13 March 2024 |

 the best cold call opener

By Gabrielle "GB" Blackwell

The best way to open a call

When a prospect answers a cold call, there are four questions they’re likely asking themselves:

  1. Who is this?
  2. What does this have to do with me?
  3. Why should I care?
  4. What do they want from me?

Knowing these are the kinds of questions a prospect has when they realize they’re on a cold call, sales reps have to quickly help the prospect answer them.

This is where a great cold call opener comes in

And every great cold call opener is going to have four components to answer the four questions prospects ask themselves:

  1. An introduction – answers “who is this?”
  2. A relevance statement – answers  “what does this have to do with me?”
  3. A value statement – answers “why should I care?”
  4. A launch question – answers “what do they want from me?”

The Introduction

The introduction is simple and it does one of two things:

  • It makes sure you’re talking to the person you’ve intended to talk to
  • It let’s the prospect know who you are

Examples of an introduction:

  • “Hey Pat, this is Gabrielle from The One on One…”
  • “Hey Jordan, this is Gabrielle…”

Short, simple and to the point. 

The Relevance

The biggest difference between reps who do well at cold calls and those don’t is relevance. 

If reps take the time to understand and/or theorize what’s going on with an account and what is top of mind for the prospects they want to reach out to, they’ll have a much better chance at:

  • Keeping prospects engaged on cold call
  • Gathering insightful information about the prospect and the prospect account
  • Increasing their hit rate of activity to opportunities generated or demos booked

Example of a relevance statements:

  • “I was researching how ACME is going about [process your solution/service improves] and was led to believe you’re involved…”
  • “Saw that ACME has experienced 10% growth over the past 6 months, the majority of which is happening in your engineering department…”
  • “Read in a recent press release that ACME is using their recent round of funding to support an expansion into the EMEA and LATAM markets…”

Something to keep in mind when it comes to relevance statements – it takes work to figure out what’s relevant for prospects. Hence the reason why not every sales rep is doing it…or doing it well.

More often than not, sales reps just call down a list of folks, say the same old thing, and get rejected left and right. Reps typically have these kinds of experiences because:

  • They’re coerced into high activity numbers (*cough* vanity metrics drive the worst behavior *cough*)
  • They’re not accustomed to doing research and need to be coached up on it
  • They’re lazy sales reps…you know who I’m talking about 🙃

🏀Would this be helpful? I could speak ad nauseam about relevance, research and how to do it…but that would take another newsletter. Let me know if you’d find it helpful to get a newsletter dedicated to “how to do research and build relevance for cold outreach”. If enough people say they’re interested, I’ll get a special issue going for this topic. 

The Value

The value statement is the one which answers the question, “why should the prospect care enough to stay on the phone with you?”

Or better yet, it answers the question, “why should the prospect care about what your company offers?”. 

Now, this might be a controversial take, but the simpler a value statement in a cold call opener is, the better.

For example, my favorite / preferred value statement = “We have a solution that makes this process easier and faster…”

Often, I see reps make this part of an opener overly complex and overly verbose, leading prospects to disengage and/or get lost in the value proposition sauce. But, by simply saying things are easier, better and faster, it gives just enough to wet the prospect’s palate. 

The Launch

The last, but certainly not the least important component of any great cold call is the launch.

Simply put, the launch is the call to action (CTA) for cold calls, and should be in the form of an open-ended, situational question. For example:

  • How are you going about that today?
  • Help me understand, what does that process look like today?

The reason I recommend asking an open ended question is because sales reps will need to get the prospects engaging in the conversation in a valuable way. Yes/no questions aren’t the best for that.

The reason I recommend asking situational questions is because it encourages prospects to share what their current state is today, and from there, the sales rep can better discern if and where your solution / service can be valuable (or not). 

I’d also recommend avoiding the following questions for the launch:

Are you looking for a solution [like ours] today? If it’s a cold call, the answer is probably always going to be ‘no’, and bloop – convo over.

What are your priorities today? While it’s an open-ended and situational question, it may be too broad and/or too confidential for a prospect to easily answer. When it’s too hard to answer, your reps will lose their prospect’s attention.

Speed round advice on cold call openers

  • Get prospects engaged and talking within the first 25-30 seconds of the cold call…so keep the opener short
  • Reps can ask “how’re you doing?” or “do you have time for a brief chat?” if they don’t want to jump straight into the opener…I always recommend choosing one, but don’t do both
  • The Sandler opener of “do you have 27 seconds for me to share why I’m calling you today?” needs to be buried 6 feet under…it’s old, tired, and is no longer a pattern interrupt
  • Make sure your reps feel and sound comfortable in their opener – practice, role play, adjust to their natural way of speaking vs. having them read a script like a robot
  • Have fun – cold calls can be and feel stressful…finding ways to insert levity can help TONS in getting reps more comfortable and effective over the phone

Lastly, share the love

I’d love to hear from y’all on what you think about the opener I’ve recommended today. 

I’d love to hear what the best cold call openers you’ve either tried out or that you’ve seen your reps do successfully. Sharing is caring 😃!