Tips on Perfecting Your First Call

If you are partaking in inside sales or carrying out an outbound lead generation system, having a rock solid pitch is necessary as you are speaking to a decision maker for the first time. It’s easy to walk into a conversation and deliver what can be perceived as an incoherent and undirected pitch coupled with improper etiquette. Below are a few tips I found to be helpful for management teams of some of OpenView Venture Partners’ expansion stage portfolio companies.

Tip 1: Set goals for your first call

Example goals are having a meaningful conversation with a key decision maker, confirming there is a solution/product fit with the company, ending the call with a definitive next step and leaving a professional impression. If you don’t pick up the phone with a goal in mind, you can end up wasting everyone’s time on the phone.

Tip 2: The first 90 seconds are critical, so don’t blow it

During this time period you are either making or breaking the conversation. You need to demonstrate high energy and enthusiasm, state your main goal, determine you are speaking with the right person, deliver your 30 second pitch and determine whether the prospect has an internal goal that fits with the product or service you are offering. If you can accomplish this in the first 90 seconds, you will be in a good position to go into solution selling or end the call due to the lack of fit.

Tip 3: When you speak, always pay attention to the finer details.

Speak confidently and have an upbeat and energetic attitude. Be conversational and friendly. People don’t enjoy speaking with robots (especially those that cold call them). Also, make sure you are matching the prospect’s tonality and pace. If you are speaking with a fast talking New Yorker, don’t be slow and slurring with your words.

Tip 4: Maintain proper etiquette

Never interrupt the prospect when they are speaking, take interest in what they are saying, be courteous, complimentary, and always use first names.

These tips are just some of the basic items you should be thinking about as you are perfecting your cold calling pitch. In my opinion, if you are able to accomplish the above, this only gives you your ticket to the main event, which is when you need to enter into real solution selling (either during this call, a scheduled follow-up call or through a hand-off to a more senior salesperson).

Kobie Fuller
Kobie Fuller
General Partner

Kobie Fuller is a General Partner at Upfront Ventures. Previously he was the Principal at Accel Partners in San Francisco where he helped identify and work with entrepreneurs who were building category-defining companies. He has more than 10 years of experience in funding and building software companies.
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