Written by Dave Goates, Director of Human Capital
We have learned some things about telephone calls in our short history as a telemarketing company. We work with decision makers in the b-2-b space exclusively, and there are certain phrases guaranteed to stop a conversation dead in its tracks. If you open a communication exit door for people, they will inevitably find the way out. There are some key phrases you need to master to keep the dialogue going. It’s another reason you want to make certain your scripting is always up on the screen when you’re speaking. It helps you avoid the speech traps we all fall into without thinking unless we are reminded.
What you want to avoid at all costs is sounding like the typical salesperson on the phone. Here are some examples of the phrases you need to train out of your sales team.
1. Never, never say: “Is now a good time?” or “Do you have a minute?”
Reason: It’s so stale and trite everyone has heard it before and gives an immediate “out” to the person. We had a caller who did it routinely, and he kept getting shut down. It’s so old school because it’s polite, but in today’s world it’s insincere when people expect and crave a more direct approach. Your cold call is unscheduled, so if you lead with that, the answer will invariably be “NO!” You’ve got to add immediate value to avoid that answer.
Try this instead: “I am glad I was able to reach you!” or ”It’s good to speak with you!” or “I hope all is well!”
2. Never, never say: “I am sorry to bother you…”
Reason: If you start your call with an apology, where do you go after that? It’s a sure fire invitation for the person to use the exit door because you’re not in control, you’re showing absolutely no conviction, and once again you come off as insincere. If you’re sorry, then why did you call me in the first place?
Try this instead: “I appreciate you taking my call,” or “Thanks for taking my call.”
3. Never, never say: “How are you?” or “How’s it going?” or “How are you doing?”
Reason: I remember a radio talk show host saying at the top of his broadcast, “I’m fine today, so don’t anyone out there ask that question again today!” If they did, he hung up. This is an automatic phrase the typical salesperson uses with absolutely no personal connection to the individual. It’s so hollow, and you need to separate yourself quickly from the pack if that call is going to go somewhere. Get to it immediately, or don’t call at all!
Try this instead: “I know you’re busy, I’ll be brief,” or “Last time we spoke you were crazy busy, looks like you’ve got a little breathing room today,” or “How did you do with the trade show presentation you were telling me about?”
4. Never, never say: “I was just checking in with you.”
Reason: The word “just” is an automatic signal that what comes next is NOT important. NEVER, Never, never use that word again!!
Try this instead: “I am calling to make sure you have what you need. . .” or “My senior director has a couple of questions about. . .”
Check back next week for part 2.