Holidays or not, you still have your sales quotas! Find out the best time to cold call and other tips for prospecting during the holiday season.

The end of November through the beginning of January is an annual challenge for most sales reps. Offices become empty voids. Wallets get tight as people save for holiday gifts and travel. Daylight runs out earlier, which makes many of us shut down earlier, too. As if it were easy to know the best time to cold call in the first place, let alone during this celebratory time when folks are distracted by family, friends, and large, sleepy meals—not to mention we’re in the midst of a pandemic and recession.

As always, though, there are ways to improve your prospecting during the holidays. We’ve got a few tips for you, including the best time to cold call, that will help turn your holiday sales blues into green bills and, hopefully, peace on earth and goodwill towards people.

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best time to cold call

What is the best time to make sales calls?

A few studies out there seek to pinpoint the best time to cold call outside of the holidays. While some of these figures disagree, the overall consensus is that cold calling is most effective on Wednesday between 4 pm and 5 pm. It’s thought that this is because most people are wrapping up their days and are less distracted and more open to a sales pitch when they’re not worrying about their to-do list.

These hours may not be the best time to cold call during the holidays, though. Many people are off from work or traveling to other time zones. The sun goes down earlier, which can induce yawns and impromptu naps on the couch from which no one wants to be interrupted. And the people who are still at work are often trying to get out as quickly as they can.

The best time to cold call during the holiday season

While there’s no hard evidence of the single best time to cold call in November and December, we can make a few intelligent observations here. First, if days are ending earlier, it makes sense to make phone calls earlier. The 4 pm-5 pm hour is no longer ideal.

Instead, make your cold calls earlier in the day. The same research noted above suggests that between 11 am and 12 pm is another good time to call and get a response. You might have to shift a lunch break somewhere, but it could be worth it if it brings you some conversions.

Word of caution, though: The research also indicates that early morning is one of the worst times to cold call, so if you shift your calls to an earlier time, make sure it’s not too early.

Even beyond the best time, however, it gets a bit tricky when you start looking at days. The best time to cold call adapts pretty well to the holiday season, but what about the best day? Is Wednesday still the go-to? It depends. Since the holidays themselves fall on different days—and since there are a few holidays throughout December to grapple with—we’ll have to do a little more educated guessing based on what we do know.

Wednesday is likely a prosperous day because it falls in the middle of the week when people aren’t either trying to get into gear (Monday) or trying to wrap up for the weekend (Friday). So when it comes to the holidays, the best time to cold call is, if possible, a few days before or a few days after a holiday.

Avoiding weekends is still a rule of thumb, which can mess up your schedule, especially if a holiday is observed on a Friday or Monday. However, since you know this going into December, you can tweak your schedule to make more calls on the days when people are likely available.

Whatever you deem to be the best time to cold call, there are some times and days you may want to avoid altogether. As mentioned, weekends and early mornings tend to be a bust. Mondays and Fridays also aren’t great, though if you have to call on those days, shoot for earlier on Mondays and later on Fridays.

As for that last week of December, when most Americans are off for at least a portion of the time, it might be a good idea to plan to do half the typical number of calls and keep them to the ideal times we’ve mentioned above. You may have to make up for the numbers by making more calls earlier in the month—something that Call Logic can help with—but the earlier calls are much more likely to convert, so you may find it worth the time spent. (Not to mention that you’ll get a break during the last week of the year!)

Bonus holiday cold-calling tips

There are some other things you can do to improve the success of your cold calls during the holidays.

The first is to send a follow-up email right away after a call, but suggest a meeting in January. Customers will appreciate that you’ve made an initial outreach but are respecting their time to be with their families and friends.

Another thing that can help increase your close rate is to gently upsell during your holiday cold-calls. This one is a balancing act—you don’t want to overwhelm a customer or sell them something they don’t need—but paying particular attention to upsell opportunities during this time can help your numbers even without increasing the number of calls you’re making.

Finally, remember to tie-in year-end promotions and discounts. During the holidays, people are both more and less willing to spend money. Tap into the former. Make your offer worth their while, and they’ll be more likely to part with whatever cash they’re sitting on for the season. True, the discounts will eat into total revenue. Still, sales professionals believe that calling existing customers converts to more sales, which means that those who receive discounts during the holidays are likely to generate more revenue in the future.

Yes, figuring out the best time to cold call during the holiday season is tricky. But give it a shot, you might be surprised what can happen. And one last tip, you can start setting yourself up for January and February by sending out holiday and New Year’s cards to your current client list. 

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