Every sales rep wants to know the best time to cold call.
Some because they want to maximize their response rates.
Others because they’re sick of talking to answering machines.
(And, of course, some people want to use it as an excuse not to make their calls.)
But optimizing your call time isn’t a simple task, even before COVID-19. Now, in a post-pandemic world, it’s even more difficult.
Flexible work schedules, locations, and other factors make previous sales call trends much more unpredictable.
Even so, it’s important to have an idea of the best time to cold call your prospects. Here are some insights from real data.
The Best Times to Cold Call
The hours that constitute the “best times to cold call” aren’t an open and shut case. Different companies have found different results based on their performance.
But there’s some data out there that points to specific trends. PhoneBurner collected and analyzed data from over 11 million sales calls, and found the following average response times by hour.
Based on that data, the best time to cold call a prospect is between 9 a.m and 4 p.m., with 10 a.m. (15.53%) and 2 p.m. (15.01%) providing the best response times.
This makes a lot of sense. People generally are more amenable to calls during core work hours, even if they put work in outside those hours.
Keep in mind that these data are generalized, and the specific industry you’re working in can have a major impact on when prospects are more amenable to conversation.
Coaching intelligence technology can help you gather insights on the best time to cold call your specific prospects. Click here to download our comprehensive guide on the topic.
The Worst Times to Cold Call
On the slip side, there are some times when your reps definitely shouldn’t cold call their prospects. Here are some of the most egregious examples:
- After hours & weekends. Interrupting someone’s family dinner or down time can make a terrible first impression. While some people are on 24/7, not everyone is. It probably isn’t worth it for a rep to take that risk.
- Too early in the morning. For most people, the early mornings are a time to concentrate, focus on deep work, and accomplish tasks without interruptions. Violating those hours can put your reps in the prospect’s bad graces.
- Federal holidays. In North America, federal holidays carry a lot of weight with people. Interrupting Thanksgiving dinner or Christmas festivities just makes your reps look out of touch and desperate — two qualities that certainly won’t help them close more deals.
- When everybody else is calling. Although calling at high conversion hours increases the likelihood of a response, it’s also when there’s the most competition. That’s why your reps should be strategic. Off-hours may, counterintuitively, be the best time to call, simply because you won’t be competing for their attention.
Your reps only get one chance to make a first impression. By calling prospects at an unwelcome time, they’ll not only reduce the chances of the deal moving forward, but they could seriously harm your brand reputation.
Help your reps crush their numbers with this list of killer cold calling strategies.
Move Beyond Time of Day
Cold calling a prospect at the right time of day is about more than just picking the right time on the clock. It’s about understanding the full context of how your call is interrupting their day, and how that will impact their response.
For example, if you call between 12 and 1, you’re almost certain to catch the prospect on their lunch break. Is that what you really want to do? If you call at 6pm, are you willing to be the person who keeps them from leaving the office to get back to their family?
None of these factors mean that you shouldn’t place the call. It just means you should be aware of the context surrounding your call and approach it accordingly.
For instance, if you call at 6pm, you’re likely going to only have a few minutes with the prospect. This means you should take pains to make the value prop incredibly clear early on, and focus just on setting up a future meeting with them.
It’s also important to consider a prospect’s emotional state when you call them. A Monday morning call may find them stressed out, which will make them less patient with you. On the other hand, they may be in a great mood on Friday afternoon, increasing your chances of success.
Each prospect’s mood will be highly specific to what’s going on at their company. That’s why it’s always important to do a quick Google search to see if there’s any news (good or bad) relevant to the company.
If the company is having a company picnic or mid-week retreat that puts your prospect into a good mood, it may be a good time to call. If, on the other hand, their company stock recently took a nosedive or they had some recent negative press, then maybe you need to wait until that cloud passes over (unless, of course, your business specifically helps with that particular problem).
Final Thoughts on the Best Time to Cold Call
Ultimately, picking the right time to make your sales calls is essential to sales success.
However, even with all the research in the world, it’s impossible to pin down an exact time where you’ll be guaranteed cold calling success. Every prospect will respond differently depending on their own personal temperament, the goings on at their company, and other factors that are beyond your control.
So while these rules of thumb are a good place to start, you may find different strategies work better for your business. Test these approaches and adopt the ones that work for you. You might be surprised to find how many more prospects you can reach with a few simple tweaks.
You can improve the quality of your cold calls with a solid coaching program. Click here to download our comprehensive guide on coaching intelligence.