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How to Cold Call without a Pitch

How to Cold Call without a Pitch

Ari Galper

In the old way of making cold calls, we offer a sales pitch to a perfect stranger, cross our fingers, and hope for the best… isn’t that right?

This really doesn’t work very well in building a business relationship (or any other relationship, for that matter). This is done best by stepping into the world of the other person and finding a problem we can solve for him or her.

That’s how we begin a conversation with another person – talking about them rather than talking about ourselves. It’s just a very common dynamic that occurs in any human interaction. When you’re dating somebody, for instance, if you just talk about yourself, they’re not going to like you very much, right?

It’s the same in cold calling. Don’t talk about your solution for a while. Talk instead about their problems for a bit. It’s a movement of dialogue. This dialogue is around talking about their world and not about your product. That’s the shift. All you have to do is identify three or four major problems that your product solves, and use those problems as phrases to begin the dialogue of your cold call.

You see, this new cold calling approach has to be tied to a specific, real problem that the person experiences in their world. This is needed in order for them to feel comfortable having a conversation with you. When you’re relevant to them and their world, they trust you. They sense that you’re there to help them solve a problem – not sell a product.

So remove yourself for a moment from what you have to sell, and think about what problem your solution solves for somebody. For example, if you’re in the coaching industry, think about what problem you’re solving for your clients. You might say, “I’m just calling to see if your company’s open to the idea of using coaches to improve management performance.”

When you use the word “open,” people respond positively. Who would say “no” to being open? You’re not challenging them. You’re not forcing a solution. You’re not even saying what you’re offering to sell. You’re simply asking a question around whether they have a particular problem.

This also invites a question back to you. Potential clients will often ask at this point who you are and what you do. They might say that they already have a service, but they may need some more help. So it opens up even more conversation.

Here’s an example of how salespeople focus their cold calling around something that appears to be a need, but they haven’t tied it to a specific problem.

Let’s look at financial services. In this case, people who sell financial services start cold calls with a focus on the future of the person’s situation. They might say, “I’m just calling to see if you’d be open to some new ideas to help you increase your income.” The better approach here would be to problem solve. For example, “I’m just calling to see if you’d be open to identifying any gaps in your portfolio that might be holding you back in some way.” It’s about problem solving and closing gaps, as opposed to promoting a beautiful future. “Hire me and I’ll make you a lot of money!” Everyone does that. That’s the problem. It gets old and very stale

You see, there’s no push here. There’s no sales pitch. There’s no presentation. The conversation is focused on really seeing if the person has a problem, and if they want to solve it. After the first few phrases, you have a natural conversation back and forth. They may say, “What’s your service?” “How much does it cost?” And that’s the time to begin to really tell about your service — but not before that.

If you don’t talk about your solution for a while and instead talk about their problems, you’ll find yourself having better and deeper dialogue, with more trust.

So be careful not to immediately go into a presentation and spend the conversation talking about your service. In this new way of cold calling, you’re asking in a very conversational tone whether the other person has a problem that you can solve.

You won’t believe how this simple technique can make such a difference in the way potential clients receive your cold calls. Tension and resistance are vastly reduced, and results are greatly improved.