July 2, 2018

Reader question: “How do you have The Why conversation when you’re cold calling?”

Reader Howard Fore wrote in recently with a question I get fairly often after talking about The Why Conversation (shared with permission):

Ok but (and you’ve probably talked about this already) how do you have the Why conversation when you’re cold calling a potential client? I want to sell them a service that they don’t currently use but that will expand their reach into their current market.  

Thanks Howard!

The fundamental issue here is a misunderstanding of what selling consists of. I never go into a meeting with a prospect with the intension of selling something to them. My intension is to determine whether or not there’s a good fit between our two businesses. If there is no mutually beneficial way to engage, why would I try to force something on them?


In Howard’s case, the outreach could be something like:

Hi Bob, Would like to expand your reach into [their current market]? I have a solution that helps some businesses like yours do this, but it doesn’t work for everyone. Would you be open to a quick phone call to see if there’s a good fit? If so, just reply with yes/thumbs-up and I’ll send across a few possible times. Yours, Howard

(This draft is pretty weak and could be improved significantly if I knew more about Howard and Bob. But for the purpose of this message, it’s good enough to get the point across.)

Your Takeaway

When doing outreach, your ask should be:

“Would you like to jump on a call to see if there’s a good fit?”

Given that as your opening, The Why Conversation makes perfect sense.



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