The first thing you say on a cold call sets the tone for the rest of the conversation. Delivering this well can literally be the difference between a hang-up and successful next steps.
So here are three ways to open cold calls that we've found success with.
1. Hi Sally, It's Matt here from Sales Science, I haven't caught you at a bad time have I?
This one is effective because we're asking for a "No" response from the prospect. As Chris Voss outlines in his book Never Split the Difference people feel more comfortable responding No than they do Yes. It makes them feel like they're still in control.
So by framing the question this way, we're able to play on that physcology and get to the next stage of the call.
2. Hi Sally, It's Matt here from Sales Science, look I'm going to level with you, this is a cold call, do you want to hang upor can I get 30 seconds to explain why I'm calling?
This approach works because you're putting all of your cards on the table. Being completely transparent. Prospects value this, they're used to people calling them and saying "I'm not trying to sell you anything" cough*bullshit*cough.
3. "Hi It's Matt here from Sales Science, I know I'm an interruption but can I get 27 seconds to explain why I've called?"
This approach leverages a pattern interrupt to get the prospects attention. Usually sales people will ask for 30 seconds or a minute. By asking for 27 seconds you're taking the prospect out of the flow of what they expect to happen. This surprise lightens their mood and generally results in you getting to explain the premise of your call.
Bonus - Combine them all together. How can we combine these three approaches to leverage all three tactics, a no oriented question, complete transparency and pattern interrupt? How about this...
Hi Sally, It's Matt here from Sales Science, this is a cold call, is there any reason you wouldn't give me 27 seconds to explain the reason behind it?
It doesn't really matter which one you choose, what's important is that you're comfortable delivering it.
Let me know in the comments what your favourite opener is.