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Ask the Coach: How to level up my cold-calling prospecting skills on the phone

Coach Claudio Encina tackles reader questions on improving communication skills, including the awkward price reduction conversation.

Q. I feel I need to level up my cold-calling prospecting skills on the phone. Any tips? – Neil Carrasco, McGrath Liverpool

The first 10 seconds on the phone can make or break that call. Many telephone sales opportunities are lost because of poor opening technique.

Never say, ‘How are you?’ to a stranger. This approach is not sincere. The prospect doesn’t really care and certainly doesn’t have time to listen to a story. They may put up resistance immediately because of this opening and then expect a sales pitch. You dig yourself into a hole and now you have to dig yourself out before you try to regain the attention of the prospect.

Give respect to the prospect you are calling and try to avoid asking a question that is intrusive, direct, and too personal. Be polite. Don’t fluff the opening line. It should sound clear, positive, and strong.

When a potential customer calls you, the voice he or she hears should be enthusiastic and ready to serve. When you are making the call, the same proves true. A poor opening line will surely dim your chances of a productive conversation.

Remember, you may be calling this person at your convenience. Never say, ‘Is this a good time to talk?’ Why? Because generally the prospect will say ‘No’.

Practise saying who you are and know what you do. Know your ‘message’ and ‘outcome’ from the call. Also, understand that your language can create a level of influence and persuasion on the prospect. Think about  ‘Seeds of thoughts to plant that can create action’. Follow these guidelines:

  1. Be confident
  2. Be assumptive
  3. Use sentenced word statements
  4. Be action oriented
  5. Speak in the present.

Here is an example: ‘ Hi, is this …? This is (your name)… I’ll only be brief. We just sold (x) just down the road from you, and some of your neighbours who aren’t thinking of selling are curious to know where their home sits on the market based on the recent sale. Would it be helpful if we were to pop in while visiting some your neighbours this week or next week to give you an updated market assessment?’

Sincerity, politeness and brevity, combined with a solid knowledge of your market, are the makings of a successful sales call. Follow these tips and watch your selling productivity rise!

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Claudio Encina

Claudio Encina works directly with some of the leading agents and sales teams in Australia to identify how to deliver optimum performance. For more information visit