I recently wrote the ultimate guide to the BEST time to cold call, but I know a lot of salespeople and sales leaders really want to know when the worst time to cold call is. If that’s you, then you’ve found a treasure trove of information here to skyrocket your sales in 2022 and beyond.
You might remember my fishing analogy in my previous post. Don’t worry, I won’t set that same hook here, but the idea is that you want to cast your line (call your prospect) when they are *not* distracted. So it only makes sense that you shouldn’t “go fish” when distractions abound. (Ok – no more fishing talk from now on.)
What exactly are these distractions? And what days and times are the worst times for SDRs to cold call?
I’m going to break it all down today. Keep in mind that I’m not shooting from the hip here. Rather, these are sales principals that I’ve tested over and over throughout the last decade. Follow them, track your metrics, and you’re almost guaranteed to see a marked increase in appointments booked.
So without further adieu, let’s dig into it.
The Worst Time to Cold Call
The worst time to cold call is between 1-2:30 pm, when the decision maker is just getting back to his desk after lunch. His belly is full and he’s a bit lower on energy than at other times of day. Don’t expect much success during these slow hours. You’ll have fewer conversations, and even when you do get a prospect on the phone, he or she won’t be jazzed about it.
You want to dial when decision makers are fresh of mind, high energy, and happy. And let’s be honest, almost nobody fits this bill right after lunch.
The Second Worst Time to Cold Call (this might surprise you)
I’ve found that the second worst time to dial is between 9-10:30 am. “But wait,” you might be asking, “isn’t my prospect fresh of mind, high energy, and happy when the morning coffee starts to kick in?” Yes, they are. But they are also swamped with the day’s to-do’s. That’s why this is a bad time to cold call.
Take a minute to think of your own work day. When the traditional workday starts, at 9 am on the nose, you’re likely cleaning out your email inbox, gearing up for big meetings, and organizing the day. In other words, you’re transitioning into the full-swing of the day, and you don’t have the bandwidth, time, or energy to take a cold call. Same goes for your prospect. So don’t expect a ton of success during these early hours.
Of course, don’t mistake me for saying that calling early in the morning is ineffective. It can be highly effective. In fact, one of the better times to cold call is between 8-9 am, before the workday begins. During this golden hour, the gatekeepers aren’t clocked in yet, and you can have incredible success. But as soon as 9 am strikes, you’ll notice the opportunities cool off considerably.
Don’t Cold Call During These Times:
|9-10:30 am||The day's meetings and agenda are top-of-mind for your prospect|
|1-2:30 pm||After lunch, prospect is low-energy|
|After 7 pm||Respect of privacy / family time|
The Worst Days to Cold Call
This one is debatable in the sales space. From 10+ years of experience, I’ve found that the worst days to cold call are Mondays and Tuesdays. Now, as with everything on this subject, take the word “worst” somewhat loosely. You or your team should still be making calls during the worst times and days (you should always be dialing), but you will tend to see poorer performance during these slow times/days.
OK – so why are Mondays and Tuesdays so bad for sales calls? Simply because these are low-productivity days compared to the other weekdays. The exception to this is Friday — Friday is typically a day of low-productivity — but the difference is that your prospect is in a good mood, especially later in the day on Friday as the weekend nears.
So although your team will be making dials on Mondays and Tuesdays, you might notice that fewer conversations are happening, and thus fewer sales meetings make it on the calendar.
Calling on the Weekends
Another bad time to cold call is on the weekends. The truth is, Saturdays and Sundays are sacred for many c-level executives. So it’s common sense that cold calling on weekends is an intrusion of privacy (especially Sundays).
Now, I know of companies that do have some success reaching c-level executives directly on Saturdays, but I personally don’t think it’s worth the risk. You could burn through a list and “scorch the earth” pretty quickly by dialing on weekends, so just don’t do it.
Do THIS Instead
Again I’ll say it: you should ALWAYS be cold calling, whether it’s the best or worst time to cold call.
With that said, if you’re looking to really move the needle, schedule your potentially lucrative calls during peak attention hours. Peak attention hours are from 8-9 am, 3-4 pm, and 5-6 pm on Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays.
Notice that two of those time slots don’t even fall during normal/traditional workday hours. Why is that? Well, these are the times you’re most likely to connect directly with executive decision-makers, as the receptionist is out of office, and the decision maker isn’t bogged down in the day’s work.
Now let’s cover the all-important idea of tracking sales metrics or KPI’s.
Track Your Cold Call Campaign Metrics
The axiom “you can’t improve what you don’t track” rings true when it comes to cold calling in sales. If you’re tracking your metrics, you’ll find the worst time to cold call is easily identifiable. You’ll also find other not-so-successful times and days for dialing. And more importantly, you’ll find the days that work best for your team’s efforts.
At a minimum, you should be tracking the following metrics for outbound dialing:
- Number of calls made per day (team total)
- Number of calls made by SDR or salesperson (individual totals)
- Number of conversations had
- Number of meetings booked
- Time of day calls were made
Your CRM should make it ultra-easy to pull these numbers. And of course, it’s not enough to only be tracking these metrics — you also need to be reviewing them monthly and making strategic and tactical decisions based on your findings.
Remember, the single worst time to cold call is between 1-2:30 pm. The second worst part of the day for dialing is during the hour or so that the traditional workday has begun, 9-10:30 am. These are times of days when your prospect is either tired and lazy from a big lunch, or still trying to shake the morning cobwebs while organizing their day.
Give yourself the best odds by dialing just before the workday begins, just after the workday ends, and 3-4 pm on Mondays through Fridays.
And again, the worst days to cold call are Monday, Tuesday, and the weekend days of Saturday and Sunday.
Until next time…