3 People You Will Meet on a Cold Call

B2B lead generation is all about dealing with objections, clarifying expectations, and overcoming initial resistance or confusion about what you are offering to the prospect. Every cold call is an opportunity to learn more about a prospect’s business, build relationships and earn their trust. Even the standard “problems” of cold calling can be used as an opportunity to get closer to a sale.

There are many ways to use an initial conversation on B2B lead generation cold calls, even if the person is completely unhelpful, to get what you need from the call and help the prospect’s business as well.

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Here are 3 unhelpful people you meet on cold calls, and how to help them help you!

Mr. “I Am Not the Right Person”
We’ve all been there – you get a phone number for a prospect’s company, you dial them up, only to hear that they are not the “right person” for you to speak with about the topic.


Instead of giving up and hanging up, use this moment to create a referral and pick up some key business intelligence. Here are a few ideas for what you can say:

  • Ask for a referral: Say to the person on the phone, “Can you refer me to the correct person to talk to?” Be sure to use the word “refer” so you can use this person’s name to navigate through
    gatekeepers and screeners. You can also ask, “What is his/her job title? Do you have a direct dial number? Can you transfer me to his/her line?”
  • Get business intelligence: Even if the person on the phone is not the “right person,” they might have some good knowledge about how the company works and how they might need a solution like the one you offer. Ask them, “Do you know what system you are
    currently using to ________? Are you doing that function in-house or do you outsource that?”


You don’t need to always have the decision-maker on the line to get some of your important questions answered. Even the “wrong person” can help equip you with information that will be helpful when you finally get the “right person” on the phone.


Mr. “We do that In-house or We Outsource That.”
This response is very predictable because chances are, any company you call is already using a solution similar to what you offer, whether it’s on an in-house basis or by outsourcing the function to a service provider. If a decision-maker says “we do that in-house” or “we outsource that,” they are simply trying to end the call. The challenge for you as a sales professional is to keep the conversation going.


Be ready with a quick “go-to” follow-up response, such as, “Oh, OK. Does your in-house team also handle the (OTHER ASPECT OF THE SOLUTION)?” Or say, “What are some challenges that you’re facing with your current solution/arrangement?” Keep the conversation moving and deflect this objection by having your next qualifier ready.


If you are shut down often by the “we already do that in-house/outsourced” objection, your chances of generating B2B sales leads are slim to none. The decision maker is stating the obvious. Of course they already do it in-house. Your job is to dig deeper and find out if their current arrangement is broken, too expensive, inefficient or frustrating to the prospect in some way. Identify the points of pain, and you will uncover a new level of sales leads.


Mr. “We Just Bought a New System”
This prospect is not in the market for what you sell, so you are not going to get a sale directly from this one. However, before you hang up, if you play your cards right there is a business intelligence bonanza awaiting you.


Ask this person:

  • “What system did you buy?”
  • “How are things going with the new system?”
  • “Why did you decide to buy that particular system?”


Your goal here is not to sell the customer on a new system – they just bought one, and even if things are not going well, chances are they’re not going to invest in a whole new system so soon. However, you need to find out more about their motivations for buying the system.


Was it a low-cost “Band-Aid” solution? Are they just trying to patch up a temporary problem? If so, perhaps they’d be willing to hear from you again in another six months. But you need to ask these questions to find this out – you can’t just assume they’re not interested and will never be interested, and hang up the phone. Stay on the call a few minutes longer, and keep the conversation going.


On the flip side, if they bought an expensive solution from your competitor, it’s very important to find out if they are happy with the purchase. Often we find, as part of our lead generation calls, that unhappy decision makers have some degree of remorse for the purchases they made. Play therapist and show some empathy.


The purpose of all of this is to use this company’s experience as a “reverse testimonial” when you are going up against the competition for your next deal. If you can accumulate several of these reverse testimonials then you can offer to put your new potential client in touch with a list of clients who are unhappy with your competitor’s solution.


Even if they don’t pick up the phone and call them, a list of names and phone numbers of unhappy clients is a very powerful sales tool and may be just what you need to tip the deal your way.


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