Salespeople are a superstitious bunch. There are those who believe Monday isn't a good day to make cold calls, and there are those who believe Friday is the best day to do it. A technology company recorded the outcomes of 40 million calls, and their data revealed something quite simple and, perhaps, expected. The best time to make cold calls is between 9:00 AM and 5:00 PM on weekdays.
Despite being aware of this research, I’m superstitious that Thursday is the best day to make cold calls. I have no evidence that Thursday is better than any other weekday, but I like it because I tell myself the client is more likely to book a meeting for the following week after getting some work off their desk. No matter your superstition, there is one fact to start with: The best time to prospect was six months ago. Had you done that, right now you would be winning the deals you developed. But the second-best time to make cold calls is now.
Before you stop reading and start dialing, let's discern the best time for you to prospect.
Your Best Time to Prospect
If you see a person in incredibly good physical shape, you will find that they probably exercise first thing in the morning. They prioritize their health and fitness, and they are disciplined in two areas most people are not: exercise and diet. To create and win more opportunities, you need to prioritize your cold calls. By making your cold calls before doing anything else, you are prioritizing the critically important work of creating new opportunities. Show me your opportunities, and I'll show you your future results.
The first thing you must do is remove any preferences or beliefs you have about the best time to cold call. Because sales and prospecting require discipline, do your prospecting at the same time every day. You will also benefit from prospecting for no less than 90 minutes, as it takes some time to get in the groove.
I would argue that 9:00 AM each day is the best time to make your cold calls. Let me explain why you should put cold calls at the beginning of your day. Making cold calls first prevents you from being distracted by the interruptions that derail your day. And because you are calling on businesspeople, you have a good chance of reaching them when they are working.
Once you create the discipline of prospecting for 90 minutes each day, you'll give yourself the time to call your dream clients and follow up when you miss your contact. You will book more first meetings and create more new opportunities. In general, salespeople who make their cold calls consistently outperform their opportunity-starved peers.
Your Second-Best Time to Cold Call
When I had no business, I shut myself in an office and dialed the phone from 8:00 AM until 12:00 PM. At noon, I would go to lunch with my co-workers. When I returned to the office, I dialed from 1:00 PM until 5:00 PM. Because I had no clients, I had nothing else to do with my time.
To climb your team's stacked ranking, make more money, and get photographed at every annual President's Club trip, you can add a second prospecting block in the afternoon. The second 90-minute block would have you spending three of your eight hours prospecting. The two blocks, one in the morning and one in the afternoon would have you devote 37.5% of your week to cold calls. This would probably mean you would make more cold calls and, should you use an approach where you trade value for the meeting, you will find you have more first meetings than any of your peers. If you are dead set on succeeding in sales, 3:30 PM to 5:00 PM is a perfect second block.
More meetings mean more opportunities. More opportunities mean more won deals. More won deals mean more commissions.
Consistency Is the Key to Cold Calling
As I mentioned, the data suggests that cold calling during any normal working hours produces the same results. This means 10:30 AM to noon is as good as 1:00 PM to 2:30 PM. The important thing is that you identify the best time for you to make cold calls consistently, regardless of the time. Being consistent about prospecting—developing habits and a routine for it—seems to be a variable that supports success.
If you notice your peers are not doing well in sales, the most likely reason is that they lack the opportunities they need. The reason they have too few opportunities is because their prospecting is sporadic. Eventually, their failure to prospect catches up to them, but by the time they notice, they are already in trouble.
Cold calling isn't like a test you take in high school or college. There is no way to cram cold calling and prospecting. Those who try to make up for lost time end up frustrated. A few of them will get religion and figure it out, but others will leave sales and find some other profession where the work comes to them. They will suggest that sales is hard, without recognizing they failed because they lacked the discipline to make their cold calls.
Whatever time you make cold calls, stick to that time. Be disciplined and consistent. Making the calls is more important than choosing a time, but to make certain you do enough prospecting, I recommend you try prospecting first thing each day. See if that doesn't improve the number of meetings you book each week.