What's the best way to open a cold call?

If you've been in sales awhile you have an opinion on the best way to open a cold call, let's share our best openings and talk about why it works.

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    • 4
      Profile picture of jakebernstein21
      ( 4.3k POINTS )
      2 years, 9 months ago

      I like the mini upfront contract of, “Hi Name, this Your Name from your Company – know I caught you off guard, is it OK if I take 30 seconds to tell you why I called?”

      I like it because it does establish pattern interruption, sets the expectation of the length of call, but gives the caller an “anchor” to give an intro and provide value to the recipient.

      • 1
        Profile picture of Jennifer Kurland
        ( 350 POINTS )
        2 years, 9 months ago

        I love using this one!

      • 0
        Profile picture of Paul
        ( 630 POINTS )
        2 years, 9 months ago

        I love this one too. The upfront contract technique works 70-80% of the time for me. My version is: “Thank you for taking my call, I know you weren’t expecting it, but may I briefly explain the reason for my call?”

        My usual responses are: sure, you got 30 seconds, real brief, and you will always get people that say no.

        Love the upfront contract technique!

    • 2
      Profile picture of Nick Turnbull
      ( 620 POINTS )
      2 years, 9 months ago

      I prefer to use “The why you? why you now?” approach that Jeff Hoffman has coached reps over the years.

      Hi, we never connected before but I was doing research on X….

      Hi, we have never spoken before….

      Here is an old YouTube clip on it https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R9II9jxAZfM

    • 2
      Profile picture of Joe Latchaw
      ( 5.9k POINTS )
      2 years, 9 months ago

      At our company, we still lead with who we are and why we’re calling. The pitch looks like this:

      Hello (Insert contact name). I am (insert AE name), calling from itelligence, an SAP Platinum Partner. Do you recall receiving an email from me regarding managed cloud services for SAP? (Pause for confirmation)

      While folks may view this as tired, I like stating the reason for the call upfront. the email serves as a warm-up so it’s not a true “cold” call.

    • 1
      Profile picture of briantroxell
      ( 480 POINTS )
      2 years, 9 months ago

      I have to give credit to Gong.io for this one – “How have you been?”

      Why does it work? It is a pattern interrupt that gets the prospects wheels turning about who you are. Yes, it may sound like you’ve met before but even if you have’t met or spoken before it is a genuine question you can ask.

      Here is what is sounds like in action. “Hey [prospect name]. This is [your full name] with [company name]. How have you been?”

    • 1
      Profile picture of benjamin_larue
      ( 700 POINTS )
      2 years, 9 months ago

      There are some solid approaches that have proven to work well. You’ll hear them all over LI and from sales leaders everywhere.

      My opinion is, there is no silver bullet here. Your approach is going to be unique to how you speak and the vertical your calling into…

      Unique to how you speak: for example, you don’t want to sound like a robot so make sure it’s actually something you’d say out loud. If it’s not something you’d say to someone on an elevator, likely won’t be something you’ll say over the phone.

      Vertical you’re calling into: A Director of IT will respond differently to an approach then an Operations Manager would. The same goes for a CRO vs VP of sales. I say it’s best to spend some time and A B test different variants for different verticals and titles. This way you’ll have proof of what works for who, and what doesn’t. Make sure your value prop aligns with what they do. In my experience, Intros are hit or miss, it’s the “hook” or “grab” that really counts.

      Enough of that and now for the goods 😉

      Variant 1;
      “Hey, This is [Rep Name] with [Company Name] have I caught you in the middle of something?”

      “The reason for my call is,…

      Variant 2;
      “Hey. [Prospects name], Thanks for taking my call, I know you weren’t expecting it so I’ll be brief…”

      “The reason for my call is,….”

      Variant 3;
      “Hey, [Prospect name] this is [Rep name] with [Rep company], the reason for my call is, you’re probably all set, but I have an unconventional idea that… [very specific value prop]

    • 1
      Profile picture of Jon Selig
      ( 345 POINTS )
      2 years, 9 months ago

      Loads of ways to do this, and it comes down to your personal style and whether or not your prospect is familiar with your company’s name.

      I worked at Oracle. So, when prospects answered, I’d lay that out ASAP “My name is Jon Selig, I’m with Oracle Corporation….”

      Boom. They know (or own) Oracle. I have some credibility.

      Next step (or if they don’t know your company) get to the “So what/Who cares/what’s in it for them, so they keep listening.

      I was never a fan of pleasantries. They’re busy, yet they took the call. I’d just get into it. They’re not up for a convo UNLESS they can be helped. Also – I’m generalizing. Some may be open to some up-front friendliness. Comes down to your style.

      I liked to position myself as a subject matter expert, by referencing a problem that their peers struggle with.

      For example, If I was calling CFOs, I’d say “we’ve been helping CFOs [at companies in their industry – drop some names if you can ] struggling with [ the exact problem you can solve for them ] and have helped them reduce/increase [ a KPI that they’re measured by ].
      Is this causing you grief too?”

      I’d map all that out, and then find out how to re-frame that all with something that gets them smiling/laughing.

      Do all of that in 15 seconds max.

      If you can a) touch upon a challenge they struggle with and/or b) can package it up in a memorable way, you’ll be hyper-relatable and likeable. You’ll win another 20 seconds.

