The Best Cold Call I Ever Got

“Hi, could I speak to Phil Bernstein?” I braced myself for the sales pitch.


The caller identified himself as Dan from Oregon Premier Real Estate*, and the call took a quick left turn:

Phil, I’m kind of embarrassed here. I have your name and phone number written on a sheet of paper. I know I’m supposed to call you, but I don’t know why.”



This threw me. It was 2006, at the height of the real estate boom, but I didn’t know him or his company. “I’m sorry,” I said. “I don’t recognize your name.”

  • Dan: That’s okay, we’ll figure it out. Are you selling your house?
  • Me: No…
  • Dan: Okay, so that’s not it. Are you looking around for a new home?
  • Me: No, we’re happy where we are.
  • Dan: Wow… what else could it be? Are you shopping for investment property, maybe?
  • Me: Nope, that’s not it.
  • Dan: Is someone in your family selling, or looking?
  • Me: Wow, Dan. I’m drawing a complete blank here. I don’t think so.
  • Dan: Refinancing your mortgage?
  • Me: Already did that.
  • Dan: Well, gee, Phil. I’ve hit a brick wall. Sorry to bother you. Here’s my number — if you think of something later, give me a call.

We hung up, and I spent the next few minutes trying to figure out how I could help the poor guy. Then the light bulb went on.

I’d been cold called by a pro. As I sat on my couch, I gave him a golf clap.

I can’t justify the dishonesty — once I realized that he’d misled me, it disqualified him from ever representing me in a transaction. But there’s a lot to be learned from the way he politely qualified me with a series of questions, determined that I wasn’t a prospect — I wasn’t buying, selling, or refinancing, and didn’t know anyone who was — and politely ended the call so that he could move on to the next call.

*Names have been changed.

Question: What’s the best cold call you’ve ever made, or received? Who impressed you with professionalism, good questions, or sheer chutzpah?

Leave your answer in the Comments below.



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