I read a post from a sales blogger recently who argued vehemently that a salesperson should never ask a prospect if “they have a minute.” In other words, when you’re cold calling a prospect you should use sales techniques such as humor, a “get-their-attention” opener, as well as a few other basic telephone sales skills. There was nothing wrong with any of the sales tips except that rudeness rarely sells…
To be fair, the argument is that if you ask for minute of your prospect’s time you are screaming “sales call.” My first question is – so…? What’s wrong with a sales call? People love to buy things – right? They just don’t like to be sold. Everyone, I mean everyone, wants to be treated with respect. If you ask for 5 minutes and get it – you have a shot at closing a sale. If they say no – you can reschedule.
The other piece of the argument says that if someones answers the phone then you can assume they have a few minutes. The trouble with this is that assumptions are dangerous. Your prospect may be waiting for an important call or simply be picking up the phone to conduct his or her own business. Your call, while important, may need to take a back seat until your prospect has a minute to “invest” his time in affairs other than his primary business – despite how “great” you think your product is.
If you don’t ask for a minute of your prospect’s time, you’re setting yourself up for failure. Even the best sales techniques will come off as being rude. Telephone sales skills can’t ignore common courtesy. Moreover, a little common courtesy goes a long way to closing more sales. In sum, people remember how you make them feel – not what you say – so make them feel good. People will buy more, and more often, when they feel good.
What do you think…?