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17 Best Cold Calling Opening Lines to Win in B2B Sales

Imagine if you had a list of the best cold calling opening lines that work in booking meetings every time?

It would certainly take the fear out of cold calling, don’t you think?

The good news is, we’ve put that list together so you can start having better sales calls. 

Plus, we’ll be going over:

  • The basics of opening a sales call
  • Best practices to follow in call intros
  • Frequently asked questions when it comes to opening lines in B2B sales

Let’s get started 👇

Cognism SDR Zone

How to start a cold call, the basics

A good cold call opening line needs to fulfil two purposes:

  1. Catch a prospect's attention
  2. Start a conversation 

If you can master this, you’ll be well on your way to booking more deals in no time! 

However, there are a few rules to follow when it comes to your call intro:

1. Do call prep 

The best thing you can do for your cold call is research your prospect before you call. The more prepared you come, the less nervous you’ll be. Plus, being aware of a customer's wins, pain points and company news will help you upsell your product and build rapport with a potential lead. 

2. Stay friendly

Now, the worst thing you can do during a call is come off rude and abrasive. You want your customer to feel comfortable talking to you and to enjoy the time they’ve put aside to listen to your pitch. Stay friendly, be positive and try to come across as inviting. 

3. Say hello

Of course, it makes sense that the very first thing you should do when opening a sales call is to say hello. But after that? It’s good practice to ask them how they are and to introduce yourself and your company. 

4. Don’t sell to the gatekeeper

Many cold calls are answered by some form of gatekeeper such as a receptionist. Whatever you do, don’t sell to them! They might be open to hearing your pitch, but they aren’t the decision maker at the company. So, save your pitch for when you make it through to your target prospect

5. Stay on top of the latest opening lines

Opening phrases that work well now have a shelf life, so keep checking lists like this one for the most up-to-date cold-calling opening lines. 

6. Say thank you 

When your prospect accepts your call and is willing to listen to you talk, they’ve given up some valuable time of their own. Respect that and thank them for their time. Try to open your call with a thank you and close it with a thank you. 

For more tips on how to start a conversation while sales prospecting, check out this video with Josh Braun 👇

 Find out what are the 5 key things to do on every sales call.

17 good opening lines for cold calling

You came here to find out what the best cold call opening is, right?

The thing is, no one opening line is the best. It all depends on what you’re selling and who you’re selling to. But, to make things easier, we’ve curated the best cold call opening lines used by our team at Cognism. 

These 18 call lines have been tried and tested with amazing results!

1. Introduce yourself

When you’re stuck on how to open a cold call, introduce yourself! Depending on who you’re calling, you can keep your opening line casual with a ‘hello’ or a ‘hi’ or you can stick to a more formal ‘good morning or ‘good afternoon.’ 

“Hi (name), it’s Craig from Cognism. Are you free for a quick chat?”

2. Be upfront

Katy Mason-Jones, Account Executive at Cognism, believes in being as straightforward with a prospect as possible. And that’s why her best cold open sounds like this:

“Hi (name), this is Katy calling from Cognism. For full transparency at the very beginning, this is a well-researched B2B sales call. I appreciate that I've called completely out of the blue. Is now a bad time for a two-minute chat?”

To some, this might come across as unconventional, but Katy has found that this intro gets great results - and the occasional laugh.

3. Ask how they are

A recent study by Gong found that asking a prospect how they are increased cold calling success rates by 10%. It’s a good opening as you’re creating conversation while demonstrating that the person on the other end of the phone isn’t just another sales lead, but a human being.  

“Hi (name). I’m Mark from Cognism. How are you doing today?”

4. Give a reason for the call

Another example of a cold calling opening line is giving a reason for why you're calling. It lets the prospect know a bit more about your product and gives you the opportunity to double-check that you’re speaking to the right person. 

“Hi (name). I’m Natalie from Cognism. Thanks for taking my call. I wanted to find out if you’re the right person to speak with about connecting with more ready-to-buy prospects at (company name)?”

5. Emphasise the importance of the call 

One of the best cold calling opening lines is acknowledging that you’ve called someone who is likely very busy, but you’ve got a very important opportunity to discuss with them. 

“Hi (name), I’m Jasper from Cognism. I realise I might have caught you in the middle of something important, but the reason for calling you is…”

6. Point out that you're happy they picked up

Letting a prospect know that you’re glad they picked up your call will go a long way. For starters, it makes them feel important and it sets a positive tone for the rest of the call.

“I’m happy I reached you, (name). I know you’re busy, but the reason I’m calling is because…”

7. Ask for help

Another good intro to a sales call is to ask for help. Psychologically, we’re all born with the urge to help, and a prospect will feel bad turning you away. And even though they don’t know you personally, they’ll be less likely to respond with a sales objection

“Hi (name, I’m Andrea from Cognism. Could I get your opinion on something?”

