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Cold-Calling Basics

Take the "cold" out of "cold-calling," and you'll win prospects over.

By Peter Kooiman

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Too often, cold-calling is just what it sounds like: icy andintimidating-not only for you, but for the potential client.That's why Ken Stark, owner of Stark & Associates, a St.Louis-based sales training and management and business developmentfirm, suggests warming up your cold-calls with a more personableapproach. "You don't want to sound like a salespersonmaking a sales call," says Stark. "You want to sound likesomebody who wants to engage in conversation. Don't sound tooprepared or polished."

Of course, just because you don't want to sound prepareddoesn't mean you shouldn't be prepared with knowledge aboutthe company you're calling. "You need the researchinformation to use, but not to show," says Stark."There's a big difference." Knowing the differencemeans delivering a conversational opening line, not a sales pitch.According to Stark, good cold-calls start something like this:

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