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How to make a cold call – Sprout StartUp


How to make a cold call

5 views September 1, 2016 September 1, 2016 Dominic de Bourg 0

The trick with cold calling is to show that you value people’s time. From the moment someone feels like you’re wasting their time, they lose interest in what you have to say. For that reason, call calls should provide value, and should be about how you can help the person you’re calling. The person should not feel like you’re calling them to shove your product or service down their throat.

A cold call is not about selling the product or service. It’s about selling an appointment to engage the customer. Keep it brief, keep it concise.


The main points to cover are:

  1. Who you are. Introduce yourself, your role and the organisation you represent (if applicable).
  2. Establish that you’re in the right place, and that you’re speaking to the right person. It makes no sense trying to sell to someone who can do nothing for you.
  3. Have a hook. The first few seconds of that call are crucial. Have something that peaks the person’s interest, and baits them for the end result of the conversation.
  4. Describe the pain point. People immediately pay attention when you can describe their problem better than they can. It’s a relief when you don’t have to explain yourself to someone, and you immediately open up to them because they ‘get you’.
  5. Deliver the value proposition. Let them know in as few words as possible, how you can address their issue.
  6. Provide references from pleased customers. This works because people hate to jump in first. If the person you’re calling has respect for the customer you’re referencing, that will immediately validate the solution you’re providing (social validation).
  7. Ask for an appointment or information with which to follow up.


Here’s a sample script to help you ensure that you cover all the relevant points within your call:

This is (your first name) with (company).

You and I haven’t spoken before, but we’ve (I’ve) been working with _______ since _______.

One of the chief concerns I’ve been hearing lately from other _______ executives is their frustration with (describe the pain point).

We’ve been able to help our customers deal with these issues. For example, we have helped _______ by (deliver the value proposition), which has resulted in _______.

I would like to have just 15 minutes of your time to see how you solve _______, and how we could help you.

Do you have time later today?

So why does this work?

Well firstly, if you copy this script exactly as is, anyone can call you out on it. The point here is to give you a quick example of the structure of the speech.

It works because it’s quick, to the point, and it doesn’t waste anyone’s time (including your own). It provides a solution, and is socially validated.

Main Takeaway:

The goal of this conversation is not to get the person to buy your product, but to set an appointment with them. When people commit to something easy, they have less hesitations about committing to bigger things. In order to maximise the opportunity, you need to make the most of your appointment:

  1. Be on time. First impressions matter. If you’re late to a simple sales appointment, why would you be on time when you have to deliver your product or service? Remember, no one likes to feel like their time is being wasted.
  2. Be proactive. Walk with extra to that appointment. Study the client’s needs and give them quick wins. Try to avoid making the appointment feel like a template/cut and paste solution. You’re not just going through the motions, you’re there to solve a problem.
  3. Address the person in front of you. Don’t make up your mind about how you’re going to treat with a person until you actually meet them. Having a poker face yields nothing if it’s used out of context. Remember that business is about people. So connect with them on a human level. Money and business come after mutual relationships are established.

One last point to note:

Don’t be a grouch if someone turns you down. Every call is an opportunity, and quite often it’s the way you deal with rejection that actually gets your foot in the door. Instead of just abruptly ending the call when you’ve been denied, extend a helping hand, and let the person know that you’re there to chat if ever they’re interested.

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