Disarming a Prospect During a Cold Call

In today’s world of sales, technology allows us to access a lot of great information about prospective clients, but for most of us, we still need to pick up the phone and initiate a connection (also known as the “cold call”) with these prospects.

The first 10 seconds of any cold call can make or break it!

There are many different trains of thought on what to do with those first 10 seconds. If you are like my business partner Joe, you may take the “dog on a bone” mentality and go charging right in at the prospect. You never know exactly what response you’ll get, but hopefully it looks nothing like this:

I tend to take a different approach—one that makes Joe scratch his head every time he hears it. When I get my prospect live on the phone for the first time, like clockwork I say:

“Hello (insert name), my name is Geoff Winthrop calling with Acquirent. I know you weren’t expecting this call, am I catching you at a good time?”

The thought process behind this technique is simple: people are busy! Think about your day for a minute. If you’re like me, you have 100 different projects going on at work (not to mention many more at home). The last thing a prospect is expecting or wants to do is receive a cold call from a sales person. That’s why I feel it’s a perfect opportunity to ask if it’s a good time to talk. I know, I know, it goes against everything you have been taught, but try it!

Nine times out of 10, the prospect will make a joke of some sort like, “There’s never a good time.” Then they’ll say, “Well, what do you have for me?”

This technique tends to get the prospect out of defense mode and it opens up a door for you to really engage with great open-ended questions. So the next time you reach a prospective who seems rushed or defensive, take a second and ask them, “Am I catching you at a good time?” and you’ll likely get a disarmed prospect willing to listen.

Happy selling!