Despite what you’ve heard, cold-calling is not dead. Tens of thousands of sellers practice this approach every day. And, while only about 1% of cold calls convert to meetings and 90% of top-level B2B decision makers don’t respond to cold outreach anymore, I asked several sales experts about the secret sauce that puts a cold call in the elite, successful 1%. So, what makes the approach effective? Turns out, you need a killer open.

Gone are the day of brittle cold call scripts and pushy salespeople. Today’s cold calls are a little warmer, better researched, and more valuable to the prospect.

1. The “Trigger Event” Approach

David Fletcher, CEO and Co-Founder, Maven Sales Group

How to Open a Cold Call

I'm calling because I understand you just announced a new product line and, as you already know, a new product launch requires a strategic outbound effort to connect to the market and get feedback faster.

What Makes It Effective

This is effective because it's tied to a trigger event. This product launch is a real event, and the fact I’m referencing it lets the prospect know I'm not randomly calling to sell my service.

The fact that this trigger event is something the prospect is actually dealing with and my promise of a positive business result sets the table for a value-based conversation -- not a commoditized pricing conversation.

2. The “Mini-Invitation” Approach

Eric Quanstrom, CMO, Cience

How to Open a Cold Call

Never ask how people's day is. Instead, always ask for a minute to talk. The goal is to create a mini-invitation that can be granted. "This is [your name] with [company name]. I know you weren’t expecting my call. Is now a bad time to talk? Because I’d like to take a minute to share why I’m calling.

What Makes It Effective

Creating a mini-invitation respects the prospect's time. The goal is to trigger curiosity in the prospect's mind, and the statement situationally disarms the prospect with manners.

Plus, by recognizing the interruptive nature of the call the prospect is given an out, which the caller can also benefit from by saying, "Okay, I understand now doesn't work. Is there another time I might call back?"

The purpose of any cold call is to be invited into the conversation. Without this, you’re either pitting yourself against the other party, talking over them, or performing what can best be described as a monologue instead of a dialogue.

3. The “Do Your Research” Approach

Zenaida Lorenzo, Lead Sales Trainer, Unstopped Sales

How to Open a Cold Call

There’s no one question or statement that will make a prospecting call effective. Instead, it’s important to focus on who you’re speaking with, and make a statement or ask a question that’s 100% relevant to them.

What Makes It Effective

The first few words -- the hook -- must make potential clients stop and listen. Decision makers get hundreds of cold calls a month. Most salespeople don't do any research. They use a canned cold calling script that adds no value.

It’s annoying, and when decision makers hear it, they tune out and rush to get off the phone. But, if you add value by mentioning something that’s important to them, you earn their attention for a minute or two.

4. The “Redirect” Approach

Mallory Durrick, Owner, Durrick Designs

How to Open a Cold Call

Hi, My name is Mallory Durrick. I wanted to introduce myself, and I know you're very busy. I'm not trying to sell you anything. I was hoping that you might be able to help me ... [insert your goal for the call].

Your goal could be to find out "Who handles the purchasing of print and copy machines at your company?” or “What is the name of your IT director, and, if possible, would you kindly put me in touch?

What Makes It Effective

I'm not trying to sell them anything. That’s what makes the line effective. Most gatekeepers are very responsive to being of assistance, because their job is to screen calls. Asking for help is a great way in.

Cold calling isn’t dead but is has been revamped. Salespeople have more information than ever at their fingertips, and it’s up to them to use that information to craft a better experience for every prospect they call.

Kick your stale cold call scripts to the curb and show up to do the work and a better job. Your cold call success rate will skyrocket and your coworkers will be wondering what your secret is -- I recommend you share it.

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Originally published Apr 17, 2018 8:30:00 AM, updated April 17 2018

Topics:

Cold Calling