B2B Sales Blog
Back to Blog Index

Cold Calling During a Crisis

Cold Calling During a Crisis

Prospects are still buying. Here’s how to find the right ones.

Before I share with you how I’m getting prospects on the phone during these crazy times, I think it’s important to know that I’ve been a salesperson through the DOT-COM BUBBLE, 911 & 2008 FINANCIAL CRISIS.

What we as a human race are going through now with COVID-19 is unprecedented. It’s on all of our minds and everyone is concerned to one degree or another.

I can only pull from my own past experience on how to get through something like this. And the answer is simple on paper:

Control what you can control and push through.

If you’re a salesperson, not only are you responsible for you and your family, but all the other employees and their families are counting on you to do your part as well. Now is the time to push. To ramp up output. Make more sales calls.

You’re going to hear more “no’s” until you get to the “yeses” and that’s OK.

Just do your part. Increase the output with the intention to see if you can help, not sell.

Operate out of a desire to see if you can help your prospects solve a problem.

Here’s my opener when I make a cold call that is working really well right now.

ME: Hi (PROSPECTS NAME) it’s MICHAEL PEDONE with SalesBuzz.com. How are you?

PROSPECT: I’m fine.

ME: Crazy times we are in.

PROSPECT: Yea, I’ve never seen anything like it.

ME: It’s really something. With that said, the reason for my call is I’m noticing my clients are in two camps right now… one camp is battening down the hatches and the other camp is taking advantage of this time to get better and reload for the rebound… and I was curious to find out, which camp are you guys in?”

If they say they are in camp one, run the “plant a seed” play and end the call.


The plant a seed play is where you’ve quickly identified there is no opportunity or the prospect is not willing to admit or discuss if there’s an opportunity and you want to plant a seed that makes them think, toss and turn or remember you when a trigger event happens and they now need a solution.

I look at my openers as if I’m playing baseball and I’m in the batter’s box. I have to get to first base in order to ask some qualifying questions. If I can’t get to first base and I start firing off probing questions, the prospect is going to get annoyed. That’s not fun nor profitable way to sell.

So I definitely want to get to first base so we can have a smooth conversation. But if the prospect isn’t willing to play ball, OR if I get to first and during the qualifying phase I discover there is no pain point (or the prospect is unwilling to admit to a pain point) now is the time to run the “plant a seed” play.

Planting a seed requires you to know what the top 2 to 3 problems your prospect would have to have in order for them to be interested in your solution.

Example, if I’m speaking to a Sales Director who has 10+ sales reps, and they do not have or are unwilling to admit they have a problem that needs correcting, I simply say this:

“Well Mr. Prospect, it doesn’t really sound like there’s anything I can help you with at the moment so here’s what I’ll do… Just in case you ever have a situation your team misses quota, struggle to get prospects to call them back or they start sending tons of emails because they are afraid to pick up the phone, I may have a few solutions for you that could turn that around, so I’ll email you my contact info just in case I can be of any further help to you, fair enough?”

If you do this correctly (say the right things the right way) 99.9% of your prospects will say “OK!” and now, when a trigger event happens (trigger event = a pain point pops up that now makes what you offer, needed) you are the one they remember to call first.

So that is if they are in camp one.

If they are in camp two, move to the next step of the sales process. Ask your qualifying questions etc.


Using this opener takes the rejection out of the equation. They are not rejecting you if they are in camp one, you are qualifying them to see if there’s an opportunity to help them.


“But what if they don’t answer their phone? A lot of people are now working from home and we don’t have their cell numbers!”

Here’s what you do…. after your call attempt, send an email with the subject line: Missed Call.

In the email, simply write what you would have said if they answered the phone.

In my sales emails, I have a link so that the prospects who are interested can schedule a call with me. Having a link that allows prospects to pick a date/time eliminates the back and forth emails.

The prospects that are in camp #2 will schedule a call with you and now you’ll have a set appointment with an interested prospect.

Now, see if you can help them.

– Michael Pedone

Michael Pedone teaches inside sales teams how to pick up the phone and close business. He is the CEO/FOUNDER of SalesBuzz.com – An online sales training company.

[do_widget id=custom_html-2]