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The Zone of Most Resistance

Prospect Psychology on Cold Calls

Chris Ritson

13 Oct 2023

3 mins

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Most people who’ve ever done cold calling fail to master it. 

Why? Because it’s littered with obstacles: 

  1. First, you need the right numbers 

  2. Next, you need people to pick up 

  3. Then, you need to build enough trust in you and your company that prospects decide in real time to continue their conversation with you to the next step 

Most reps moan about bad data and no pickups but the real problem is we haven’t given them the skills to succeed when the data is good and people do pick up. 

In this newsletter, I’ll tell you how to improve your chances of success when someone actually answers. 

Let’s dive in.

The Zone of Most Resistance: 

Firstly, in order to be consistently successful on cold calls you need to understand prospect Psychology. 

When your prospect answers they immediately assess the situation in front of them. 

It’s an evolutionary trait in human beings to assess whether it’s ‘safe’. This is called fight or flight. 

At this point, your prospect is literally trying to figure out whether they can trust you. You can observe this in their typical responses. 

This is what I call the ‘‘zone of most resistance’’. It’s literally the strongest pushback you’ll get from prospects and it’s ALWAYS at the start of your relationship with them aka when you first cold call them. 

Why? Because in a prospect’s mind, they do not know you, like you, or trust you. You have to earn it (it’s easier than you think as well). 

Prospect Response: 

So, you know your prospect is in the zone of most resistance. They are trying to figure out if they should or should not trust this person. 

Literally speaking, they are in ‘fight or flight mode’. The challenge is they won’t say this to you they’ll exhibit it in the form of ‘objections’. 

I break these types of responses into two: 

  1. Fight Mode → typically more challenge focused. This will most likely be in the form of a question. 

These types of prospect responses may look like this: 

  • Who is calling? 

  • Why are you calling? 

  • Where are you calling? 

The prospect is literally trying to figure out whether they can trust you enough to continue. Aka you’re ‘‘safe’’. 

  1. Flight Mode → typically less challenge-focused. They will often be statements. 

For example: 

  • Not interested 

  • I’m in a meeting 

  • Got a vendor in place 

The prospect has already decided you’re not ‘‘safe’’ and is looking to exit the call ASAP to get back to their ‘‘safe’’ place. 

Cold Caller Response: 

So, now you know your prospect’s psychological state. You see, they leave clues in their responses. It’s great. 

These clues mean you can answer appropriately and more importantly build trust that you are safe to continue with. 

Fight mode (surprisingly) is easier to respond to than flight. But here are two examples you can steal when your prospect is in one or the other: 

Fight Mode: 

Me: Hey Prospect, it’s Chris got 30 seconds to tell you why I’ve called? 

Prospect: Who is calling? 

Most Sellers: It’s Chris, how are you? 

Me: It’s Chris Ritson, an AE at Flexprts I help CEOs like you solve X. Got 30 seconds to tell you why I called? 

Let’s break it down: 

The prospect went into fight mode. 

They asked me a basic question ‘who is calling’? 

What your prospect was really saying was ‘‘I don’t know you, I don’t trust you, tell me more about why I should’’. 

Hence my response was 1. More context on me and who I help 2. Repetition of the question. 

If they asked me where I’m calling from I’d just switch to more context on my company and who my company helps to build trust there. 

Try it, you’ll see how easily you can get past those initial ‘‘fight responses’’. 

I call it the ‘‘more context and repeat ask’’ technique (catchy, I know). It’s PERFECT for the zone of most resistance when a prospect is in fight mode. 

Flight Mode: 

Me: Hey Prospect, it’s Chris got 30 seconds to tell you why I’ve called? 

Prospect: I’m in a meeting (flight mode) 

Most Sellers: Okay, shall I call later? 

Prospect: Sure. (and they never answer). 

Me: Understood. So you know I work with CEOs like you on X. I know I’ve called whilst you’re busy so would 2pm be better or is 2 mins now better? 

Let’s break it down: 

The prospect goes into flight mode. 

I tell them I understand they have to go. Give them more context on me to build more trust in me then give them an option of later or if I’ve done enough to build trust continue now. 

Again, try it. 

Hope this is helpful. 

Quick Summary: 

The top of the call is the hardest it’s where cold calls fail If you master ‘‘the zone’’ you’ll convert more (I promise) Calls are easier once you get through the zone Prospects are in fight or flight mode - knowing which is key Your response decides if you continue talking or not (it’s on your skill not on your prospect) 

This Week’s Action Step: 

Listen to some of your recorded cold calls and identify whether your prospects went into fight or flight mode. After you’ve done that try using the two mini scripts above. 

If this is helpful, share it with your team! 

Good luck!!

Cheers, Chris

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© 2024 Chris Ritson. All right reserved.

© 2024 Chris Ritson. All right reserved.