Develop Your Own Cold Call Opener

Phone headset on desk
PhotoAlto/Odilon Dimier/PhotoAlto Agency RF Collections/Getty Images

The first few seconds of a cold call are crucial. That's the moment when a prospect decides if he's going to say “No thanks” and hang up, or if he's going to give you a few minutes to tell him more. So developing just the right cold call opener can make a huge difference in how well your calls go.

The Opening

A good cold call opener often sounds much like an elevator pitch. The circumstances are similar – in both cases, you're trying to give the prospect just enough information to make him give you more time.

If you already have a strong elevator pitch, you can modify it into a cold call opener with little difficulty. If not, using these steps to craft your cold call opener can also give you the basis of your new elevator pitch!

Know Your Product

First of all, the better you understand your own products, the stronger your opener can be. If you haven't already done so, you need to learn all you can about your products. That doesn't just mean reading the brochures or even product manuals. The best way to really understand the product is to use it yourself. If that's not an option, the next best alternative is to talk to people who do use it – your customers, product testers, engineering teams, and so on. Look for reviews by third party groups. Reviews will often mention both strengths and weaknesses, which is very useful information for you to have. It gives you more potential benefits to include while preparing you for objections.

Once you have the information you need, the next step is to ask yourself three questions:

  • Who are my potential prospects?
  • How do my products and services help them or both?
  • What kind of results have my products and/or services produced in the past?

Start with your potential prospects. This should be the group or groups that are most likely to want and need your product.

For example, if you sell small business accounting software, your potential prospects are small business owners. If you sell home security systems, your potential prospects are homeowners. Depending on your product, you may be able to narrow the field further. If your home security systems are more expensive than the competition but come with features suitable for very large homes, then your potential prospects are actually wealthy homeowners.

What Are Your Product Benefits?

Next, ask yourself how your products and services benefit your customers. This is where product knowledge will prove truly crucial, as it allows you to bypass the obvious benefits and pick out some details that will really impress prospects. For example, your small business accounting software has the obvious benefit of helping small business owners keep their finances organized, but if you know that your product has the highest reliability in the market and comes with extra data retention features, then you can cite the benefit that your software helps keep vital financial data secure even during a major disaster.

Get Testimonials

Finally, you'll need to turn to your customers to collect stories about how your products have come through for them in the past.

In the previous example, you might know of a customer whose financial data remained intact even though a hurricane completely destroyed his office. Your marketing department is also a potential source of such information; they may be able to tell you that the software product has saved customers an average of $15,000 per year in accounting fees.

Once you've come up with answers to all three of these questions, you can bring them together into your new cold call opener. If you were selling the above accounting software package, your opener might say, “We help small business owners keep their valuable financial data safe and secure. In fact, we can preserve your financial records even if your office is totally destroyed.”

Find Your Next Job

Job Search by