Let’s face it – most people don’t enjoy being called by strangers, especially when a stranger wants to sell them something. Introducing yourself when cold-calling is one thing, but once your name is out, where does the conversation go next?

When calling leads is your job, a good cold calling introduction and comfortable conversational flow can be challenging. How do you get the person on the other line to listen to your sales pitch or set an appointment with you? How can you get to the reason why you’re calling without being pushy? Better yet, how can you close the deal?

The key to mastering these calls is being a confident talker. Yes – you need to learn how to speak well. Are you nervous about starting a conversation with your leads? Use these cold calling introductions to help seamlessly move past hello and into why you’re calling.

Cold calling introductions after you introduce yourself

1. After researching your company/situation, __________.

One of the best ways to start a conversation is to let the person on the other line know that you’ve already invested your time and energy into researching their company. The effort takes the call from cold to warm immediately, even if they weren’t the one to reach out.

Before you begin any cold call, take a moment to learn about the person you’re contacting and the company for which they work. It doesn’t matter how you finish the above sentence. What matters is that you’ve taken the time to learn more about the person on the other line.

You don’t (and shouldn’t) need to spend immense amounts of your working hours researching the people you’re cold calling. Simply do an online search (such as Google’s “News” option) of the company’s or person’s name for recent information. You can also check out the business’s website to see if they’ve posted any recent press releases. Social media outlets are a great source of information as well.

2. I see you’re trying to do __________. I think I can be of service to you.

If you’ve taken a moment to research the person you’re cold calling, you’ve likely found a trigger event that would allow you to reach out. Maybe you’ll learn that they’re hiring at rapid speeds or they’re opening multiple new locations. If so, here’s the perfect chance for you to pitch.

If a company is rapidly expanding, they may not have considered how that will affect their insurance needs. They’ll need to update workers’ compensation policies, umbrella insurances, employee benefits packages, business insurance, and other needs.

Before they get a chance to shop around for insurance, you appear.

You can answer questions they haven’t even thought of yet. If you provide the information, you have a better chance to close the deal before anyone else has the opportunity to pitch.

3. __________, our mutual connection, suggested I get in touch with you.

Do you have a connection in common? Of all the cold calling introductions you could use, this may be the best way to start any conversation.

If the person you’re speaking with went to college with your sibling or sits on a board with your best friend or plays golf with one of your colleagues, don’t hesitate to name drop. Finding a mutual connection can be difficult, and if you have a shared peer, you suddenly change from being a stranger to being an acquaintance.

LinkedIn can be a great way to recognize mutual connections or find more information about a potential customer to use in your introduction. Using social channels like LinkedIn can be a great way to know about a person’s life journey, especially useful information for insurance sales, or if there are common traits, business dealings, or just general information that you can use to help you warm your next cold-call quickly.

Two quick notes: make sure to vet any mutual connections. Just because the potential customer you are researching has a connection in doesn’t mean it’s the best connection. If the person on the other line knows the same person as you, but doesn’t have positive feelings about him or her, name dropping is a bad idea.

Also, once you’ve mentioned the shared connection be ready to move right on with your pitch. The person who you have in common can only take you so far. You have to do the rest of the work.

4. Congratulations on __________.

Has the person you’re calling, or their company, accomplished something? Maybe they’ve been recently recognized or awarded for work in their field. Taking a moment to congratulate someone else on their work or achievements is a great way to open the lines of communication.

Once the person you’re calling is relaxed, they’ll actually listen to your pitch.

5. I’d love to hear your opinion on __________.

When you start a conversation in this manner, you’re automatically setting up the person on the other line to be an expert. And who doesn’t like feeling like an expert?

Here’s one thing to consider: what information could this person share with you? Once you have the information, how will you change the conversation to introduce the reason you’re calling.

If you’re not acquainted with someone, make sure what you’re asking is still relevant to your pitch. Don’t call and ask for her opinion on something when you can’t easily segway into a conversation about your services.

6. I know you’re busy, so I’ll be brief.

We’re all so busy that most professionals don’t have enough time in their day to get their own work done. Getting interrupted by a cold call not only derails people, but it frustrates them as well.

When you acknowledge that you’re using someone’s valuable time, and you promise to be respectful of it, the person on the other line will be more willing to listen to what you have to say.

7. Have you ever considered trying __________?

The person you call knows you’re trying to pitch them on something. If not, you wouldn’t be calling. Get right to the point, but instead of hard selling, make your pitch a conversation.

Ask what your lead has tried in the past. Maybe she’s worked with your competitors. Maybe the company’s insurance needs are similar to what you sell, but they’ve never bundled policies. Maybe they have a solid benefit package, but you could still offer some riders or extensions.

When you ask open-ended questions, you’ll get answers. Choose the right questions to move a deal forward.

No script?

Are you surprised we didn’t provide you with a start-to-finish script you can read when making cold calls? Don’t be. We don’t recommend it. You want to sound natural – like a real human – and you won’t sound that way with a script in front of your face.

Regardless of your industry, it’s easy to create more cold calling introductions to open the lines of communication. Use these brief introductions as starting points to guide the conversation naturally.

What suggestions do you have to add to this list? How do you introduce your business or service in a cold call introduction?