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How Do You Start a Cold Call?

How Do You Start a Cold Call

How Do You Start a Cold Call?

How do you start a cold call? Ask this question on any LinkedIn group, and you will get so many different answers you’ll regret you ever asked. 

The misinformation regarding how to cold call is in abundance, and too many people with too little experience are willing to tell you how to cold call. There are many ways to start a cold call, but there’s only one “best” way. And I’m going to show you how.

What is Cold Calling?

If you ask “what is cold calling?” to a group of sales reps, you’re most likely to get several different answers. However, the definition of cold calling is:

“Contacting any prospect that is not currently raising their hand.”

It’s that simple.

“But what about existing customers?”

If you’re calling on clients not currently raising their hand – you are making a cold call.

“I like to warm my calls up by sending an email first.”

Nope. Still cold calling. Just because you sent a prospect an email doesn’t make the lead any warmer on the prospect’s end. If the prospect is not a hand-raiser, it’s a cold call.

“I don’t cold call; I get all my leads from referrals.”

Wrong again. Unless those referrals are inbound, calling your best clients and asking, “who do you know?” means you’re making two cold calls – one to your client who wasn’t raising their hand at the time and one to whatever names you squeezed out of them.

How Do You Start a Cold Call, Step #1

Know you’re target audience. You have to know what KPIs (key prospecting indicators) your target audience has and then build that list with only prospects matching specific criteria that pre-qualify them to be a “suspect.” Nothing will burn a sales team out faster than cold-calling leads that have almost zero chance of converting.

How Do You Start a Cold Call, Step #2

Know what problems your prospect would have to have to be interested in hearing more about your solution. Every business is only in business because they solve a specific targeted audiences’ specific problem(s). You have to know what problems your companies’ solutions solve because if there’s no problem, there’s no need for a solution.

How Do You Start a Cold Call, Step #3

It would be best if you had a sales script. Sorry, but “Captain-wing-its” need not apply. Sure, you need to be able to think on your feet. But flying blind call after call and expecting to get great results is a recipe for disaster.

How often would you go back to a restaurant if your favorite dish is different every time? You would want them to follow the proven recipe, correct? The same goes for scaling a company’s revenues. You can’t have ten sales reps creating their different recipes call after call and expect top-line results.

How Do You Start a Cold Call, Step #4

You start by knowing and understanding what the objective is of the sales call. When you are calling a prospect for the first time, what is your goal?

“To set an appointment.”

Nope.

“To inform them about what we offer.”

Nope.

“To close them.”

Nope.

When you call a prospect for the first time, your first objective is to “qualify” them.

“But we already know they are qualified.”

No, you don’t. For a prospect to be qualified, they have to:

  1. Be the decision-maker or at least part of the decision-making team
  2. Have a problem your solution solves and wants that problem solved.
  3. Can afford your solution should they decide to move forward.

So, your first objective of a sales call is to qualify the prospect. And how do you do that? By asking questions that qualify the prospect.

“How do I get the prospect willing to answer qualifying questions?”

You get prospects willing to answer qualifying questions by using an opening value statement that does two things.

How Do You Start a Cold Call, Step #5

Your opening value statement (What you say after “Hello, my name is…”) has an objective. And that objective is to accomplish two things and in this order:

  1. Pique Interest
  2. Gain permission to continue the call

How to Pique a Prospects Interest in the First Few Seconds of a Cold Call

By going back to steps #1 and #2, you will have the data you need to accomplish step #3, build your opening sales script.

Here’s an example:

Cold Call Script Example:

Hi (NAME), it’s (YOUR NAME) with (Company Name) – How are you?

Great! (OR) Well, 

The reason for my call is (OR) I’m calling because…

We help/advise/assist/support/guide (industry/title/vertical) – (pain point/problem)

and if I caught you at a good time I’d like to ask you a few questions just to see if what we have to offer may be of some help to you, would that be OK?

Real-world Cold Call Script Example:

Hi (NAME), it’s Michael Pedone with SalesBuzz.com – How are you?

Great! (OR) Well, 

The reason for my call is (OR) I’m calling because…

We help B2B sales teams overcome call reluctance.

and if I caught you at a good time I’d like to ask you a few questions just to see if what we have to offer may be of some help to you, would that be OK?

By following these five steps, you and your team will be on the right track to converting more cold calls into opportunities with less rejection.

– 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.