The goal of a cold call is to get your prospect one step closer to the end of the sales process. Most often the goal for that call is to qualify the opportunity and ask for a meeting to discuss things further.      

If you have had a positive conversation with a prospect, the meeting is the natural outcome of the conversation. You shouldn’t feel awkward asking for it, but how you ask for it is important.

Try not to ask for the meeting with a closed-ended question such as, "Would you like to meet next week?" If their answer is no, it will be very difficult for you to continue your conversation in a meaningful way. 

There is a natural reaction to any kind of ask — whether it's someone asking you to donate a dollar for charity at the cash register, or your kid asking to borrow the car, or a telemarketer asking you to commit to a meeting. Not a good reaction or a bad reaction, just a place where your brain goes to debate what to do next. You can make this process easier by how you approach the question.

Instead of asking if a prospect wants to meet, ask them when they want to meet. Provide two options: "Is Tuesday morning or Thursday morning a better time for you this week?"

This puts your prospect in a "one or the other" mindset vs. a "yes or no" mindset. It helps the brain skip over that "what now?" debate. It’s also what is called "an assumptive close" — you aren’t asking if they want to meet with you, you’re just assuming they are going to. 

Make a list of multiple ways to ask for a meeting that require a response that isn't "yes" or "no," and leave it somewhere visible until you get used to asking that question differently. It will become second nature soon enough, and you’ll soon be attending more of those important first meetings.

Do you ask closed-ended questions when making cold calls? How do you get meetings with potential prospects?