July 10th, 2014 | by

Guest blog from Vorsight’s Steve Richard

The answer to that question is simple: Don’t be a sales person during a cold call. The only goal for a cold call is to get a meeting. So instead of selling, at this point your main objective is proving the value of continuing the conversation.

Let’s first look at the main reasons why a prospect would object to continuing the conversation:

  1. They’re not listening: They’ve tuned you out from the beginning and lumped you into the group with all of the other cold calling, glorified telemarketers that clog up their phone line.
  2. They don’t understand: They simply don’t understand what you do or why you’re calling them.
  3. They don’t see the value: They don’t see the value in continuing the conversation.

Now let’s look at how we can prevent these potential objections.

Getting a Referral:

One of the most effective ways of getting a prospect to snap up and pay attention is having a referral from one of his or her peers. This can be done through prospecting from the top down or through the assistance of an executive admin. What sales rep wouldn’t want to start the conversation with, “I just got off the phone with your boss… he thinks we should talk.” The added benefits of calling through, for example, the CFO’s admin are:

  1. Insight into the organizational structure. Find out who reports to whom, and if the person you scoped out on LinkedIn is really even the right person to being with.
  2. Knowledge of relevant systems and processes the company is using. This is important information to use once you get the prospect on the phone. Things like an ERP system, CRM system, or what and if they outsource make excellent ammunition during the call.
  3. Access to the prospect’s direct line. Your percentage of direct lines has a profound impact on how likely you are to get a person on the phone. A case study by Vorsight shows that by doubling your direct lines from 50% to 100% you can actually triple the amount of meetings you get per month.
  4. Have the CFO show up on the caller ID when you are transferred. Caller IDs were created specifically to screen calls. Having your prospect’s boss’s number show up can turn this on its head.

I use admins as an example because it’s their job to pick up the phone and answer questions. A sales rep could get a referral in a variety of other ways. If you have a weak marketing lead, call them up and pepper them with questions to gather additional information that you can use in a later call to a more senior prospect. Marketing leads are essentially clues of where an opportunity might be. See our Sales Speaks research for more.


Every sales rep is busy (time is commission) but there’s no reason you can’t spend 3 minutes on pre-call research that you can log into your CRM. According to Team Visibility, simply bringing up a LinkedIn group that you have in common with the prospect in a conversation can increase your success rate by 70%.  Be sure to use the phone in addition to LinkedIn and Google to find information that you can use as ammunition to warm up your cold call.

We’ve given you great tools to give yourself the best chance at your recipient being receptive to your cold call, but here’s a great webinar on how to handle cold calling rejection. 

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About the author

Henry Schuck

Henry Schuck is the CEO of DiscoverOrg, a 7-time Fortune 5000 company, which he co-founded at the age of 23. He has extensive experience managing the sales and marketing activities of fast-growing information technology data companies.