      A bit of a bulldozer approach, but when I gave prospects a chance to opt-out (because in a sense I was trying to be respectful of their time), they would far more often than not.

      Just my $0.000000000000000000000000000000000002


    • 1
      Profile picture of Richard Harris
      ( 2.8k POINTS )
      2 years, 9 months ago

      Not everyone can use this one. You have to be “built for it”

      “Oh wow, someone picked up the phone. You just made my day.”

      Great pattern interrupts, and it makes people laugh.

      Then you can get to the other stuff.

    • 1
      Profile picture of Robert Jenkins
      ( 210 POINTS )
      2 years, 9 months ago

      I like Benjamin Dennehy’s approach (he is a Sandler salesman in the UK)

      He is just open and honest from the get go and never even says who he is or what company he is from. Hi pattern interrupt is so good because it first asks if the prospect is open to a conversation.

      Goes like this,
      Prospect: Hello

      Me: I know you’re probably going to hate me but this is a sales call (or say cold call). (Pause) Would you like to hang up now or would allow me 30-seconds to tell you why I am calling?

      – Typically you’ll either get a laugh here or they will hang up. The nice thing is if they hang up they don’t know you or your business so you can reach out another day a different way.

      – When they laugh or chuckle they follow it with “go on you have 30-seconds” or “What is this about” If they say the first you run through your pitch hopefully you can still do it without telling your name or business still just using pains you know they may have and list out 3-4 and ask if this rings true for them to? If they ask “What is this about” you would say. AHH OK Allow me the 30-seconds to tell you why I called and after that if you don’t like what I am saying we can can end the conversations there, sound fair?

    • 0
      Profile picture of Olivier Tytgat
      ( 685 POINTS )
      2 years, 9 months ago

      Hi, I’m Olivier Tytgat, we haven’t spoken before but we recently connected on LinkedIn. Then enter 1-2 sentences to personally connect with them, something like: “I saw on your profile that you have a lot of experience in managing sales teams, you must have seen many changes over the years.”

    • 0
      Profile picture of bethanyfagan1
      ( 510 POINTS )
      2 years, 9 months ago

      I’ve heard from my sales team that a mix of what @jakebernstein21 and @benjamin_larue mentioned below usually works best. As long as you are asking awareness, need, business impact type of questions during the first call, you can usually qualify someone quickly and move them to the next stage.

      More in our eBook with HubSpot: https://f.hubspotusercontent40.net/hubfs/2127247/eBooks/HubSpot%20+%20PandaDoc%20The%20Only%20Sales%20Templates%20Youll%20Ever%20Need%20(We%20Promise).pdf

    • 0
      Profile picture of Lucas Walker
      ( 220 POINTS )
      2 years, 9 months ago

      With a smile 😁

    • 0
      Profile picture of Jennifer Kurland
      ( 350 POINTS )
      2 years, 9 months ago

      My go-to is, “Hi it’s from . I know you probably weren’t expecting my call. Is it ok if I take a quick 30-seconds to tell you why I called and if it makes sense to continue the conversation we can figure that out?”

    • 0
      Profile picture of Zach Barney
      ( 1.3k POINTS )
      2 years, 9 months ago

      Mike Weinberg has (IMO) the best advice. Start with something different and authentic. He uses “Hey ______ It’s Mike Weinberg. Can I steal a minute?”

      Acknowledges that he’s interrupting them, and gives them the respect of giving permission.

    • 0
      Profile picture of drew.coryer
      ( 2.7k POINTS )
      2 years, 9 months ago

      Use pattern interrupts to get them saying “YES”.

      Hi _(name)_? (yes)
      Hi _(name)_, this is Drew with __(your company)__. Can you hear me ok? (yes)
      Are you still in charge of _(responsibilities)__ there at _(their company)__ (yes)
      I work with other _(position)__ to help them __(value prop)__. Can we chat real quick and see if this can help you? (yes)
      ***They just said yes 3x in a row, the chance of them saying YES again is high.***

      From there, you’ve opened the door, give a good value prop and ask a relevant open-ended question. It’s game time!

    • 0
      Profile picture of Sarah Drake
      ( 815 POINTS )
      2 years, 9 months ago

      Regardless of the exact words you use in the opening I firmly believe in asking for their time before giving the pitch. This is controversial but I’ve seen success with asking “I know I’m an interruption, could I get 27 seconds to tell you why I called?”.

      I think it’s important to also remember how important tonality is during the opening of a cold call. If you sound rushed or nervous, the prospect likely won’t take you as seriously and won’t want to continue the conversation.

      Now if you speak with confidence, clarity, and at a comfortable pace, you’ll have a better chance at getting that conversation to continue.

    • 0
      Profile picture of Parv
      ( 560 POINTS )
      2 years, 9 months ago

      I’ve always used –

      Hi this is MY_NAME from MY_COMPANY, I know I caught you out of the blue on a WEEKDAY MORNING/AFTERNOON, but do you have a few mins to chat?

      If yes then continue

      if the prospect says no – say – “not a problem, I can give you a call at a better time. Does one work in particular?”
      – *Wait for response*
      – “Great, I’ll give you a call back then. Just to provide some context for our next call, the reason why I called was PERSONALIZED_VALUE_PROP

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