The term “cold call” understandably gets a bad rep, but actively calling on prospects is still a great way to drum up new business. While it can be uncomfortable, there are a few things you can do to ensure you have great conversations — even when you’re calling out of the blue!

We’ve compiled a list of five tips to help you feel prepared before you pick up the phone and ensure that you’re confident throughout the call.

1. Have a structured plan in place

Think of each call as A, B, C. A: an intro— introduce yourself and your company. B: a short explanation of benefits to a potential client. And C: the close.

While your first call isn’t likely to end in an event, it’s beneficial to have an end goal in place — what are you looking to achieve from calling? (hint: new business!) Every call will be a little different, but having a plan allows you to control the direction of each conversation with little effort. Since you know the call is coming and your potential client does not, the preparation ball is in your court.

2. Be confident but considerate

Here’s a tip for every single cold, lukewarm, or straight comfy warm call: smile! Body language can make a huge difference in your voice and tone, which can be the difference between a “cold” call and one that’s friendly and conversational. If you’re new to the “body language affects everything” idea, check out this TED Talk.

To exude confidence, you can also try standing up or walking around while you’re on the call to help you feel (and sound) more alert. It’s also important to pose a question in the first 10 seconds of your call — it’s the considerate thing to do, and also ensures that you’ll have someone’s full attention. We recommend, “Did I catch you at a bad time?”

3. Do a little Internet lurking

OK, maybe “researching” is a better word. This should be the first thing you do before you even pick up the phone. Research the company you’re calling. What sort of events do they usually hold? Where have they booked events in the past? Which of your spaces would suit the personality of the company?

Pro tip: Facebook, LinkedIn, and Instagram are your friends! Don’t be afraid to cite specific details in your conversation; it shows that you did your homework.

4. Have a real conversation

Remember, you’re talking to a real person on the other end of the line. Your focus shouldn’t be limited to the immediate opportunity. Rather, focus on fostering a genuine long-term relationship. No one wants to hear, “Does this sound like something you’re interested in?” 30 seconds into a phone call with a stranger. Make sure the questions you ask aren’t discouraging potential positive chatter, and take the time to find a shared history and common interests.

5. Calm your nerves

Did you know that 80% of new salespeople fail because of call reluctance? If you’re feeling a little jittery before a cold call, don’t worry — it happens to the best of us. Whether you’re scared of rejection or you’re thinking about how far away your sales quota is, there are certain things you can do before a call to calm your nerves. Try looking at every call as a learning experience, instead of focusing on the outcome. Put a picture of a loved one on your desk that you can look at before you pick up your phone. It can make you feel happier and decrease anxiety. A more out-of-the-box idea method of reducing nerves: smelling some essential oils before your call. Smell can bring back positive, powerful memories and send you straight to your happy place.

Here’s an example script using these tips:

Hi, this is _______ from ______. I’d like to speak with the person in charge of booking events for your company. Are you the right person for that? Great, did I catch you at a bad time? Perfect. I’m not sure if you’re familiar with our space, but we’ve worked with _______ and ______  here in town to plan some really fun corporate events. I noticed on your website you had last year’s party at ______. Is that the vibe you’re typically looking for in an event?

Do you have any events you’re looking to book?

We have a space I think you and your team would love, is there a good time for me to show you around? I’m free next Tuesday at 2:15 pm and Thursday at 3:45 pm. Do either of these work for you?

And the rest is up to you. Good luck!

Tripleseat can help you manage new event bookings

Once you start using these sales tips and generate new event bookings, make sure you have the right tools in place to plan successful events.

Tripleseat’s event management software features help drive more sales, impress customers, and grow your events business in a way that’s manageable and profitable. On top of all that, we have partnered with the top companies in the industry to help your restaurant or venue keep track of payments, reservations, lead generation, marketing, POS/back office tasks, customer engagement, and more.

Schedule a demo at a time and date that works for you to learn more about how Tripleseat can help you build and streamline your events and private dining business.

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Editor’s Note: This post was originally published on the Gather blog and written by Nick Miller .

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