If you have to make cold calls as part of your sales process - either to set appointments or to find potential clients to sell your products and services to - then you know how hard it is to overcome initial resistance and establish rapport. Let's face it, people don't like to be bothered by a sales rep they don't know. Think about your own reaction when you get a call at home from a telemarketer you don't know. As soon as they begin their pitch, your eyes probably roll up and you begin thinking of ways to get off the phone. Even if they are personable (which is rare) or have something you're actually interested in (which is rarer), most telesales calls feel like an intrusion and end up being ineffective. One of the biggest reasons for this is that most sales reps making calls have no idea how to engage a prospect and make a connection in the opening ten seconds. In fact, most reps who try to make a connection actually push their prospects away by using the, "How are you today?" That almost always doesn't work.
Making that connection is the most important thing you can do to lower or eliminate initial resistance and give yourself a real chance to see if what you're offering is a fit for the person you're speaking with. Here is the one sentence you can use that will give you the best chance to make that connection: "Hi _______, this is ________ _________. We haven't spoken yet but I'm calling you because you (use your product or could benefit from it) and I have (your product offering or benefit) and wanted to run something by you. Let me ask you a quick question, if I could..." The power in this technique is that by leveling with your prospect that you don't know them, you are immediately eliminating the natural resistance that is there when this goes unspoken. Prospects respect this honesty, and you'll feel a natural connection form as a result. Don't underestimate the power of this technique, but rather, try it for a few days and see for yourself how effective it is. Obviously, you'll want to adapt it to fit your product or service, but taking the time to do this will pay big dividends. Remember - making an immediate connection is the most important thing you can do, and this technique will help you do that.