I’m sure you know how busy your prospects are, especially if you sell to anyone higher than a mid-level manager. The typical executive has at least 40 hours of unfinished work on their desk at any time; receives more than 150 emails every day, and runs from meeting to meeting from early morning to late afternoon.
That’s why opening a prospecting call with, “Hi, how are you?” is a complete waste of time.
I have had countless conversations with sales people about this topic and it still surprises me how many feel that it is an effective way to open a sales call.
People argue that it is a natural way to start a conversation with a friend so why not a prospect? First of all, prospects are not your friends…at least not on the first call. And second, this is not a personal conversation, it is a business dialogue.
You might be saying, “Yeah but it’s a good icebreaker.”
You don’t need an icebreaker on a business call. You don’t need to warm up your prospect or engage in small talk. It is much more effective to introduce yourself and say, “I know you’re busy so let me get right to the reason for my call” or to simply launch into your value proposition.
Are you still arguing and thinking, “Yeah, but it’s a good way to build rapport”?
Business executives have little or no interest in any type of rapport-building conversation until they you have established some level of relationship with them. And you achieve this by respecting their time.
Opening a cold call with “Hi, how are you?” does not achieve that goal. However, getting to the point of your call does.
Still struggling with this concept? Still believe that it is more effective to open a cold call with this approach?
Consider this quote from one of my clients; “I don’t want a relationship with the sales people who call my company. I just want to know if it makes sense to spend time speaking to them.”
Are there exceptions to the rule? Absolutely!
It makes sense to use this approach when calling a prospect with whom you have an established relationship. You can open with this when you call existing clients.
However, if you are making a cold call, you can increase your credibility—and efficiency—by avoiding the impulse to say, “Hi, how are you?” when you connect with someone for the very first time.