September 7, 2023

What iOS changes mean to cold calling: how to avoid the blacklist

15 min read

Cold calling is a cruel but necessary part of working in sales. Yes, we’d all like to avoid the dreaded cold call, but the hard truth is that 70% of sellers connect with their buyers using the phone. So, the cold call is clearly not dead, in fact, using the phone for outreach is still very much an essential part of the sales process.

While perhaps the most uncomfortable part of working in sales, cold calling remains crucial for several reasons. Picking up the phone to a prospect offers a direct and immediate connection with potential customers, allowing sales reps to initiate conversations and build relationships from scratch. Being put on the spot on a call, as so often can happen with a frosty prospect, sharpens communication skills, improves your ability to handle objections, and helps to build resilience for all sales professionals. When executed strategically, cold calling results in new business opportunities, expanded networks, and increased revenue, making it an indispensable element of a well-rounded sales strategy.

While it may seem that the conversion rate for cold calls is so low (around 6.3%) that it’s almost not worth the effort, when you consider this beside the click through rate for cold emails (around 0.5%), the value is clear to see. Not only do you actually stand a better chance of converting a cold call, but they are a much more efficient way of building trust and rapport with a prospect. With instant responses and information, the opportunity to address concerns directly, and the ability to demonstrate value right from the off, a cold call is much harder for a prospect to ignore than yet another email they don’t have time to read.

But cold calls are about to get a lot harder. Thanks to the iOS 17 update, expected in September 2023, Apple-using prospects will soon be able to find out who you are and what you want before they’ve even picked up. Worse, they’ll also be able to block you and decline all your future calls too. This means all sales professionals are going to have to step up their game, majorly.

The iOS addition to be wary of: Live Voicemail

Essentially, the Live Voicemail feature means that when you’re leaving a voicemail, a live transcription will appear on your prospect’s lock screen – meaning they can decide whether to pick up or not. The feature will be enabled by default, and so is expected to maintain a majority uptake.

The feature will present the text almost as immediately as the words are spoken; there is just a delay of approximately one second. This allows the person receiving the call to either pick up the call, send a message instead (if the caller is already in your contacts), or for callers not in your contacts, you can even block the call. The calls blocked, and marked as spam, mean users will automatically decline all future calls from this number too.

How can sales reps avoid being blocked?

Fortunately, there are many ways that salespeople can beat the system here. Perhaps your gut reaction would be to just not leave a voicemail. While this certainly would be effective, it’s simply not advisable for your outreach methods. In fact, according to, sales reps leave around 70 voicemail messages a day. What this does mean though is, if up until now you’ve been using pre-recorded voicemail messages, you might want to consider binning your old cold-calling software. It won’t take long before prospects get wise to this approach, and you’ll soon be heading into that blocked caller list.

  • A good way to stay in the safe zone is to hint at an existing connection with your prospect. This is a trick many sales reps will already be capitalising on, but by opening your call or voicemail message with “how’ve you been?” has been proven to have a 6.6x higher success rate for booking a follow up meeting. Phrases like this which add pattern interrupt into the call allow the salesperson to change the pace and direction of the call. This is true for leaving voicemails too. While your prospect may anticipate the nature of your call, they probably won’t expect you to address them like you’re already acquaintances. This will put them on the back-foot and will throw them off balance a little, making them less likely to hit decline in such a hurry.

    What's more, salespeople who state their reason for calling have a 2.1x higher success rate than those who err on the side of caution and try to play it coy, not being upfront with the reason for their call. So, by asking your prospect how they’ve been, then stating your name and reason for calling, your prospect is more likely to listen on. By alluding to the fact that you’ve perhaps already spoken, the dynamic of the call will already be shifting away from the cold aspect of the voicemail.
  • Psychology is a big influence in sales too, so use it to your advantage when you’re leaving a message. By mentioning a common connection, the likelihood of securing a meeting goes up by 70%. Another technique that’s effective to use is ensuring you’re using collaborative language. Rather than pitching sides as the words “I” and “you” suggest, by using words such as “we” and “our”, you create the idea of being part of the prospects’ team. If the prospect already feels like you’re working to support them and that you’re invested in their success, you’re far more likely to secure a follow up than if you’d played a conservative game and kept your distance.
  • Another factor you’ll want to consider is that for those with stronger accents, the translation might be a little rough around the edges. Make sure you enunciate clearly, speak concisely, and avoid awkward ‘ums’ and ‘ers’. Be mindful that if you’re speaking so quickly that your message becomes garbled, the transcript may also represent an incoherent mess. While it may not feel natural to do so, slowing your speech slightly, and leaving a pause for breath can serve in your favour.

