Effective Cold Call Opening Lines (With Objection Handling Templates)

A quick puzzle: Which of these are break-up texts and which are common cold call objections?

“I’m not interested.” 

“Sorry, I don’t have time for this now. I’ve got to go.”

“It’s not you. I just don’t have the need right now.”

“I’m already with someone for this.”

Ans: All of them are common objections cold callers face daily. We know you got this one right.

The first bridge to cross in the cold calling process is to hold on to the prospect’s attention dearly in the first few seconds before they can throw you with one of these breakup messages.

So, what can you say on the call that could keep them listening and place a successful cold call? 

We have compiled a list of the best cold call opening lines that can boost your cold call success rate, cold call scripts to handle objections you’ll face in the first few seconds, and cold calling tips on what you should say on the phone call.

A. What To Say In The First 20 Seconds Of Your Cold Call?

Firstly, whatever you say in the first few seconds–whether it’s humorous or unique–will hold up only if you get the basics right. What are these basics? We explain below:

1. Get Your Tone Of Voice And Confidence Level Right

  • First, focus on the tone of voice. Talk as if you’re asking for help. People are generally always ready to help out. Here’s why:

    Social psychologist and author of ‘Reinforcements: How To Get People to Help You’ Heidi Grant, told The Verge, “Human beings are basically wired to want to give help. It’s one of the richest sources of self-esteem, and it has the potential to be a real win-win.” 
  • Second: You have to win their trust. So, speak with confidence and unwavering conviction in your pitch. 

    That means don’t ask them “have I caught you at a bad time.” This line reeks of uncertainty.  Prospects will mirror your energy, so if you’re positive and enthusiastic on the call, the prospect could reflect that good mood.

Think about it, imagine you’re talking to a decision maker and your voice is loudly uncertain (eg: your voice is shaky), they’ll consider you untrustworthy.

2. Introduce Yourself

When opening a cold call, do not forget to tell your prospect who you are. A short intro with 

  • Your full name,
  • your organization, 
  • maybe your founder’s name, 
  • your location, 
  • the industry of the organization (if your brand is not popular enough)

Entrepreneur Grant Cardone, says, the best way to introduce yourself in a cold call is to start with your name and organization/founder. But if your founder isn’t super-famous, it is sensible to stick to an introduction like this:

Hello, this is Jim from Xenox.”

3. Use Pattern Interrupt As A Strategy For Opening Conversations

To make a good first impression in your cold call, you have to break their age-old assumptions about cold call sales pitches first.

People have already associated salespeople cold calling to telemarketing negatively and would prefer to snap the connection as soon as they realize it’s a sales call. That’s a pattern outbound sales teams have to break. 

So how can you use pattern interrupt to open sales conversations? 

Say something that you normally wouldn’t say–like “Hey Tom, this is a cold call. Would you be able to stay or hang up?” 

or showcase the prospect’s main pain point from the get go – “I learnt from your colleague Tim that your SDRs are unable to get meetings booked. Is that something you’d like to focus on solving?” 

Related: Read more actionable cold calling tips here

B. Best Cold Call Opening Lines

1. Ask for Help

A man smiling on the phone with the best cold call opening line

“Hi, I’m Tim from SaaS domains, a digital domain renting platform. I’m wondering if you could help me with something.”

How does it work?
As we mentioned earlier, people love to help. Helping others feeds people’s self-esteem, so it’s in your best interest to ask your prospect for help. So, science approves this one.

2. Be Honest And Direct

  1. “Hi, we’ve never spoken before. I’m ‘Tom’ from ‘Zeno’, a project management software company. Is now a good time to talk?”
  2. “Hey, we’ve never spoken before. I’m ‘Tom’ from ‘Zeno’, a project management software company. The reason I’m calling you today is to check if you’re facing any troubles with {their current project management tool} and see if I could help you out.”


How does it work? 

One of the biggest reasons why prospects are in a big hurry to cut off cold calls is that they think they’re about to be forced to buy something. People are used to the usual tricks employed by reps during cold calls and are accustomed to cutting the call as soon as they realize it’s a cold call. 

So, answering honestly about the reason for the call and telling them where you’re calling from builds trust–at least long enough for them to stay on the call. 

VP, Revenue of Kleene.ai, Greg Freeman vouches for outing oneself immediately in cold calls, he told in an article for engageiq.co.uk. He’ll continue by cracking a joke about how he doesn’t like to make them and instantly lightens the mood. And it works because he’s being honest about the call.

3. Make The Prospect Laugh?

A woman laughing, relating to a cold call opening line where the prospect laughs

“Hi George, I’m Tim from Zeno, a project management software company. My boss said if I don’t make a sale I’m fired, so if you’re not in a buying mood, perhaps you have a job opening.”

How does it work? 

This funny cold call opening line is courtesy of the author of the Little Red Book of Selling, Jeffrey Gitomer. As we saw previously in the ‘honest and direct’ section, lightening the mood goes a long way in breaking the ice and building trust. Because shared laughter communicates to each other that they share similar worldviews–which is key in building relationships.

The people you’re calling are already bombarded with formal communication from all angles so a joke is going to interrupt that pattern and get their attention, even if it’s for a few minutes.

4. Hyper-Personalize The Call

A man in a suit extending his hand for a handshake

“Hi Tom, my name’s Ben. We’ve never spoken before but we have a mutual connection. I actually attended {prospect’s college} in the ‘15 batch. Which batch were you?

<their response and some small talk later get back to the reason of the call>

So, I’m calling from Zeno, a project management software company. And I wanted your help with something.”

How does it work?

A research that studied the effects of shared experiences on social connection, revealed that shared experiences are a key component of building relationships between unacquainted people. So yes, mentioning your mutual connection helps to get the conversation started. 

