The Cold Calling Series – Hook Off

In this article we’re going to introduce to you a theme for one of your cold calling sessions with a group of fellow sales people.


If you missed the pre-requisite article then do give it a read here:


Remember what we’re trying to do with these cold calling sessions. It’s all about developing the right environment. From that success will spread between members of the group like a wild fire.


Irrespective of subject matter, the more exposure we have to anything in life, the better we get at it. Malcolm Gladwell says you need 10,000 hours experience in an area to become and expert. So take his advice. Make your cold calling sessions that exposure you need, hit them phones as hard as you can alongside your peers. Then with every dial, with every rejection, with every moment of discontentment you’ll become that little bit more proficient. You’ll notice you can hold conversations for longer, you can intrigue the buyer much easier, you can obtain commitment for next steps with much more regularity than you ever could before.


So the point before we get on to our next theme is to throw yourself into your cold calling with 100% effort and work rate. That way you’ll experience an exponential improvement the more calls you make.


So enough with the encouragement, now onto the next fun theme. 



For those of you whom aren’t au fait with the terminology of a hook let me explain. It’s widely known that on any cold call there is a very short window where the sales person has the opportunity/airtime with the buyer. This short window is make or break for the sales person. It can last from anywhere between a couple of seconds to 30 seconds. We call this the hook window.


In the hook window, the buyer will make a judgement call as to whether to give the sales person more airtime or not. So all in all, the hook window is the most important time for the sales person making the cold call. If they can do enough to intrigue the buyer, then they’ll gain more airtime. Their next job is maintaining that momentum in the call, to interest the buyer more and more in a bid to gain further commitment such as a meeting etc.


The part we’re going to focus on in this article and in this game, is the hook.


The Hook

So what is the hook? Well the hook is a short statement that a sales person can make in the hook window. Remember its main purpose is to intrigue the buyer to giving you more airtime on the phone. So don’t make your hook a “selling point dump” we’re not looking for quantity, use something succinct that will encourage the buyer to want to know more. 

Examples of Hooks

Make the hook something short but interesting. Here are some examples I have seen other sales icons use in the past:


Hook Example 1: Innovations

“From experience we’re conscious that one of the difficulties in your position is that you have so much to look after in your role that you rarely get to look at innovations in the market. Many of our customers use us to fill that void, I just wanted to enquire how you overcome this currently?


Hook Example 2: Cyber Security

“More and more of our customers are asking for advice on cyber security. Statistics show that SMEs are being hit by a cyber breach once every three years and the average cost of a breach for an SME is $58k. I just wanted to enquire how you’re bolstering your cyber security to prevent such breaches?”


Hopefully this solidifies the point, make your hook succinct but extensive enough to interest the buyer.


The Hook-off Game

Now to the game. Start by getting everyone in the group to develop their own hook and print it out.


How the Hook-off game works is in 30 minute windows. Every 30 minutes we’re going to focus on a different hook, so every 30 minutes pass your hook round to another member of the team and focus on that hook.


Points Scoring

The same as every game we recommend for cold calling sessions, make it more competitive with a point scoring system and an incentive for those whom score the most points over a couple sessions using this game.


The points system we’ve used historically mimics the below but tailor this to your use case:

  • One point for every time you use a hook
  • Five points for every conversation with a buyer that lasts over five minutes
  • Twenty points for every meeting booked


Why Use This Game

The whole point of the game is to

  • Keep it Fun
    • If we’re continuously repeating the same hook it gets laborious and boring very quickly. We want to keep it fun and the variety of changing hooks every thirty minutes will do that.
  • Be More Effective
    • The  more exposure you get to using other hooks the better you will get at cold calling. You’ll listen to other people’s delivery and learn from what works for them. You’ll learn from how they have written their hooks and what they’ve included which will aid you in forming your own hooks.



It’s all about creating a great environment that’s both fun and competitive. When we as sale people have confidence on a cold call then we’re much more likely to attain the desired outcome of further commitment from the buyer. The more we practice and use hooks the more confident we will be!


Please do let us know how this technique works for you, we’d love to hear about it.


Do look out for our future posts around cold calling techniques, games and incentives.


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