Calling all managers and sales reps alike! At this point in your career, you may know how to make a great cold call, but a refresher never hurts. It’s rare to come across a step-by-step cold calling guide on how to open up a call, keep the call alive, and handle prospecting objections as they come.

Prospecting is difficult, and cold calling objections are even harder to handle. You are catching someone “cold”. You are interrupting their day. But don’t forget that the reason for your call is to help a prospect do their job better and improve results for their company or themselves. You are offering them value so be proud of that!

Whether for your own use, or to create a guide for less experienced reps, we will go through examples and explanations in this cold calling guide that will help you craft a great prospecting call. Although in the case of this article, we refer to B2B scenarios, you can still tailor each of these to fit your own situation.

It’s important to get prospects to engage in a topic of interest to them within about 15 seconds. While difficult, it can be done if you present yourself in a context that is relevant to your prospect. We suggest starting with this cold call structure…

Be relevant. Look at their LinkedIn profile to find a hook. Find their title and something they have listed as a responsibility in their description that is related to your product or service.
Example: “I’m calling because we work with [their title] to [their responsibility]. Is that something you are involved with at [their company]?”

Go for a quick “yes” (or cut them loose). You want to be sure the person you’re speaking to is relevant to what you are selling. If they are not, politely try to still get in contact with a relevant prospect before letting them go.
Yes…, “That’s great. [my company] is a [description of product/service]. Do you use [relevant product/service]?”
No… “Really, is your title [their title]? That’s usually a function of that role. Who is responsible for that at [your company]?”

Ask some questions of “value” to hook them even further. Have a list of thoughtfully crafted “value questions and pick ONE that most closely relates to the responsibility you led with. For example, one of LevelEleven’s value questions is as follows:

  • Value: Reliable forecasts and hitting sales targets  – Value question: Our platform gives sales leaders the ability to know what teams are doing and if they are on pace to hit forecasts. Would it be valuable to have better forecasts – and no surprises at the end of the period?
  • Explain how the product or service works, why it helps the prospect do their job, and the value statements that are relevant to the prospect. Read the prospect’s interest and go into more detail if needed.
  • How about if we set a time to dive deeper and we can show you how [product/service] helps with [problem]?

Hopefully at this point, you have begun a conversation that is beginning to flow.

Cold Calling Objections:

“I’m not interested”

  • “Do you know what it is that we do?”
  • “Would you be willing to give me 30 seconds to share my value prop?”
  • “It sounds like you are busy with other priorities. When will [challenge they face] be something that will be a focus?
    *Pause for response* How are you currently addressing [challenge] ?”

“Not a priority right now”

  • “What are your current priorities?”
  • “Where are you in achieving [priority] ?”
  • If it matches your company’s value, restate your value
    “When will x be a priority?”

“Reach back out to me in x months”

  • “What’s going to change between now and then?”
  • “Okay, in x months are you going to be looking to evaluate or implement [product/service]?
  • if planning to implement, they should talk to you today!
    → set a tentative time
    → if they say no, ask what subject line to use when following up with them so that you’re not that annoying salesperson blasting them with emails, don’t want to do that. Ask “is that fair?” (you are trying to get a hint of what will resonate)

“We don’t have budget for that”

  • Many of our customers didn’t have a line item budget for [your product/service], but found it pays for itself. [Explain why]. Do you have a process for new solutions if there is a solid business case?
  • What are the major initiatives and goals right now?

“I’m all set” / “We already have a solution”

  • “That’s great that you have a solution, what are you using?”
  • “On a scale of 1 – 10 how satisfied are you with it?”
  • “What do you like (or not) about that approach?”
  • “Even though you have a tool right now are there any gaps you are looking to fill?”

“Send me some information”

  • “There is so much, let me figure out what to send. What are you most interested in?” (Give them a list of functions – a, b or c)
  • “[Product/service] can be applied to a lot of challenges. What is most critical to you?” (Give them a list of functions – a, b, c)

This tried and true cold calling guide can be very effective when used with the different ways you can handle cold calling objections. Hopefully these tips have been helpful, and you feel excited get out there and make some phone calls.