8. Thank them for their time 

What would a list of cold calling opening lines be without a thank you? 

No matter who your prospect is, their time is important. By saying thank you, you’re letting them know that you respect them which is not only a good opening line but a great way to start a relationship too. 

“Thank you for picking up my call, (name). I really appreciate it.”

9. Open with a referral

For a better chance of success during an outbound cold call, mention that someone the prospect knows gave you their information. This is arguably the best cold call intro because the referral should be a trusted source to them, and they will be more willing to hear you out. 

“Hi (name). I’m Lorenzo from Cognism. I got your number from (name) who said you might be interested in sales intelligence software.”

10. Mention their competitor

No one wants to come second in business. So, it makes sense that mentioning your prospects' competitors will encourage them to stay on the call and hear you out. 

“Hi (name), I’m Thuli from Cognism. I wanted to call you because we noticed (competitor) is (accomplishment) and we can help you do better with more accurate mobile numbers.”

11. Create intrigue

Catchy opening lines create intrigue and your customers' curiosity will keep them on the call.

“Hi (name). It’s Minnie from Cognism. I’m sure you’ll be interested in what I have to tell you.”

12. Promise to be 30 seconds

One of the best opening lines is to promise to explain your pitch in 30 seconds. This is appealing to busy CMOs and CEOs and helps highlight everything you offer early on in the call so that no one's time is wasted. 

“Hi! This is Monica from Cognism. Do you have 30 seconds to hear how (product) can bring you more hot leads?"

13. Tell them they don’t know you

It might seem a little strange to tell a prospect that you’ve never met them before, but sometimes this kind of honesty is all you need to get past the call intro and into a successful pitch.

“Hi (name), I’m Joan with Cognism. We’ve never spoken before but I wanted to talk to you about cutting your reps' call time down to 30 calls a day and exceeding target at ( company name).”

14. Give a compliment

Complimenting your prospect makes for a great call opening! It shows you’ve done your research and you respect their accomplishments. 

“Hi (name). I saw your recent post about scaling up your team on LinkedIn. I really admire what you’ve done to achieve that.”

15. Reference a common interest

Starting a conversation on a cold call is always tricky. But one way to open is by mentioning something you have in common with the prospect. It shows you’ve done your homework. 

“Hi (name). It’s Hendrick from Cognism. I read your recent post about the game on Saturday night. Wasn’t (player name) such a let-down? What was the ref thinking?”

16. Congratulate them on a recent win

‘Congratulations,’ is one of the best phrases you can use on a cold call, especially for an opening line. Have a look at what the company you’re targeting has achieved in the news recently and mention it in the intro. 

“Hi (name). It’s Simon from Cognism. Congratulations on signing (company name). That’s a big deal!”

17. Solve a problem

The best opening lines for cold calling help a prospect solve a problem. It gives you the opportunity to pitch your product and introduce yourself.

“Hi (name). I’m Alice from Cognism. I’ve been working with (company name) to improve (problem) and they’re now (result). I thought you might be experiencing the same challenge, and I’d like to help.” 

Best practice for cold calling opening lines

While the above are some of the best cold call openers, what matters most is how you initiate them. To stay on track, you’ll have to follow a few best practices:

  • Find out as much as you can about the prospect before you call.
  • Have a clear goal in mind for what you want to achieve from the call.
  • Keep your tone confident, steady and friendly.
  • Choose a good time to cold call where you suspect your buyer will be most likely to pick up.
  • Have an objection handling list on hand.
  • Practice your cold calling script before the time.
  • Don’t talk about yourself, rather focus on your customer and ask them open-ended questions to keep the conversation flowing.

Cognism's sales team share their top tips for opening a cold call - press ▶️ to watch.

Call intro FAQs

Q: What cold call opening lines should you avoid?

A: There are lots of great opening lines for cold calling, but the ones you should avoid are:

  • Asking for a meeting
  • Asking for their business
  • Apologising for calling or ‘bothering’ them
  • Opening with a lengthy sales pitch
  • Talking about yourself

Q: How do you greet in a cold call?

A: Don’t overthink your cold calling introduction. Stick to “hi,” hello,” “good morning,” or “good afternoon.”

Q: What’s the best opening line to get past a gatekeeper?

A: Getting past the gatekeeper is as easy as: 

“Hi, it’s Megin from Cognism. Is (name) available?” and when they respond with “what’s it regarding,” you can say, “I’m just chasing up on some emails. They’ll know what it’s regarding.” Or “new business”

Practice your best opening lines with accurate mobile numbers

Practice makes perfect, and it’s no different when it comes to sales opening lines.

But you’d rather practise on ready-to-buy prospects, right?

Cognism can help you fire up your pipeline with accurate, human-verified mobile numbers and ready-to-buy prospects. 

Click 👇 to book your demo.

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