What to Say in Those First 10 Seconds of a Cold Call


by Mary Hart of Koncert

You might be wondering what a marketer knows about cold calls, and the answer is “Quite a bit!” I sit with my SDR team, when we’re not working remotely, so I hear their cold calls and pitches all day every day, which gives me insight into what’s working for them and what doesn’t based on the rest of the conversation.

There’s nothing more important for an SDR / BDR than the first words that come out of their mouth, and that especially holds true for an agent-assisted call, where the potential customer has been passed from the agent to the sales rep for the pitch and you have just a few seconds to gain and hold their attention.

So, what should you say and what should you NOT say?

  • DO NOT state your company in your first sentence. Say your name, but not your company. They most likely don’t know what your company is, which gives them no reason to care. Your job is to make them care.
  • DO note that you’re an interruption. There’s no way around that. You are an interruption to their day with your cold call, and by acknowledging that right off the bat, you’re showing that you’re self-aware.
  • DO NOT call without knowing who you’re talking to. Before you start dialing, or have your human agent start dialing, you should have notes in your CRM for each person on that list from your research into their LinkedIn or past conversations. Don’t go in blind.
  • DO ask them for their help. Most people want to help others, and if you state that you’re looking for 30 seconds of their time to just point you in the right direction, instead of saying that you’re looking for them to buy something, the conversation is more likely to continue. Plus, the person you’ve called might not be your ideal customer, but someone else at their company might be. All you have to do is ask.
  • DO NOT let the person just avoid the call. But do so nicely. If they say they’re busy or have a meeting to get to, your go to answer is not “Sorry. Bye.” Instead, ask them if there’s someone else you should talk to or if you can set up a meeting for another time.

Once you’ve gotten past those first 10 seconds, you can go on to ask open-ended questions that discuss their pain points and challenges to narrow down what you should focus on for that next meeting.

The objective of any cold call is for it to feel like an actual conversation instead of a sales pitch that hits the potential customer over the head. You want to keep that conversation going to build a rapport and hopefully lead to a sale.

Mary Hart is the Senior Marketing Content Writer at Koncert, a multi-channel sales engagement platform focused on helping B2B sales professionals increase their top line revenue and reduce sales cycle time. koncert.com

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