Should we ask, “How are you?” at the start of a cold call? It’s a great question and one which salespeople and sales trainers alike are split on and spend a lot of time debating in sales training programmes, cold calling seminars and courses!
Whilst accepting that there are always exceptions to every rule, I’m, for the most part, on the not side. My main reason is that most salespeople do not sound like they mean it and most potential clients think it’s disingenuous! Here’s a real conversation that took place from one of my delegates on a sales training course who would not stop asking this question…
Sales: “Hello X, it’s Y here from ABC company. How are you today?”
Client: “I’ve been off sick for two weeks and have just got back today.”
Sales: “Oh. The reason for the call today is…”
Oh, come on! How rude is that?! Right at the start of the call our “hero” has totally ignored his potential client. Disaster. But , one of the problems is that the alternative conversation where we delved into his private life was unlikely to go much better…
Far better to realise that clients are not hanging around hoping that you are going to be cold calling them and to ask the more polite question, “How convenient is it to speak?” This question is rarely asked because salespeople have the mistaken belief that by not asking it clients are more likely to stay on the phone… righto!