I’m a sales training junkie. Every year, I set aside a fund from my income to buy sales books, videos, and online courses. In the past, I’ve gladly given my money to Dan Kennedy, Art Sobczak, Dan O’Day, and yes, I’ve paid to attend JDA.media’s Boot Camp. 🙂

On my sales calls, I try out what I learn and keep using the tactics that work for me.  Remember, I’m a seller, not a manager—so flip the below to coaching when working with your own sellers.

Recently, I’ve been test-driving some techniques from Josh Braun, a trainer I found on LinkedIn. After working my way through his Badass B2B Growth Guide program (good course, unfortunate title), I’ve retooled my cold call approach. After three months, the results have been impressive.

The big change: I no longer ask for a meeting on a cold call or cold email. Instead, I ask to start a conversation.

Braun explains the difference this way:

“Asking for time creates more friction because it requires a bigger commitment.”

Braun recommends what he calls the “low friction call to action”—a request for a smaller investment on the part of the prospect. Examples of a low-friction CTA include:

  • Open to learning more?
  • Does this sound interesting?
  • Would this be worth a conversation?

I resisted the idea when I first encountered it. My point of view has always been that the goal of the initial call is to get the meeting. For nearly three decades, I’ve asked for the meeting early in every cold call. But I’d just paid $197 for Braun’s course, so I decided to give the idea a try.

The mechanics of my approach didn’t change—I’m partial to the voicemail-followed-by-an-email “double-tap.” But instead of “Does Thursday at 3:00 work for you, or is next Tuesday better?” I’ve settled on “Would this be worth a conversation?”

Ninety days into the experiment, I’m a believer. Clients sound more relaxed on the phone, and my response rate from messages and cold emails has gone up significantly.

Most eye-opening: the client is frequently the one who suggests the meeting.

Last week, the president of a local bank emailed me that: My director of marketing would be happy to chat with you about what you’re thinking. We’d love some help sharing what we are up to—though the formal launch of our new loan product may still be a few months out. He is CCed and you should schedule with him.”

And the HR Director of a packaging firm said this: “Yes, it would be worth a conversation. When might you be available? I’d like my associates to be part of the call. I’ll check our schedules and send you some times.”

Does this approach work every time? No. There’s still plenty of rejection in my cold outreach.

But by softening the approach and not asking for the meeting, I’m having more conversations and more productive conversations. And those conversations are turning into more and better meetings.

Margie Chilson is a Senior Marketing Consultant for JDA.media.

Her vast experience includes nearly three decades in broadcast television and digital sales marketing, working in and with multiple markets and affiliations including Dallas-Fort Worth at WFAA, Denver at KUSA-KTVD, KMGH, KWGN, and as a team manager at Millennium Television Sales.

Margie’s years as a local seller were award-winning and inspiration for her jump to JDA.media. She exceeded new business and digital goals on a consistent basis at Belo Corp., Scripps, Tribune, and TEGNA Inc. stations. A true innovator, Margie pioneered job-sharing positions in Dallas and Denver, balancing hectic work schedules and family, paving the way for working parents with careers in media sales.

Margie is well known and respected for her diligence, drive, and new business results. Due to her years in the business as an account executive and sales leader, she knows the station environment well and can easily relate to local sellers as well as the most senior managers.

An alum of Oklahoma State University who graduated with Honors in Journalism Advertising, Margie boasts an outstanding track record of helping business owners strategically grow their revenue through broadcast, streaming and digital solutions.

Margie and her husband Tim have been married for 23 years. The couple and their two children live in Littleton, CO, a suburb of Denver. Their son, Ryan, attends the University of Colorado Boulder, and their daughter, Mary, is in high school.  In their spare time, the Chilsons enjoy travel, hiking in the picturesque Rocky Mountains, cooking, watching movies, and cheering on their kids in various sporting events.