How to handle a cold call with just one question?

Customer service

There has been a lot of discussion about the traditional sales work and cold calling customers in random. Is it useful or not?

Since I am certainly not the best professional on the topic, unlike my friend Sani Leino who really is, I will concentrate more on the person who answers the call.

My long background as a ICT-solution consumer and also as a CIO has made me an wanted target for cold calls. On the best (or worst) days, I receive more than 50 calls, originating from more than 20 different countries. Unfortunately, less than 1% of them are good or even average. Still, some of them are very good, like the one I got few years ago from Sani. His cold call definitely worked as planned and besides the actual business deal made, we eventually built strong mutual respect and even became friends.

So when you answer the call, remember always to be polite. The caller is doing his/her job and it is certainly not easy. If the call is bad, the fault is not the callers, you should blame the people who trained and instrucred the caller badly. If you are very busy at the time, just do not pick up the phone. You know when your colleagues, friends or family are calling and that is no excuse to answer unknown number when eating your lunch or in a important meeting.

You are a busy person. So how to handle the intrusive feeling calls politely? I have one simple thing I suggest you to try – and this is good to know for the callers too.

Answer the call only if you have one or two minutes to spare. Otherwise you will waste both your and the callers time just stating “you are too busy”.

After the elevator speech (what ever it is), I always start with a question: “What problem of mine do you solve?“.

If they just want to meet and you feel lonely, then your problem is solved. If they cannot solve any problems or you do not have a problem they can solve, the discussion is over and both parties should realise that. You can state that quite straightforward and again, save both parties time by doing that.

If they have a solution for your problem, then you should give them more time, even meet them.

Caller can of course start asking or even guessing about your problems, but that will not work. They have to have something what should fix problems and if you do not have that specific problem, it is useless to meet representative of the call originating company or even continue the discussion.

Sounds too simple? I challenge you to try, it works!