Lowering Resistance During a Cold Call

Whenever I walk into a department store, and a salesperson says, “Can I help you?” I always say, “No thanks, just looking.”

It’s a lie. 

I’m not “just looking.”

I didn’t just wake up and think, “I really want to go to a department store today.”

I have intent.

That’s why a few minutes later, I’m usually at the register buying something. 

Perhaps you say, “Just looking,” too, when salespeople approach you.


Saying “I’m just looking” is a reflect reaction to a salesperson. 

You’re in what I call the Zone or Resistance (ZOR). 

Your ZOR protects you from self-serving salespeople.

The same thing happens when you make a cold call.

Prospects are in the ZOR. 

Prospects are protecting themselves from you.

They’re afraid you’re going to talk them into a meeting. 

The problem is the word “into.” 

When people feel like they’re being talked into something, they want out.

So your first job isn’t to persuade or pitch.

Your first job is to lower the ZOR so you can determine IF your prospect has a problem.

The keyword is “if.” 

The idea is to be curious about how your prospect is currently getting the job without assuming there’s a problem. 


Ask a neutral question that makes prospects think differently about their current solution (Poke the Bear). 

Example for Gravy:


“Hi, Kim. You’re probably going to hate me because this is a cold call. Would you like to hang up, or can I steal a minute and ask you a question?”


“Thanks. I’m with Gravy, and we worked with membership communities and came across your name.”

Poke the Bear

“If you don’t mind me asking, how are you currently recovering failed credit card payments? Are you using internal resources or an outsourced recovery team?”

Conversation started. 

Why does this work? 

Neutral questions don’t lead the witness towards your desired answer, so people don’t feel the pinch.

Instead, you’re curious about how people are getting the job done to see IF there’s a potential problem. 

The keyword is “if.”

When you let go of expectations, you create an environment where prospects lower their ZOR because they don’t feel the push. 

This is for Gravy, but you can easily customize the talk track for your prospects. 

Ditch the pitch.

Poke the bear.