Here’s a common real-life experience I often ask my sales training participants to imagine:
You’re shopping at a retail store, and a salesperson approaches you. She asks you these three words, “How are you?”
What is your reaction? Are you going to share with her that you overslept this morning or that you are worried about your father’s health? Of course not! You are going to say, “I’m fine,” or “Just looking, thanks,” and then walk away… SALES OPPORTUNITY OVER!
The same is true in business
When cold calling on the phone, NEVER start the conversation by asking, “How are you?”
You’re probably thinking “How are you?” is an icebreaker, just a friendly way to start a conversation. Unfortunately that question just pushes the prospect away. They do not know you and therefore, have no reason to trust you. To the prospect, it feels artificial, a contrived question to get their guard down.
So what what is the best way to get a new prospect’s attention?
- Get to the point right away by stating the reason for your call. You start by saying, “Hi my name is Paul Cherry with Performance Based Results. We specialize in . . .” and then immediately go to your value opening statement.
- On a phone call, you have a maximum of eight seconds to make a first impression. Don’t waste that time with a “pleasantry” that will accomplish nothing. Instead of asking that question, use that time to establish your credibility.
Note: This advice does not hold true when you are making a call on an established customer. In those instances, it is perfectly appropriate to ask your customer how they are doing in order to catch up on anything that has happened (personal or professional) since your last conversation.