A Warmer Reception

When cold-calling, get prospects' permission before launching into your pitch.
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One of the biggest fears about cold-calling is getting lumped in with those pesky salespeople who call at dinner time with the latest long-distance calling plan. What kind of reception do you give those people? How well do you listen? How much consideration do you give to what they are saying?

These callers are intruders into your life--they don't have your permission. To avoid being put in that category, find a good time to talk to the prospect. It's a courtesy that affords you the respect and attention you deserve.

To get permission, ask if the prospect has a minute to speak with you--not to buy anything--just to make an appointment for a short meeting in person. Find a phrase you like, then use it on all your calls. "Is this a good time to talk?" or "May I have about a minute?" are good starters. My personal favorite is, "I know you're busy, so I'll only take a minute."

Excerpted from Creative Selling: Boost your B2B sales