Go on your prospect’s LinkedIn profile and see if you can pick up on anything that you can use to build a personalized conversation around.

5. Following Up After A Cold Email

A black cover, a paper and a pencil on a tile

“Hi {prospect name}, it’s {your name} with {your company name}, a {company type/field} company. I noticed that you had checked out an email I had sent to you about how {your product solves the prospect’s problem}. Is that a serious concern for you/your team/your organization?”

Alternatively you can also press into the pain point and throw some numbers in the last line so instead of ‘serious concern for you’, you can say, “Looks like it’s a {amount} dollar problem for companies of your size in the industry. Is now a good time to talk about this problem?”

Why does it work?

Since the prospect has already engaged with your email, they have some acquaintance with your company or your name. 

Before calling, if you follow up with them on LinkedIn as well, the prospect will have better recall about you. 
That’s not all, per the LinkedIn State of Sales report, 2022, 90% sellers today engage in warm calling.

6. Re-engage With A Lost Lead

An image with 3 phone receivers - 2 connected to one another.

“Hi Sophia, it’s Lucas from Supernova, {the category of company}.

We had connected three months ago, when you showed interest in {solving a particular problem} but because {a different priority} you decided to not move forward with the idea. Has solving {the problem} become a priority now…considering the {your reason to reach out to them, like a recent industry report, market movement, external or internal cues that suggest they should ideally solve problem X}?”

How does it work?

Reengaging lost leads is a type of warm calling. There’s a much better chance of them listening to you if you’ve connected with them before. 

And this time, bring up the context of the call, tell them how you were set to help them out but the deal fell through because of so and so reason. This should jog their memory and get them interested in speaking to you.

7. Opening A Warm Call

A woman on the phone while checking something on her laptop

“Hi James, it’s Mike with Sky Securities, a cyber security software company. I saw that you were part of the webinar that took place last wednesday on digital security solutions. Could you help me with something?”

How does it work?

This one is straightforward. Warm calls are fairly easier to open since prospects have already interacted with your brand. 

In order to ensure calling success, remember to mention which collateral and the topic they interacted with and ask them about that particular subject. 

Mention the day of the week as well if you think it helps. Don’t simply ask them a vague “saw that you attended our webinar” and go from there. This may come off as if you’ve reached out simply to sell.

8. Opening A Call Using A Referral

2 people shaking hands

“Good Morning {prospect name}, my name is {name} calling from {your company name}. I’m reaching out because while working with {referral} at {referral company}, I learnt that you may like some assistance with {pain point}. Is this a good time to discuss how the solution that worked for {referral} might work for your business?”

How does it work? 

Courtesy of the author of 4 sales books, trainer, and coach, Anthony Iannarino. This cold call opening line can be perfect to warm up your cold call. 

Since you’re starting off with a name familiar to the prospect, your prospect will be more comfortable talking to you. 
Related: Here are 27 more cold calling scripts for sales professionals

C. Templates To Handle Common Objections When Opening Cold Calls:

Below we give you templates you can use to answer common objections you’ll face when opening a call. This is one of the biggest challenges to overcome as a salesperson: winning over the first one or two minutes of your prospect in a cold call. 

1. “I’m not interested”

Reply: 

“{prospect name}, it’s absolutely reasonable to not be interested in my first call to you. I’d like to give us an opportunity to schedule a more formal time. In the meantime, I’ll email you a few wonderful success cases that might gain your interest. 

If it does, and I think it will, I’d love for us to keep our appointment, if not then you shouldn’t be interested.” 
(Source: Wingman)

2. “Mail me the information”

“I’d be glad to do that. Can you tell specifically, what kind of information will help you?” 

{Prospect responds}

“That’s interesting, why is that important?” 

(Source: Jim Dunn’s book, ‘Common Sense Selling’)

3. “We already have competitor X product/service”

Response: 

“Oh, that’s okay. Just a quick question, under what circumstance would you consider switching to other products/services?

4. “I’ll call you back”

Response

“Most of the time when people say they’ll call back, they never do. Is this the case here? If yes, you can tell me frankly.”
(Source: Marc Wayshak, Sales Insights Lab)

5. “I am busy right now”

Response: Sure, I can call you back. But while we’re on the line, when’s the best time to call you back? (Find a suitable time and send them a calendar invite right after you end the call).
(Source: Patrick Dang)

Conclusion

In the end, if you want to see positive responses, keep cold calling scripts in handy. Test out different opening line strategies, use different objection handling techniques, and most importantly when placing a phone call, focus on respecting the prospect’s time. 

Here are some resources to help you cold call: 

Frequently Asked Questions [FAQs]

How to introduce yourself in a cold call?

Introduce yourself honestly, tell prospects your full name, the name of your organization and its industry, along with the reason for calling. Being honest sets a tone for your relationship–that of trust. 

How do you cold call without sounding like a ‘salesman’?

This is a mindset change. Shift your mindset from ‘selling to prospect’ to ‘helping the prospect’. And when on the call focus on uncovering whether they have a need for such a product/ solution now or in the future, if you’re convinced they don’t or that you’re not the best use-case fit for them then move on to the next prospect.

Your focus should be on helping the prospect be successful in their pursuit and not just selling your service or product.

How do you greet someone on a cold call?

Ideally, a simple greeting like a morning, afternoon or evening wishes is best to keep the opening line short. But if you really want to use greetings, talk about the weather or day of the week.

You could talk about the weather depending on whether they live in a timezone that has changing seasons. Or on Mondays, you could start with acknowledging that it’s a Monday and asking if they had a good weekend.

Something like: “Hope your Monday’s off to a productive start.”  If you want to be a little more whimsical and want to throw some fun out, you could use a “Weather in Boston has been acting out like my 6-year-old on school days.”

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