Creating a Cold Call that Works

business woman talking on the phone

Late on Wednesday afternoon, my business phone rang. Being “The Phone Lady”, I answered it. The person at the other end gave me their name, their company (one of Canada’s large telecoms), and verified my identity.

My reply was immediate: “I’ll let you know right away that I’m not currently a customer of your company.” (A different telecom company has called me several times recently thinking I’m their customer. As soon as I correct them, they hang up on me.)

In this case, the caller remained calm and cheerful. The next statements they said were … perfect. I stayed on the call and we have a video meeting booked for later this month.

Who was this caller? And what did she say? And which company is supporting her in creating great conversations?

This is my 37th year of working with teams in a wide variety of industries that employ cold calling as part of their overall sales strategy. One of the vital skills is letting the prospect hear and experience that they have been chosen, that the call is truly about them.

And Tashfia Sadaf, a Business Account Specialist with Telus, used this skill. She caught my attention by saying that her focus was on Canadian women business owners.

Saying the Right Things

This is a great opening statement. It not only spoke directly to me but it connected with a huge part of my daily work. Earlier that week I had attended “Beyond Barriers”, a first anniversary celebration of Leveling It Up. LIU, of which I am a partner, delivers inclusive entrepreneurial programming and skills development opportunities to support diverse/intersectional and/or underserved women in Canada. I was still buzzing from the joy and energy of being surrounded by women business owners, so Tashfia’s statement motivated me to stay on the call.

Her next questions related to my current provider, if I had a contract, etc. She did not ask about current fees or mention discounts. In fact, we didn’t talk about money at all. Tashfia simply asked for the opportunity to present how she could be of service. Acknowledging that I was busy, she offered to have the conversation at another time.

Booking the Conversation

In some circumstances, this graciousness that delays a conversation could result in a lost opportunity. But it definitely worked for me. I was impressed that she wasn’t rushing me. Her responses told me she was interested in a relationship, not a fast sale.

So I agreed and suggested she email me so I could get back to her with possible dates and times. This is where her call excelled. She asked, “And your email is, the same as on your website?”

My response was instant and my voice contained my surprise: “You’ve been to my website?”

I receive a lot of sales calls. This was the very first time a salesperson had already been to my website and had spent time investigating what I do.

This is sad, right? Being given a phone list, without any research and being asked to continually dial hasn’t been an effective sales strategy for at least 15 years. Yet these calls continue to arrive. And I always ask, “Have you been to my website?” This creates either an awkward silence or the person hangs up.

But not Tashfia! She had read several blogs and expressed interest in my work.

People often tell me it takes courage to phone “The Phone Lady”. It makes sense to me that it can be intimidating. Yet Tashfia did it, and this supported my experience of her desire to work with me. In her follow-up email, which arrived within minutes, she included a link to her LinkedIn profile, further illustrating a desire for a relationship. Perfect!

What will happen when we meet? I don’t know but I’ll provide an update later this month. In the meantime, if you’re interested in the skills of designing cold calls that build relationships, I’d be delighted to speak with you. Here’s the link to book our conversation.

Closing a sale is the natural outcome of inspiring great conversations and listening intently to our potential customers.

This natural approach still involves a process – a plan that moves potential customers through a journey of discovery with you. So ... what's your process? And am I the right sales coach for you? Let's find out.

2 thoughts on “Creating a Cold Call that Works”

  1. I love the part where she didn’t discuss money- a key part of building trust because it makes everything else more important and cost becomes 3rd or 4th

    • Absolutely, Scott. She’s been in touch with me since via email and we are creating a relationships. When was the last time this happened with a telecom company? I’m looking forward to updating this story after she and I have our meeting.


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