9 Pattern Interrupts that will transform your cold calls

woman on a sales call

When making sales calls, you need to have a number of tools up your sleeve to capture attention and break through the noise. In this blog post, we’ll recommend a few of our favourite pattern interrupts to help you get past the first 30 seconds of a call… 

What are your thoughts when you receive a call from a number you don’t recognise? At a guess, it isn’t excitement and joy that someone has reached out to you. We can all agree it is likely something less than positive. And if that’s how you think, we can assume your prospects are not significantly different. 

This is why you need to learn about and use pattern interrupts. A pattern interrupt is anything that forces someone to change their natural pattern of thought. As a result, it is a technique that sales development and business development professionals use for a variety of situations in sales calls and sales processes, but for this post, we will focus on the start of cold calls. 

When you are working in business development, you are trying to identify opportunities through conversations with prospects about the challenges they have.

The challenge for us, is getting into those conversations.

Here are 9 of our favourite pattern interrupts for your sales enablement...

1. The Mr Charles technique

Have you seen Inception? There is a scene where Cobb (Leonardo Di Caprio) and Arthur (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) decide to tell Fischer (Cillian Murphy) that he is dreaming, to take control of the narrative he believes inside his dream. (Appreciate if you haven’t seen the film, this will make no sense, but go and watch it or, keep reading, your choice.) 

Anyway, this pattern interrupt requires you to tell your prospect that they are experiencing a cold call. Really quickly, and upfront. When receiving a cold call, part of the pattern for the prospect is that they don’t know what they are going to be asked. The reason this pattern interrupt works is that it removes some of the fear of the unknown. By telling the prospect that they’re on a cold call, you own that power early on and build trust with honesty. This is important to establish early on, especially as unfortunately, a lot of people don’t trust salespeople. 

The pattern interrupt is: 

‘This is a cold call, do you want to hang up?’

2. The Speak First technique

Do any of you have that friend who calls you and jumps straight into a story? Or that sends you countless voice notes on Whatsapp? They sound like a friend when they call. You recognise their tone, approach and the way they whirlwind into your ear. 

This pattern interrupt aims to recreate that feeling. The feeling of familiarity, of a friend. The key is speaking first. As soon as the phone is answered, you jump in and speak, using their name! 

The pattern interrupt is: 

‘Hi Claire, it’s John, how are you doing?’

3. The Thief(!) technique

One of the important aspects of an effective pattern interrupt is using language that is different, that shocks a little. With this technique, you are asking politely, with a language that sounds a little different, to steal some of your prospects’ time. And hey, they already think you are an interruption, you might as well confirm that and request it so that they grant you permission themself! 

Alongside this, the use of 27, rather than a nice round number adds to the shock effect! 

The pattern interrupt is: 

‘Can I steal 27 seconds?’ 

4. Shock and Awe technique

Think about the worst possible scenario for a company that doesn’t yet use your technology or services. Then multiply how bad it could be. Use this to open your call, with a, ‘What would happen if…’ question. One of our clients sells Health and Safety Software, so if you imagine what the worst-case scenario is there… 

The pattern interrupt is: 

‘What would happen if someone dies at your business?’ 

5. Answer the Question technique

First question in anyone’s mind when they receive a cold call is, ‘who is it?’ Second, and actually the question they care about having answered is, ‘Why have they called me?’ 

How do you disrupt that pattern? 

The pattern interrupt is: 

‘Can I tell you why I decided to call you today?’

6. The Expectation-Setter technique

One of the key thought patterns, typical of receiving a sales call, is the fear of the unknown. They don’t know who you are, why you are calling, or how long it is going to take! Setting some expectations early on give the prospect a great opportunity to relax, and feel in control. 

The pattern interrupt is: 

‘If I take 2 minutes and you aren’t interested, I will never call you again? ‘

7. The Overshare technique

You know what people like to hear about? THEMSELVES. Honestly, the top of any list. With this pattern interrupt, you need to do your homework. The idea is that if you know three key details about the person you are calling, you should be able to share them quickly, but with brief pauses in between to let them know that you KNOW them. 

For example, if someone was to cold call me, they might talk about my love for burgers, Leeds United Football Club or the NewVoiceMedia acquisition to Vonage.

The key aspect here is wearing the prospect down with how much detail you know about them. 

The pattern interrupt may sound like this: 

‘Hi John, Look I know that you have done some great work with the SDR’s over at X company, I assume that you learned a lot of what you know from being part of that amazing journey at NewVoiceMedia!’

8. The ‘8 Miling’ technique

Although made famous as a technique to objection handle by Kevin ‘KD’ Dorsey, the concept of 8 Miling works surprisingly well as a pattern interrupt at the start of calls. 

Basically, this comes from the scene at the end of 8 Mile, when B-Rabbit (Eminem), is in a rap battle, and he shares all of the negative points his opponent was going to use against him, first. This takes all of the wind out of the sails of his opponent, enabling B-Rabbit to win the battle. 

So, if you know there is a typical objection that people have to your service, industry or approach, use it for your pattern interrupt. 

This pattern interrupt may sound like this: 

‘Look, I am sure you already have a provider and are looked after by your current suppliers, but…’  

9. The shared experience technique

This one is all about bringing you to the same level as your prospect. I am convinced that you have all heard at least one person in your life rail on salespeople, and chances are your prospects, or at least some of them, feel the same way. In many cases, you will be able to refer to yourself as a professional, working in the same industry as your prospects, especially if you are vertically aligned in your team. If not, this may be a more difficult line to pull off. If you sell to salespeople, like Mark Akers at Refract, then it is GOLDEN. 

This pattern interrupt may sound like this: 

‘From one salesperson to another…’ 

So there you have it, 9 cracking pattern interrupts to open up and change up your sales calls

Not sure if they will work? TRY THEM and be scientific! Track which techniques you use and how many convert into sales conversations.

We would love to hear your feedback and any examples of creative ways in which you’ve used them! 


Scroll to Top