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Cold Prospecting 101 - for Startups & Small Businesses

Cold Prospecting 101 - for Startups & Small Businesses
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Cold prospecting is like the backbone of small businesses and startups. That's why it's crucial to understand all the details of this method. Staying updated on trends and knowing what potential customers prefer or don't like is essential.

In this blog post, let's dive into the specifics.

So, What is Cold Prospecting? 

Cold prospecting is the process of reaching out to potential customers or clients who have had no prior interaction with your business. It's crucial for startups and small businesses because it allows them to expand their customer base, generate leads, and create new growth opportunities. 

Cold prospecting helps businesses to proactively seek out potential customers rather than waiting for them to come to you, enabling you to control your growth trajectory.

Difference Between Cold Prospecting and Warm Prospecting

Cold prospecting involves reaching out to potential customers who have had no prior interaction with your business.

Warm prospecting involves contacting prospects who have already shown some interest or engagement with your business, such as through website visits, social media interactions, or previous inquiries. 

Cold emailing typically has an average open rate of around 15%, whereas warm prospecting emails can achieve open rates of up to 50% or more.

Also Read: Cold Email Examples to Help You Write Your Own

Types of Cold Prospecting

Type of cold prospecting


Cold Calling

Initiating contact with potential leads via telephone, without any prior interaction or relationship.

Cold Emailing

Sending emails to prospects to introduce your product, service, or offering.

Cold Outreach on Social Media

Reaching out to prospects through social media platforms such as LinkedIn, Twitter, or Facebook, where there's no existing connection.

Direct Mail

Sending physical mail, such as letters, postcards, or brochures, to prospects without prior communication.

Networking Events

Attending events, conferences, or trade shows to engage with potential leads and establish connections.

Door-to-Door Prospecting

Visiting potential customers in person at their homes or businesses to introduce your product or service.

Cold Texting

Sending text messages to prospects to introduce your offering.

Out of all these methods, cold emailing and cold calling are the most common ones. Let’s dive a little deeper into these.

Cold Email Prospecting vs. Cold Call Prospecting

Pros and Cons of Call Email Prospecting



1. Scalability: Can be automated to reach a large number of prospects efficiently.

1. Deliverability issues: Emails may end up in spam folders, reducing visibility.

2. Non-intrusive: Allows recipients to review the message at their convenience.

2. Limited emotional connection: Lack of personal interaction may result in less engagement.

3. Trackable: Can track open rates, click-through rates, and responses, providing insights into campaign effectiveness.

3. Legal compliance: Must adhere to regulations such as CAN-SPAM Act, GDPR, etc.

4. Cost-effective: Requires minimal resources compared to other prospecting methods.

4. Higher competition: Inboxes are often inundated with promotional emails, making it challenging to stand out.

Also Read: A Complete Introduction to Becoming a Cold Email Expert 

Pros and Cons of Cold Call Prospecting



1. Immediate feedback: Allows for real-time interaction and response from prospects.

1. Intrusive nature: Cold calls can be seen as disruptive and unwelcome by recipients.

2. Personalized communication: Enables direct rapport-building and customized pitches based on verbal cues.

2. Time-consuming: Requires direct interaction with each prospect, which may not always yield positive outcomes.

3. Higher engagement: Offers the opportunity for dynamic conversation and addressing objections promptly.

3. Rejection sensitivity: Facing rejection is not for everyone. 63% sales folks say cold calling is the worst part of their jobs.

4. Opportunity for rapport: Establishes a human connection, potentially leading to a stronger relationship.

4. Limited reach: Dependent on the availability and willingness of prospects to engage in conversation.

Also Read: The Pros and Cons of B2B Cold Calling

Cold Prospecting Best Practices

Cold Calling:

Research First: Know your prospect's industry, pain points, and possible solutions before calling. Personalize your pitch accordingly. Look to top-performing cold calling scripts for inspiration, then tailor your unique approach.

Example: "Hi [Prospect's Name], I noticed your company recently launched [product]. As an expert in [relevant field], I believe I can offer insights on optimizing your strategy."

Craft a Compelling Opening: Grab attention within the first few seconds. Pose a question, share a relevant statistic, or offer a benefit.

Example: "Did you know that [relevant statistic]? We've helped similar companies like yours increase their ROI by 30%."

Focus on Value Proposition: Clearly communicate the value you can bring to the prospect. Highlight benefits, not just features.

Example: "Our software streamlines operations, saving businesses like yours up to 20% in overhead costs."

Cold Emailing:

Personalization is Key: Tailor each email to the recipient's needs and interests. Mention recent achievements or challenges they've faced.

Example: "Congratulations on [recent achievement]. I've been following your company's progress and wanted to share how our services could further enhance your success."

Keep it Concise: Busy professionals appreciate brevity. Get to the point quickly and make your message easy to digest.

Example: "I came across your profile and thought our [product/service] could be valuable for [prospect's company]. Would you be open to a brief call to explore further?"

Include a Clear Call to Action (CTA): Prompt the recipient to take action, whether it's scheduling a call, downloading a resource, or visiting your website.

Example: "If you're interested in learning more, let's schedule a quick call at your convenience. How does [suggest specific date/time] work for you?"

Remember, regardless of the method, persistence and follow-up are crucial. According to a study by InsideSales.com, 80% of sales require 5 follow-up calls/emails after the meeting.

Also Read: Best Follow Up Email Templates

Is Cold Prospecting Still Relevant?

Yes, cold prospecting is still relevant. And will always be relevant.

Cold prospecting, whether through cold calling or cold emailing, remains relevant in certain contexts, particularly for businesses looking to expand their customer base or reach out to new potential clients. 

However, its effectiveness can vary depending on the industry, target audience, and the approach taken. Let's explore both methods:

Cold Calling: In industries where personal interaction is valued or where a direct conversation is necessary to establish rapport and trust. It can also be effective for reaching decision-makers who may not respond to emails.

  • According to a study by RAIN Group, 69% of buyers accepted a call from new salespeople in 2020.
  • However, cold calling success rates have declined over the years, with only about 2% of cold calls resulting in a meeting.

Cold Emailing: In industries where digital communication is prevalent. It allows for scalability and can be less intrusive than cold calling.

What’s Next?

Cold calling and emailing take time; warm prospects don’t appear out of thin air. You must research, find email addresses, build a database, and verify information. Often, you won’t receive a reply on the first email – that's why persistence matters.

That's why email lookup tools combined with automation are the future of cold prospecting. They save time and provide accurate data to experiment with different prospecting strategies. Once you've mastered these basics, consider using a web extension to compile your prospect list. Skrapp free email lookup tools can help find and verify addresses to refine your list. You can even start with a LinkedIn email finder to get details of your prospects.