Poke the Bear Cold Call Script
Here’s a transcript of a Poke the Bear cold call.
SDR: Hi Pete, Beth Jones with CaptivateIQ. We’ve never spoken before. And I know you weren’t expecting my call, but I was hoping you could help me out for a moment.
Prospect: Sure, how can I help?
Verify You’re Talking to the Right Person.
SDR. Thank you. To make sure I’m in the right place, are you involved in calculating commissions at ACME?
Prospect: I am.
SDR: Thanks. We’re working with sales teams with over 70 reps, and I came across your name.
Identify if There’s a Problem
If you don’t mind me asking, is calculating and running commissions a manual process involving spreadsheets, or is it automated?
(This is a qualifying question to determine if the prospect has a problem.)
Prospect: It’s manual.
SDR: Sounds like you’re getting data out of Salesforce, hard-pasting Excel pages into Google Sheets and then manually making adjustments, one sheet at a time.
Prospect. Actually, I use Excel.
Poke the Bear
SDR: I often hear that for orgs your size, it takes a few days to calculate and send statements to reps. How does that compare with your experience?
Prospect: That sounds about right. What are you calling about?
Tease What’s Possible
SDR: I’m calling to see if you’d be open to learning about a different approach sales orgs with over 60 reps are using to calculate error-free commission statements in a few hours.
Prospect: What do you mean? How does that work?
This is for CaptivateIQ, but you can easily modify the framework for your prospects.
Ditch the pitch.
Poke the bear.
How to Ask For a Meeting
Don’t do this. Do this.
Asking for a meeting.
Don’t do this.
I would love to meet for 20 minutes. How’s Tuesday at 3?
Would you be open to investing 20 minutes over the next week or two to hear a different perspective for improving forecast accuracy?
People don’t care about what you want.
They care about what they want.
How to Approach People Who Have Little Desire to Talk With You
I’m biking against a pesky headwind.
I have to work twice as hard for the same output, so my speed is cut in half.
A cyclist wearing a Boca Tri jersey approaches and says, “You got this Boca Tri, slip behind my wheel.”
My Boca Tri jersey tipped the cyclist off that I’m in the Boca Tri Group.
So I slipped behind his slipstream.
The wind resistance made it easier to pedal.
We became fast friends.
There’s a good lesson here.
When you approach prospects, they’re ‘riding their bikes’ (doing work).
Whenever you knock, prospects clutch their bags tightly because they’re in the Zone of Resistance (ZOR).
The ZOR is a reflex reaction to sales pressure.
How do you lower the ZOR during the first 10 seconds of a cold call?
Tip people off that you’re in the ‘Boca Tri Group.’
“Hi, Josh. Coach Anna. We’ve never met, but I’m working with several athletes in the Boca Tri Group and came across your name. I know you weren’t expecting my call. Are you able to talk for a brief moment?”
From there, be curious about how they’re currently getting the job done WITHOUT having an ulterior motive.
In other words, detach from the outcome.
“Do you have any races coming up, or are you sitting this season out?”
“Hi, Lisa. Beth Jones. We’ve never met, but I’m familiar with you because we’re working with several CFOs in the health care sector. I know you weren’t expecting my call. Do you have a moment? I promise to be brief.”
“Are you using insurance brokers, or are you working directly with carriers?”
There is no script to lower the ZOR. It’s less about what you say and more about being curious instead of being assumptive.
I hope these examples help you lower the ZOR.
Do Your Cold Calls Feel Like An Interrogation?
One of the things I would do on cold calls was to ask lots of questions because I was nervous.
“How have you been?”
“Are you responsible for X?”
“How many reps do you have?”
Too many questions can make a conversation feel like an interrogation.
So now, I still ask questions, but I also throw in a label (Chris Voss).
Instead of saying, “Do you handle user research?” You could say, “I was on your LinkedIn. Seems like you head up user research.”
Instead of saying, “Is that a demanding role?” You could say, “Sounds like a demanding role that requires collaboration with several departments.”
Labels motivate people to respond without it feeling like an interrogation.
Labels build credibility because they tip prospects off that you’re an insider.
What do you think about adding labels to your toolbox?
A Sales Superpower
Can I ask you an ususual question?
See what I did?
I created a gap between what you know and what you want to know.
It’s called an open loop.
Brains crave closure. It’s like a mental itch you have to scratch.
Open loops create curiosity.
Why am I talking about this?
Piquing curiosity is one of the best ways to lower the Zone of Resistance.
By way of example, here’s how to pique curiosity in a voicemail.
“Hey Kim, I’m Charlotte Johnson with Salesloft. I’m reading your job ad for remote BDRs and have a question. I’ll be around until 5. My number is 555-686-9689.”
Example cold call opener:
“Hi James. My name is Charlotte. I know I’m probably catching you mid coffee sip but I was hoping I could ask you a quick question.”
These openers are for Charlotte but you can easily apply them to your audience.
Don’t tell people the entire story.
Create a cliffhanger.
Knowing how to create curiosity is a good skill to master.