Weak opening lines for cold callers

In this blog, I’d like to talk about the wonderful world of cold calling. I know, I know – you’ve probably had just the reaction that I was looking for, and that’s the point.

The trouble is that we have all been there. It’s been a long and hard day at the office, various customers and colleagues have ground you down and you’d like nothing more than to kick off your shoes, get into your favourite onesie and eat a Pot Noodle in front of the Jeremy Kyle that you recorded earlier. It all sounds lovely when the phone rings and as it’s an unknown caller and you never like to ignore a ringing phone, you answer it..

“Good evening, can I speak to Mr Rose please?” obviously at this point you will have substituted your own name. Unless of course your name actually is Mr Rose, in which case, that’s quite cool, although it’s not an uncommon surname. Anyway, I digress.

Speaking,” you offer reluctantly, “Hello there Sir, my name’s Whatever and I’m calling from Blah Blah Waffle Ltd…how are you this evening?”

And there it is….how am I this evening? There are so many things I would like to say at this point. I could realistically tie this person up for the rest of the night unloading on exactly how I am but I just say what we all say. “Fine thanks”.

The real problem however, is that there is something really annoying about being asked that question by a total stranger who is clearly trying to sell me something. Think about how it makes you feel whenever you hear it. Exactly, and when I ask around, I rarely, if ever, find someone who isn’t wound up in the very same way.

So, the customers don’t want to hear it, and the telesales community are blissfully aware of it, and yet it carries on regardless. But wait, I’ve got another one, how about this opening:

“Hello Mr Rose, sorry to bother you but werfwefwheruhbscv….” yes, that is exactly what I hear after the words “sorry to bother you” because if you are sorry, then think about how you could have avoided that guilty feeling. That’s right genius, don’t bother calling me at all.

You see anyone who opens with that line is demonstrating that they know that they are a nuisance and that nobody is likely to buy from them. Is that really the best position to take when making a sales call? Put it this way, if someone was calling you to tell you that you have genuinely won a large sum of money, would they open with an apology?

If you’re not convinced, try this simple experiment. Think of two favours that you would like to ask of someone today. When you ask someone for the first favour, I want you to fix firmly in your mind that the person you’re asking is going to say no. Your request may be perfectly reasonable, but they are not going to do it for you.

Now pick the second favour and go and ask someone else, complete in the knowledge that they are absolutely, 100% going to say yes. Zero doubt, zero argument, just a flat out yes.

How did you get on? Did you notice the change in your speech and body language between the two? Well we can’t account for body language on the phone, but the tone will set up everything else.

Be bold, be confident, be friendly but don’t ask me how I am – I don’t know you, but if you follow my advice, I just might want to.