The Ice Cold Call

Written by Sean McPheat | Linkedin thumb

Telephone in the snowOne sure way to help make the challenging task of cold calling a little easier is to work from a pre-qualified database.

When you are calling from data that has already narrowed the parameters to those businesses that fit your customer demographics, you save a lot of time, money and headaches. And if you are fortunate enough to have names and contact numbers for decision makers (DM), you’re half way home—before you begin!

However, often we do not have such luxuries and many times you are calling literally from scratch with little or no information. When you make a prospecting call pre-armed with a contact name and number—that is indeed a cold call. However, when you are prospecting from almost nothing and have no idea of whom to talk to or where to find them; that I call an ICE-COLD call, because, man, that’s really cold! Here are a couple of very simple, yet extremely effective ways to pour a little warm water on the ice.

The first thing to keep in mind is that these techniques are as simple as they look. The main reason I see sales people fail with this is because they overcomplicate it in their heads. It is simple and it is easy—keep it that way.

“I just want to double check…”

This one simple concept will get you where you want to go most of the time or at least close. All you want to do is to double check this company’s mailing information and throw in who is the Decision Maker. Remember, in these cases, even the address you have can be incorrect — so just double check — everything.

GK = Gatekeeper

GK: “ABC Company”

Sales Person: “Yes…Nick Price, XYZ Widgets — I just wanted to double check —- you’re on Big Time Avenue — right?

GK: “Yes, that’s right. 123 Big Time Avenue”

Sales Person: “So that’s Summertime City?”

GK: “Correct.”

Sales Person: “And what’s your postal code there?”

GK: “It’s CV2 TX5”

Sales Person: “Thanks — and the person who manages your marketing is he still there?”

GK: “Oh no, John left 3 months ago – It’s Lisa Thomas now”

Sales Person: “Great—thanks!”

Again, this is simple and fast.

The key is the nonchalant, matter-of-fact tone of your voice.

This is not some big deal — not something important — you are nobody in particular –you just want to double check.

When you do this correctly you will be shocked at the knee-jerk, near instinctive reaction.

Now if the GK does not know the answer, simply ask for that department if they don’t offer to do so:

GK: “I don’t know who handles that…”

Sales Person: “That’s fine; could you transfer me to that department?”

One Magic Word

Now once you get to that department, OR when you are calling a smaller company where the real GK may answer the incoming call and hit you with a screen, then take this approach:

GK: “ABC Company.”

Sales Person: “Yeah, Nick Price–XYZ Widgets—who am I supposed to talk to about the management of your widgets?”

Simply use the phrase, “who am I supposed to talk to…” in the place of the standard, “Who may I speak to…” or “who is in charge of…” or “who handles your…”

This will also shock you at how powerful and effective it is—–IF you don’t over do it!

Lastly, don’t worry too much about that first contact person on the “inside” that you may reach.

It is much easier to get the correct information from a coworker than from a GK—-just get in the door!!!

Use any combination of these two techniques and get the job done.

If you are sending literature for a follow up:

“I was about to put some things in the post —- I just wanted to double check……And the person who manages your help desk—to address this to?”

Or you can take it from scratch all the way to the matt!

GK: ABC Company
SP …I wanted to double check… and the widget manager—who’s that?
GK I’m not sure. I’ll transfer you to widgets
GK ABC Company, widget department
SP ….who am I supposed to talk to about widget purchasing?
GK I think Lisa Thomas
SP Is she in?
Pros Lisa Thomas
SP Yes, Nick Price, XYZ Widgets—who am I supposed to talk to about the purchasing of widgets—do you handle that?
Pros No, that’s Mark Steven’s department…

This is quick and effective too.

Happy Selling


Sean McPheat

Sean McPheat
Managing Director

MTD Sales Training

450 sales questions free report

Originally published: 3 June, 2008

Related Articles

Arrow down

Search For More

Arrow down