5 Psychology Principles that Will Make You A Better Cold Caller

Some say sales is an art. Others say it’s a science. Hardly a soul says it isn’t routed in psychology.

If you want to be a better cold caller, learning psychology is a must. Here are 5 psychology principles that will make you a better cold caller.

  1. The Contrast Effect

Definition: Magnification or diminishment of perception as a result of previous exposure to something of lesser or greater quality1.2000px-mond-vergleich-svg

Why You Should Care: Good things look better when they’re side-by-side with bad things. For example, that brand new Honda coupe looks like a Ferrari next to its 1988 beat-up alternative. Make your product more appealing by first naming a few negative attributes that it doesn’t have.

Cold Call Example: “Our product doesn’t take months to set up or an engineering degree to use. Instead, it’s ready to use right out of the box, and you’ll feel comfortable with it after just a few hours of playing with it.”

  1. In-Group Favoritism

Definition: People define themselves in terms of social groupings and are quick to denigrate others who don’t fit into those groups2.

Why You Should Care: In-group favoritism is the cornerstone of sales rapport. The more similarities you establish between you and your prospect, the better you’ll get along. You can even take it one step further—it rarely hurts to poke fun at a common enemy to help you and your prospect bond.

Cold Call Example: “You’d be surprised: there are a lot of people out there who neglect that responsibility and try to delegate it to some outside company. Isn’t that wild?”

  1. Loss Aversion

Definition: Losses have more of an emotional impact than equivalent gains3.

Why You Should Care: Pain sells. Pleasure sells less.

Let’s say you’re selling vacation packages. You might find success describing the gorgeous beachfront view and the smell of ocean mist. Yet, chances are you’ll find more success if your prospect admits that she doesn’t take enough time off work and can’t remember the last time she and the family spent leisure time together. Which version do you think sounds more compelling?

Cold Call Example: “Right now, you’re losing x hours each week because your current way of doing things is less efficient than it could be.”

  1. The Power of “Because”

Definition: When we ask someone to do us a favor, we will be more successful if we provide a reason4.

Why You Should Care: Because all good sales conversations should have one or more asks, you can strengthen your asks by justifying them.

Cold Call Example: Because you do have pains around x, y and z, could we take a few minutes this afternoon to see if you might find our solution helpful?”

  1. Norm of Reciprocity

Definition: We are obligated to give back to others in the form of behavior that they have first given to us.5

Why You Should Care: Let me reveal to you perhaps the most underused sales tool: sincere kindness. As a good cold caller, you must remember that the moment your prospect picks up the phone, you have yet to do her any good. On the contrary, you have demanded her time, attention and trust. To overcome this “kindness deficit”, ask yourself, “How can I make my prospect’s life better?” Small gestures of kindness—think: a restaurant offering you a mint to cap off your meal—can breathe life into a sales relationship. Offer enough mints, and your prospects will notice.

Cold Call Example:

“If you’d mind giving me a call back—actually, scratch that; I’ll send you an email to make your life a little easier.”

Final Thoughts

Can you think of any other principles of psychology that have helped you sell? If so, please share them, because your thoughts will go to waste unless you put them out in the open for your fellow salespeople to enjoy.

Yours on the grind,



  1. http://study.com/academy/lesson/contrast-effect-definition-example.html
  2. https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/fulfillment-any-age/201012/in-groups-out-groups-and-the-psychology-crowds
  3. http://www.investopedia.com/university/behavioral_finance/behavioral11.asp
  4. http://jamesclear.com/copy-machine-study
  5. http://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2012/11/26/165570502/give-and-take-how-the-rule-of-reciprocation-binds-us


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