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Prospecting? How Many Times Should You Call?

How many times should you call a sales lead

“What is the number of times a Sales Development Rep (SDR) should attempt to contact a prospect before moving on?”

Before you put a system in place for your inside sales reps to follow, you may want to consider that the lead temperature will have a factor in how many times an SDR will reach out to a prospect, as well as how often.

There are three main “lead temperature” categories:

  • Cold
  • Warm
  • HOT

Below, I’ll show you an example for each one of these lead types for your team to consider but before I do, keep in mind that most sales teams simply use what I call the “RUN AMOK” method, which basically means everyone does their own thing, and there really is no system or rhyme or reason. The RUN AMOK method is causing you to lose deals. Not only do you need an adaptable system (how many times to call a prospect) but you also need to know EXACTLY what to say on each different attempt.


If a lead is “cold” (has not made contact in the last 30-days – or EVER) BUT has the criteria to be at least considered a highly probable suspect, my call schedule (cadence) is going to be less urgent. An example might be calls on Day 1, 3, 5, 10 and 30. This is just an example to help you get your creative juices flowing in order to develop what works best for you and your sales team.


A warm lead can be classified as a hand raiser but not as hot as a proposal request. One option is to give them a call on day 1, 2, 4 and 6 (again, just an example).


If a hot lead comes in (form is filled out on website requesting info / proposal request etc.) I’m going to be all over that lead, calling more than once in the same day for sure. At minimum, I’m calling them twice in one day leaving a voicemail + plus email each time. (You will need to know exactly what to say to increase your call backs – simply saying “I’m following up regarding your request” isn’t going to create the urgency you need in most cases to get them to stop what they are doing to call you back.) So if I call twice and get voicemail twice, I will leave a message and send an email each time. If I call a third time in the same day but get voicemail, I’ll hang up. Sometimes I will also ASK for the gatekeeper for their help in getting ahold of the prospect.

If I don’t hear back after day one, I will try twice on day two and once on day three. If you don’t hear back from them by then, they may have found another solution already, had a hotter fire fall in their lap, or had to go into the witness protection program. I will often EMAIL them asking which of those three options happened to them and I usually get a response back.

PS … I like to also have specific emails that go out the day after I call them for the first time as well as after I’ve called them the second time. So if I know that I am calling a lead on Day 1 and Day 3 and skipping a call on Day 2, I have it set to send them an email on Day 2. It reminds them of the voicemail/email I sent them the day before and I often get a response or an appointment set from my Day 2 emails.

I use the phrase “Day 2” just to make the article as easy as possible to follow however, internally, we don’t use Day 1, Day 2, Day 3 terminology because there are always instances where calling or emailing someone the day after won’t make sense. An example would be where you call a prospect for the first time, get voicemail, leave a message and then send an email, only to get an automated VACATION ALERT auto reply from the prospect. It makes no sense to still schedule a “DAY 2” email if you now know they are out of the office till next week. Therefore, we use 1st Attempt, 2nd Attempt, 3rd Attempt, etc. Hope this helps.

– Michael Pedone

Michael Pedone helps inside sales teams conquer call reluctance by teaching them a step-by-step call process. Michael Pedone’s blueprint for success helps inside sales reps to set more appointments and how to close them. He is the CEO/FOUNDER of SalesBuzz.com – an online sales training company.


Register Now for Our Next 8-Week Phone Skills Improvement Program!

  • Eliminate “No, Thanks”, “Not Interested” & “We’re All Set” Responses
  • Learn a step-by-step process for Cold Calling and Warm Calling
  • Neutralize Gatekeepers & Get Voicemails Returned
  • Ask Engaging Questions Instead of Probing
  • Improve your Qualifying Skills
  • Learn more effective Sales Questions to ask (and ones to avoid)
  • Give Stellar Presentations & Handle Objections
  • Close Follow-up Calls and Get Targeted Referrals
  • How to Set & Achieve Your Toughest Sales Goals
  • Improve Your Time Management Skills

Duration: 1 hour per week for 8 weeks
Where: Online @ your desk, conference room or home
Presenters: Michael Pedone