect might say so you can give to-the-point answers. It’s important not to give away too much detail. Remember, you want to try and get a meeting out of this rather than putting all your cards out on the table.

6. Don't take it personally.

Lastly, it's important to consider that while some prospects may come across as blunt or rude on occasions, their actions don't reflect your worth. We need to appreciate everyone is human and may just have been having a bad day or did not have time to speak, so try to let go of the emotional aspect.


In the world of sales, facing rejection is a fundamental part of the journey. The worst that can happen is a simple "no," and it's crucial not to let this deter you. Each call is an opportunity for growth, and resilience is developed over time. Creating the right environment, understanding your fears, and practising diligently are all essential steps towards success in this field. Having a well-thought-out plan and not taking rejection personally are equally important.

Remember, cold calling is not just about making sales; it's about building relationships, learning, and evolving professionally. So, embrace the "no" as a stepping stone to your ultimate "yes."

Joe Summerling
Joe Summerling

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