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Decreasing a Prospect’s Guard When Making Cold Calls

When making cold calls, the person  on the other end of the phone will likely have their guard at a medium level since they will not know who you are why you are calling.  What you say or do during the cold call will have a direct impact on whether they increase or decrease their level of guardedness.  With that being the case, there are very clear things that can be done to be more effective at keeping the prospect’s guard down or decreasing it all together.


Name Dropping to Establish Social Proof

Whether you are talking to a gatekeeper or to the actual prospect, the first thing they will do when they answer your call is to try to determine if you are a friend or foe.  A friend would be someone that is somewhat on the inside by already having some sort of a relationship with the prospect’s company or already interacts with people on the inside.  In this setting, a foe would be someone on the outside trying to get in, like a sales person who is not doing business with them today and is trying to get in and sell something.

One key way to make the person you are talking to when cold calling feel like you are more of a friend than a foe is to name drop other people in the organization to establish social proof.  If you name drop other individuals that you know, have spoken with, are planning on meeting with, etc., then the prospect’s guard will decrease as you will appear to have social proof and already be on the inside.


Building Rapport

Of course, building rapport can help to decrease a prospect’s guard during cold calls.  One way to accomplish this early in the call is to confirm the prospect’s availability by asking if you have caught them in the middle of anything.

This may sound like a minor thing to do but it sends some very powerful messages to the prospect early in the call.  It tells them that you respect their time and want to be sure that it is a good time before you continue.  Confirming their availability also gives the prospect the choice to opt out so you are continuing by their choice.  These minor sub-communications help to decrease the prospect’s level of guardedness.





Qualifying the Prospect

A powerful technique to use when making cold calls is to display that you need to qualify the sales prospect.  Qualifying the prospect would be asking some qualifying questions to measure the level of match between them and what you are calling about.

By showing that you are interested in qualifying before moving forward shows that it is important to you as to whether or not you should sell to the prospect.  This not only shows them that you respect their time and don’t want to waste it, but it also displays that you have a high level of integrity as you will only sell to them if it makes sense.  The result of will be establishing credibility and building rapport, and both will help to decrease the prospect’s level of guardedness.


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Launch Pad Solutions provides a cold call script generator helping sales professionals to improve their cold calling.




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This article was published on Saturday 12 March, 2011.
Back to main topic: Cold Calling
Effectively Prospecting to Increase Sales
Dealing with the Gatekeeper When Cold Calling for Sales
The Power of Storytelling While Cold Calling for Sales
One of the Best Questions to Ask When Cold Calling for Sales
Voicemail Tips When Cold Calling for Sales
How to Cold Call

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