“How are you doing today?” Is that a good way to begin a cold call?

We think not. Here are two rules to craft a more successful opening instead.

At the Starting blocks

This topic came from a great Group on LinkedIn called ‘Best Practices for Telephone Prospecting/Cold Calling’. If you’re not a member, I suggest you join it. Roger Hamilton created the group and it’s one of the largest in LinkedIn. Good topics there as it is a great place to get questions about appointment setting addressed.

Starting a call with, “How are you?”, “This is a cold call”, “May I have a moment of your time?”, “Do you have a moment?” all have one thing in common. They are attempts to soften the fact that this is a cold call. I don’t have a problem with the sentiment, but I do have a problem with delivery.

Trust me, they get the fact that this is a cold call. We recommend getting straight to the point of the call. By asking for permission to continue or by asking them how they are doing, you give them an easier out. “No, I don’t have a moment”, “Yes, I do mind”, and “I’m having a bad day. What do you want?” will just make your job that much more difficult. Why make your job harder than it already is? BTW, if you call me and ask me how I’m doing, I promise you I’ll tell you I’m having a bad day as I just love to hear how sales professionals stumble through what to say next. (They basically ignore it, which proves the point executives tell me all the time. It is a disingenuous question. I know they don’t care and ticks me off.)

As I conclude in this blog below, it’s all about the metrics. Improving your success rate even a little, makes a big difference at the end of the day. So, if you think this is no big deal, think again—unless you like making more dials. (BTW, if you’d like a second opinion, check out this blog by John Barrow.)

Here’s the simple way we suggest starting instead:

1) First, on every call, we first introduce ourselves, provide what we call a ‘7 second commercial’ explaining what we do, and then say something to the effect of, “The reason I’m specifically calling you today is…” That signals we’re getting right to the point so most people will let us continue.

2) We then couch the language regarding the reason for the call into terms that relate to what other customers have told us about what our solution did for them. We do not recommend talking about what our solution can do the for the person we’re calling. After all, until we’ve had an exploratory meeting with them, we really don’t know, do we? Does our solution fit every situation? Can we save everyone money? Can we improve everyone’s situation? Of course we can’t. To make that assumption insults the intelligence of the people we’re calling.

One last thought on the concept of metrics I mentioned above. These techniques I suggest do work and I do have the numbers to back that statement up. However, nothing works all of the time. The idea is to incrementally increase the odds of success on every call, even it’s only a couple of percentage points. If we’re making just 20 dials a day, that’s about 4400 dials a year. The law of large numbers will tell us that even a one or two percent increase in our Conversation Ratio (dials to conversations with the person we want to meet with) and the Appointment Ratio (conversation to appointments), can be immense.

If you’d like more information on how to craft the opening of your calls, or why no team of sales professionals has ever failed to at least double the number of Initial Appointments they were setting after going through one of our programs, give us a call or drop us a line. We love talking about the challenges of appointment making!

Caponi Performance Group and Contact Science jointly market the telephone prospecting and cold calling solution called Coldcalling101™.  It is the only comprehensive solution to solving the biggest barrier to success in most selling organizations—the inability to secure enough Initial Appointments to begin the selling process. We accomplish that through simultaneously addressing both the efficiency and effectiveness of the process.  We can be reached at 817 224-9900 or at bcaponi@caponipg.com. You can also find answers to many of your challenges in our books: Contrary to Popular Belief, Cold Calling DOES Work! Volume I: Effectiveness, The Art of Appointment Making and  Volume II: Efficiency, the Science of Appointment Making.

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