These points all hint to the idea that your call is relevant to your prospect, but you also need to deliver that message in hard facts too. Using sales triggers in your outreach is the best way to secure your prospect’s attention as it allows you to demonstrate knowledge, credibility, and offer value straight away. Sales triggers allow you to reach out with relevance, so ensure you use this in your voicemail and you’re far more likely to keep that prospect interested until you can speak again in person.

What are sales triggers?

Sales triggers, often referred to as sales or market intelligence, pinpoint specific events for a company that signify opportunities for business transformation, growth, or change. These event triggers provide invaluable pre-intent data, giving sales teams a distinct advantage over competitors who rely solely on intent data for their buying signals. As early-stage indicators, sales triggers can give you a considerable edge, putting you and your team up to three months ahead of your rivals.

Rather than waiting for intent data to indicate a prospect's active search for solutions (which doesn’t always accurately predict their readiness to make a purchase anyway), sales triggers offer actionable insights at the very first point of relevance. This is when your prospective companies first begin undergoing fundamental changes. Sales triggers offer revenue teams actionable intelligence, enabling the development of unique sales strategies tailored to each prospective client.

Why use sales triggers in your outreach

While sales triggers hold a wealth of value beyond your initial outreach methods, they actually can also be the make or break in securing a deal – at any stage of the sales process.

Sales triggers are key to personalisation, allowing you to tap into your knowledge of a company's happenings to understand their needs and growth strategies. They can help revenue teams spot patterns and behaviours in prospects and existing clients that signal potential changes or growth within the company and therefore potential for expanding existing relationships and upselling too. For new prospects, sales triggers can also offer insights – possibly even alerting sales teams to factors that the prospect company itself may not have realised yet. For example, a recent award win can lead to increased interest, demand, and ultimately growth.

In sales, it’s also important to stand out from your competition. Your first outreach must be compelling enough to spark sufficient interest from your prospect that they’ll not only finish reading your voicemail transcript (and not mark you as spam) but will also open them up to a follow up call or at least a message reply. However, it's not just about getting your foot in the door; it's also about demonstrating why prospects need your solution and how they will benefit from them. This is where sales event triggers become invaluable in your sales strategy.


While many sales reps, not to mention prospects, hate cold calling, it is undoubtedly still an effective tool for outreach, even in 2023. Due to the massive increase in sales and marketing emails, the generic sales emails of old are now more like background noise to consumers. While this throws up new challenges for email outreach, it also means that prospects are more receptive to cold calls.

With ever-changing technology at our fingertips, it is essential that sales reps are capitalising on the opportunity of first outreach – in whatever form that takes. It’s no good to leave careless or flippant voicemails, in fact, doing so now can cause irreparable damage if you find yourself on a blocked caller list and your calls being automatically declined.

By only reaching out to relevant, qualified ICPs, you will automatically reduce your chances of being sent to spam. Take time in your approach to make sure your prospect is relevant, then do your homework on their company before reaching out. By demonstrating you have done your homework, even in voicemail format, you’ll come across and knowledgeable and insightful.

The conversion rate for cold calling is admittedly low – around 6%. However, it’s essential that sales teams remember that this conversion rate rockets to 18% when highly-qualified prospects are the target of our outreach. So, to achieve success with cold calling, especially considering the ever-growing list of tech features that make life harder for sales reps, it is essential that sales teams focus on quality of prospects and make relevancy and personalisation the centre of their outreach strategies.

Sales triggers can help you here too. By using sales triggers to identify prospects who are at a point of business change, you immediately bring relevancy to your outreach. Now you have identified a prospect who has a very real need, your next steps need to be researching the company to understand their needs and challenges. With all this knowledge gathered ready, you can make sure your first point of outreach is well-time, informative and relevant.

By making sure that every point of contact you have with a prospect is relevant and demonstrates real value, even call-screening features like the new iOS Live Voicemail won’t be a stumbling block on your path to success.

Want to know more about sales triggers and how to use them? Get in touch for a demo of the Selligence platform today and start warming up your cold calls.

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