The best practice cold call is a “pattern interrupt” cold call, where you interrupt the prospect’s normal thinking pattern. This allows you to make a cold call without alerting the listener you are a salesperson.
When the person I’m targeting answers, I first make sure I have the right person by name, asking, for instance, “Is this Bill?” Typically, they will pause and cautiously answer yes or ask what this is about.
I then say, in a conversational tone, “Bill, this is John Asher” (pause a moment while they check their memory for my name).
After a second or two, I will say, “You don’t know me; we haven’t talked before.” Another pause. This creates a blank slate in their mind for our conversation.
Next, I’ll say, “I’m with a company that does ___________ and I’m trying to find the right person at (their company) to talk with about this.”
Sounding like I’m innocently asking for help, I say, “Can you tell me who I should be speaking with?” At this point, after only the first 10 seconds of the call, we are already in a conversation.
Here is a testimonial from one of my sales training students: Brent Howell of MPulse Software:
“The pattern interrupting technique has allowed me to effectively engage the person I’m calling better than 90% of the time. I’ve only been hung up on twice in about three years of using it. I write that off as those guys were having a bad day.”
The secret to making this “pattern interrupt” call effective is 100% dependent on tonality and pacing. Sounds like you are genuinely lost and not like you are on a mission to sell something. People are typically very willing to be helpful if they are approached in the right way.
John Asher is CEO of Asher Strategies. John is an experienced international speaker on sales, sales management and marketing for Vistage, a world-wide network of CEOs.
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