Cold calls might be essential for your prospecting process - it allows you to book a demo or discovery call with prospects and move forward in the selling process. But cold calling is rarely our favorite method.  

The scariest part lies at the beginning of the call. We are unable to think on our feet. We feel unprepared and not confident enough in the unknown situation. We overthink, over-prepare, and come off as not prepared at all.

So, how can you handle unknown situations in cold calls like a pro?

The trick is to treat a prospect like an old friend and not focus entirely on booking a meeting.

Creating an honest environment where the prospect feels comfortable telling you the truth is a secret gold mine for a salesperson.  Your prospect’s comfort should become your primary concern.

Why? Because when your prospect is comfortable, they will feel confident enough to tell ether: yes, they see the value and are open to sharing a little bit more and continuing the conversation, or no, not at this time.

Even when they say no, they’re at least honest and not trying to say something to avoid you.

Right now your initial conversation might go something like this:

You: Hi, this is John from XYZ company.

Prospect: I`m on my way to the hospital. I can't talk right now.

You: Oh...I'm sorry, can I call you back later?

But now imagine that the prospect is your friend. How would you react in that case? Perhaps something like this:

Prospect: I`m on my way to the hospital. I can't talk right now.

You: Oh god...are you okay? Do you need some help?

You turned this conversation to your advantage in a matter of seconds just by being human.

Remember, if you want them to treat you like a friend and not an annoying salesperson, you have to first start treating them like a friend and not another company to push your product to.

But what if you mess up and end up annoying the prospect?

Try using phraseology and tonality to defuse the pressure. For example, your cold call started on the wrong foot. Your prospect is aggressive and has no desire to talk to you. How can you change it?

Example #1:

Prospect: Why are you calling me at 6 AM?

From the first seconds, we understand our prospect is in a confrontational mindset. When your prospect is annoyed, your task is to de-escalate tension. For example, you can apologize and explain why the hell you were calling them at 6 AM.

Prospect: Why are you calling me at 6 AM?

You: I`m sorry, I thought I was calling people on the west coast. I feel like such a jerk.

Prospect: No, it’s fine. Huh...what do you need?

Let’s take a look at example #2:

Prospect: I’m sorry, you caught me at the gym. I can't talk right now.

Your usual  response might be:

You: I`m sorry ...maybe we can set up a time for another call?

But if you will get out of your sales mode, you can turn any conversation to your benefit:

Prospect: I`m sorry, you caught me at the gym. I can't talk right now.

You: What are you working on today? Is it a leg day?

Forget that you don't know the prospect. Instead, assume you are friends, and you always have something to talk about especially when they’re in good mood, like in our example# 3:

When your friend picks up a call in pretty good spirits,  you usually point it out.  And now, do that with your prospect:

You: You are in such a good mood! What's your secret? I want to be just like you!

Or something like:

You: Is it food? What are you eating, by the way? Avocado toast? Why does everybody eat that in LA? Is it that good?

The key to a successful conversation is to forget about yourself and think about them. One indicator of who this call is about is who is talking most during the call. Remember:

“As long as the salesperson talks - they are selling, as long as the prospect talks - they are buying.”

While getting out of your goal-achieving mode, you are trying to make a connection with someone.  And you are detached from the outcome.

Do not try to prepare for the prospect`s mood or words. The best course of action for you - is to be open-minded and ready to listen. React at the moment, think about your prospect as if it was your friend, and don't be too afraid to come off as nosy.

The success of your call lies in the first few seconds of the conversation.  So make your best out of it, using these examples!

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