How to Develop Your Own Cold Call Opener

Phone headset on desk
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The first few seconds of a cold call are crucial. That's the moment when a prospect decides if they're going to say “No, thanks” and hang up or if they're going to give you a few moments to tell them more about what you're selling. Developing just the right cold call opener can make a huge difference in how well your sales calls go.

Use Your Elevator Pitch as a Starting Point

A good cold call opener often sounds much like an elevator pitch: a quick sales appeal you could say to someone when you've got minimal time, like in an elevator when one of you might be getting off on the next floor.

If you already have a strong elevator pitch, you can modify it into a cold call opener with little difficulty. If not, crafting your cold call opener can give you the basis for your new elevator pitch.

Identify Yourself

The first part of your cold call opener is your name and company affiliation. You must begin by giving the person whose day you've interrupted the basic courtesy of identifying yourself.

If you give only your first name, you'll probably sound more friendly. And be sure to lead off with the name of the person you've reached once you're sure that's who it is. That will also help establish a connection between you.

Mention a Benefit Quickly

Unless the person you're calling hears something that would be helpful to them within a few seconds, they will hang up and get back to what they were doing. That's why it's crucial to quickly mention a benefit your company's product or service can offer them.

If your product can increase the efficiency of their manufacturing process by up to 33 percent, say that⁠. If your service can cut their online customer acquisition cost by an average of 44 percent, let them know.

Offer Credibility

To make your opening benefit more credible, provide some information on the reach of your company that will show it isn't some fly-by-night outfit. If more than 250 companies around the world that are similar to theirs have experienced that increased manufacturing efficiency, speak up. If both your company and the one you're trying to land as a customer are small businesses, you might mention that six local companies they would recognize have lowered their CAC dramatically after using your service.

Ask for More Time

Now that you've made it clear exactly what you're offering, you need to ask your sales prospect for permission to tell them some more about it. Telling them you'll take only a minute of their time when you don't know whether they have a minute to spare right then isn't the best approach. You may be seen as presumptuous and unworthy of any more of their consideration.

Asking them whether you caught them at a good time is a better option. It shows you're aware of the demands on their time and you're not taking their attention for granted. If they say no, you can ask whether you could call them back later that day. If they say yes, you have permission to go ahead with a more-detailed pitch.

Opener Examples

Combining all of those parts would lead to openers like the following, all of which would be preceded by a confirmation that you've reached your intended prospect.

"José, this is Samantha at Fantastic Widgets. More than 250 global companies have increased their manufacturing efficiency as much as 33 percent by switching to our products. Is now a good time to speak with you about them?"

"José, this is Samantha at Exemplar Marketing Services. Our company has lowered customer acquisition costs for six companies in Middletown, including ABC and XYZ, by up to 44 percent. Have I caught you at a good time?"