Phrases of shame used in sales prospecting.
How commonly used words self-sabotage your prospecting efforts and snatch defeat from the jaws of sales victory.
Why do people work so hard to call call call to get Ms. Top Decision Maker on the phone… only to do everything they can to chase them away?
Not purposely of course. They don’t know that the words they choose to use are the equivalent of chasing their prospects away while swinging a baseball bat. No wonder they get blown off and the suspects run away. By their own words they have caused that to happen.
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Let me share some of the nutty, ridiculous, time wasting, say nothing, just lump me in with all the other knuckleheads that call you and waste your time things that people say that chase away qualified prospects they have worked very hard to get on the phone.
Can you believe that people actually say things like this on prospecting calls…
Your time is important
The reason I am calling today
About saving some money
How are you today
Contacting you on behalf of my manager Josephine Blank
Like to setup a brief meeting
Do you have 10-15 minutes
Get on your calendar for 10 minutes
We work with companies just like yours
The reason for my call today is
I know you were not expecting my call
I promise to be brief
I’m calling to follow-up on a letter, email, …
I know you are busy
Are you the person in charge of…
We won’t take much of your time
Do you have a minute
Giving you a quick call to…
How about I call you back in a month?
Can I call you back in 3 months?
Why are these phrases nuts? The first few seconds of the call are critical to them deciding you are worthwhile to talk to. If you are not perceived to be credible or touch some hot button you might help them with, you are toast. What does saying these things do to contribute to their knowledge of how you might help them or that you have enough credibility worth investing some time?
Nothing. They contribute nothing. So don’t say them.
Plus, and most importantly, they diminish trust in you. Your prospects have heard it all before, been sucked in by these phrases and burned badly. You seek to build trust, not diminish it. So why would you say the same often repeated phrases that prospects know from experience are almost always untrue, exaggerated, have no basis in fact or just flat out lies?
You can’t build trust by faking sincerity.
“How are you?” You don’t know them. They don’t know you. Could this be less sincere?
“Have you got a minute?” Again, if they don’t know you, what you might help them with or how credible you are, why should they have any time for you. Don’t ask them for time until you have laid the proper foundation.
“I’ll be brief.” That is not a benefit or something worthwhile. The fact that you will only waste a little bit of their time does not score points. Plus, dozens of callers have said the same thing to them before and then ramble on endlessly, so they don’t buy it.
But the biggest reason saying things like that are self-destructive is they communicate nothing about your value or what you do. If the person you are talking to has a need you can fulfill…. you are giving them absolutely no information that enables them to conclude that you are worth listening to.
I’m just calling to follow-up on a letter sent to you.
Why is this nuts? What is the response you get 99.9% of the time? “I didn’t get it… I didn’t read it. Please send it again.” So now, by your own choice of words you have immolated yourself. The call is over. Why would anyone do that? If you have the decision-maker on the phone use words that will sell the meeting, don’t choose words that are guaranteed to throw the conversation off course.
“I’d like to stop by and see you and will only take 10 minutes.”
If you are only worth 10 minutes of their time you must not be worth much at all.
Very self-destructive statement for two reasons. A. If you have nothing worthwhile to offer them the fact you will only take 10 minutes is not a benefit. B. People buy from peers. What you are communicating with this statement is that their time is more valuable than yours. You should never project that. Don’t say things to lower your perceived value. If they have an issue with time, let them bring it up.
Saying things such as “I only need 10-15 minutes of your time” is the equivalent of being on your knees bowing while chanting “I am not worthy, I am not worthy” over and over again. Why would someone that has expertise and great value to offer diminish their credibility like that. Makes no sense to me.
“Can I call back and check with you in a month.”
This is a great example of doing all the work and getting no results. Don’t ever suggest a time to call them back. Always let them suggest a time. Enable them to tell you how you can sell them. You learn nothing from them if you ask them when to call.
A better approach… “No problem… don’t want to be on your back… but obviously we do a lot of this, can you suggest a better time to get back in touch with you?” Then be quiet. Let them tell you. When they do say something like this… “Happy to do that, may I ask why that is a good time?”
See the difference? The first approach gives you no information to separate the hot prospects from the time wasters. By your own choice of words you doom yourself to following up on multiples of people that will never buy. With the second approach, you enable them to tell you if they have a need and when it will be actionable.
Keep these two points in mind. You always want to communicate value and enable them to tell you how to sell them. Rip out any words that don’t directly contribute to those two objectives. Never say anything to diminish perceptions of your value.
Remember, if you say the things that knuckleheads and time-wasters say, they will perceive you to be a knucklehead or time-waster.