Questions to ask when cold-calling

by Shannon F.

Yesterday, we suggested avoiding the types of questions that frustrate and annoy busy prospects. Now that the Don’ts are out of the way, let’s focus on the Dos: provocative questions that keep the prospect interested and on the phone.

“What kind of changes or events do you anticipate taking place in the next 3-12 months?” If the prospect indicates that a change such as a company expansion, merger, or office relocation is anticipated, you have your in. The Harvard Business Review identified that businesses in a state of flux make the best prospects, because they have the need, budget, and time frame for B2B products and services. (Blatant InsightPRM promotion: Customers who purchase our office moving leads already know that their prospects are relocating or opening a new location before they pick up the phone to make a call.)

If the prospect has confirmed a trigger event, like an office move, say, “What kinds of challenges are you anticipating [related to that event]?” or “What steps have you taken to accomplish ______?” This gives you the opportunity not only to respond to your prospect’s concerns, but to bring up challenges (and solutions) that he or she never even considered.

“We’ve been noticing that a current trend or problem in your industry is_____. How has your company responded to this?” The whole point of your call is to identify a need for your product/service. If the prospect doesn’t know they need you yet, educate them about how you can help their company better respond to changes, trends, or challenges in the industry. Example: “Pharmaceutical companies today have more IT security concerns than ever, due to changing technologies. Has IT security been a concern for you?”

If your prospect is in the market for your product but indicates that their company is considering your competition, ask, “What features of XYZ’s product/service appeal to you?” and, “Is there anything you wish you could add or change?” This helps you to determine whether you can offer similar features or resolve an unmet need.

The most important question of all is, “Can I set up an appointment with you so we can discuss _____ ?” If you don’t ask for an appointment, chances are that you will never get it. If the prospect responds negatively to your request for an appointment, try asking this question: “On a scale of 1-10, what is your level of interest in what we discussed today?” Most people will answer this honestly, which helps you to gauge how the call went.

A big part of cold-calling success is managing your time and logging your calls quickly and efficiently. We can probably help you. Click here to find out how, or click here if you’d rather enjoy more free content without learning about our company. (We’ll like you either way.)

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