Decreasing a Prospectís Guard When Making Cold Calls
When making cold calls, the person on the other end of the phone will likely have their guard at a medium level since they will not know who you are why you are calling. What you say or do during the cold call will have a direct impact on whether they increase or decrease their level of guardedness. With that being the case, there are very clear things that can be done to be more effective at keeping the prospect’s guard down or decreasing it all together.
Name Dropping to Establish Social Proof
Whether you are talking to a gatekeeper or to the actual prospect, the first thing they will do when they answer your call is to try to determine if you are a friend or foe. A friend would be someone that is somewhat on the inside by already having some sort of a relationship with the prospect's company or already interacts with people on the inside. In this setting, a foe would be someone on the outside trying to get in, like a sales person who is not doing business with them today and is trying to get in and sell something.
One key way to make the person you are talking to when cold calling feel like you are more of a friend than a foe is to name drop other people in the organization to establish social proof. If you name drop other individuals that you know, have spoken with, are planning on meeting with, etc., then the prospect’s guard will decrease as you will appear to have social proof and already be on the inside.
This may sound like a minor thing to do but it sends some very powerful messages to the prospect early in the call. It tells them that you respect their time and want to be sure that it is a good time before you continue. Confirming their availability also gives the prospect the choice to opt out so you are continuing by their choice. These minor sub-communications help to decrease the prospect’s level of guardedness.
By showing that you are interested in qualifying before moving forward shows that it is important to you as to whether or not you should sell to the prospect. This not only shows them that you respect their time and don’t want to waste it, but it also displays that you have a high level of integrity as you will only sell to them if it makes sense. The result of will be establishing credibility and building rapport, and both will help to decrease the prospect’s level of guardedness.