3 Foolproof Ways to Start a Cold Call


When you’re operating in an industry like the real estate market, you know that nothing compares to the power of a human connection. So when you’re developing a marketing strategy, you can’t always rely on impersonal mediums like emails and social media. To make sure you’re reaching potential customers on every front and creating a personable impression, it pays to bolster your online marketing efforts with the power of cold calling.

Of course, not everyone has experience delivering a cold call. Perhaps you’re feeling nervous about interacting with strangers on the phone or worry that you’ll be unsuccessful in your efforts. In that case, consider partnering with professional cold callers who are well-versed in the strategies and best practices that can make your cold call campaign a resounding success.

If you want to try your own hand at cold calling, one of the first and most important skills to learn is the art of the opening line. Most prospects will only give you 15-20 seconds to hook their interest, so the way you begin a call is utterly crucial to that call’s outcome. Want to make sure your intro sets your cold call up for success? Here are a few tried-and-tested opening lines to kick off a rewarding conversation.


Effective Opening Lines for Any Cold Call

First and foremost, you can always begin your call with a pleasant greeting and by confirming the identity of your prospect. This doesn’t have to be complicated — a simple, “Good afternoon, is this Mr. X?” will do. But once that’s out of the way, it’s time to get strategic.

Your goals for an ideal opening interaction:

  • Connect with the prospect
  • Show empathy, respect, and/or gratitude for their time
  • Get their permission — whether express or implied — to continue the call

If you accomplish these three goals, your prospects will have a hard time dismissing your cold call, giving you the time you need to show your value and convert your prospect into a warm lead.

1. “How are you?” or “How have you been?”

A little courtesy goes a long way, even in business and real estate. Simply by showing that human interest in your prospect, you can make strides to put them at ease. Moreover, many people will automatically respond in kind, giving you an opportunity to humanize yourself by sharing how your day is going.

“How have you been?” may seem like an odd approach for a cold call since you’ve probably never spoken before. But cold calling research actually shows that this is the most effective opening line out of those studied. It has all the warmth and personal touch of “How are you?” but adds the extra benefit of disrupting a standard speech pattern. “How have you been?” requires more thought from the prospect, keeping them engaged in your conversation.

Whichever of these two easy openers you decide to try, there is a crucial bit of follow-up to this approach: listen to their answer and respond appropriately. Tweaking your response to follow their lead will build rapport. For example, say your conversation went something like this:

You: “Hi, Mr. X. How have you been?”

Mr. X: “Oh, it’s been a long week.”

You: “Well, I’m calling today because of…”

You could ignore your prospect’s comment, like in this example, and launch straight into the next part of your cold calling script. Or, you can build on this comment to create a bridge between you and your prospect.

Mr. X: “Oh, it’s been a long week.”

You: “I’m sorry to hear that! It’s been a little long here, too. At least it’s Friday! Anyway, I’m calling today because of…”

With just a small tweak to your response, you can empathize with your prospect, inject a little charm into the conversation, and still segue flawlessly into the next part of your script.

2. “I didn’t catch you at a bad time, did I?”

Using this line as an opener is a little bit like employing reverse psychology. Prospects may be wary of your intentions at first, and they’ll be primed to say “no” to your inquiries. By setting that “no” up to create a positive encounter, you open a door for yourself to continue the conversation. Compare this line with similar opening sentiments that don’t use the same technique.

  • “Is this a good time?” — This line makes it all too easy for a prospect to say, “Sorry, no…” and cut the interaction short.
  • “Do you have a minute?” — Again, your prospect may reach for any excuse to say, “No, I’m in a hurry,” and get you off the phone. Plus, this opener already frames your conversation as taking up their time, which they’ll hesitate to give you.
  • “Sorry, did I catch you at a bad time?” — This line is very similar but has a different subconscious effect on your prospect. By beginning with an apology, you make yourself sound less important and deserving of their attention. This inadvertently empowers your prospect to come back with, “Actually, yes, this is a bad time…” and derail your conversation.

3. “I was wondering if you could help me out for a second.”

This line works on a number of levels. For one thing, humans love to feel helpful. It makes us feel like we’re the “good guy” in any scenario and like we’re being benevolent and generous — essentially, doing our good deed for the day. So when you begin by asking a prospect to help, they’ll automatically prompt you for more information, perpetuating the call. In their minds, they’re now doing you a favor rather than waiting to interrupt a sales spiel. As a bonus, this humanizes you immediately, establishing that all-important personal connection.

This line also benefits by framing your request with a brief, convenient timeframe. Because you’re asking for help that will only take “a second” or “a moment,” prospects are much more likely to give you some leeway to continue your cold call.

Pro tip: Be sure to thank your prospect after they agree to hear you out. Something like, “Thanks so much, I’ll be quick,” shows both your gratitude and your respect for their precious time.


Call Motivated Sellers

With these three opening lines, you can see all the strategies and psychology that can go into a masterful cold call. As with any skill, it will take time and practice to really get the hang of it and be able to handle cold calls in style or know when to let a cold call go.

Or, you can start seeing immediate results with the help of experienced, professional cold callers. At Call Motivated Sellers, we’re well-versed in the art of cold calling. With years of experience in the real estate industry, we know how to graciously handle every doubt or demurral, connecting with your potential clients to generate more leads for your business.

Ready to leverage the power of cold calling for real estate in your marketing plan? Just contact Call Motivated Sellers to grow your clientele and attract more qualified leads today!



Marketing by Joseph Studios