Many telephone sales opportunities are lost because of a poor opening. A proper opening on the telephone is as important as getting the first button on a shirt lined up right. When the first one is right, all the others fall naturally into their places.
Never say "How are you?" to a stranger. This approach is not sincere. The salesperson doesn't really care and certainly doesn't have time to listen to a story if he or she did care. What does happen is exactly the opposite of what the salesperson wants to have happen the person being called is tentative, mildly upset and sometimes downright irritated. The person you are calling may put up resistance immediately because of this opening and expect a sales pitch. The salesperson has dug himself a hole and now has to dig out before he can actually have the attention of the prospect.
Give respect to the person you are calling and try to avoid asking a question that is intrusive, direct, and too personal. Be polite.
Never flub the opening line. It should sound clear, positive, and strong. When a potential customer calls on you, the voice he or she hears should be enthusiastic and ready to serve.
When you are making the call, the same proves true. A poor opening line will surely dim your chances of a productive conversation. Remember, you may be calling on this person at your convenience. Many prospects will appreciate your asking permission to continue the call. Even if you get a no, you can discover a better time to call on that prospect instead of instantly turning him or her off with a weak opener.
Practice saying who you are and know what you do. Be able to state your company's business and what you do in one sentence. Never hedge.
Sincerity, politeness and brevity, combined with a solid knowledge of your product, are the makings for a successful sales call. Follow these tips and watch your selling productivity rise.