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Opening Statements: The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly

Opening Statements: The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly

Mike Brooks, Mr. Inside Sales

For the past 26 years I’ve worked on the phones as a qualifier, broker, sales associate, sales manager, director of sales, V.P. of sales, owner of various inside sales companies, consultant – you get the idea. I’ve worked with, monitored and heard thousands of sales reps over the years, and I’ve heard it all – the good, the bad, and the ugly.

First, the ugly:

1) When I was an investment broker in the 80’s, I worked with a woman, Barbara, who was one of the top brokers in our five office broker dealer network. It was always hard to get through to prospects at their offices, but she had a way of almost always getting through. While I do not recommend it, it sure worked for her back then:

Gatekeeper: “ABC company, can I help you?”

B: Yes, I need to talk to Jim, please.

G: Can I tell him who’s calling?

B: Yes, tell him Barbara is holding.

G: Will he know what this call is about?

B: He sure will. Tell him it’s about what he left at my apartment last night – he’ll know. I’ll hold while you put me through.

Oh, the good old days… Ugly for sure, but effective back then!

Next, the bad:

2) There are so many BAD ways of opening a call it’s hard to choose, but here are two that people still use (believe it or not) that they need to stop using now!

Prospect: Hi this is Bob, can I help you?

Rep: Oh hi, this is Brad Johnson with the XYZ company, have you ever heard of us?


Rep: Oh hi, this is Brad Johnson with the XYZ company, do you have a few minutes for me now?

Obviously, you’re starting the call off with a ‘no’ response (“No, I’ve never heard of you.”) or you’re giving your prospect an immediate opportunity to get rid of you – (“No, I don’t have time, good bye!”).

Seriously, if you’re using either of those, stop it today…

3) The other bad way to open a call is to try to trick the gatekeeper to put you through. Again, believe it or not, many sales reps still do this:

G: Can I tell him who’s calling?

Rep: Yeah, tell him it’s Brad.

G: Does he know you?

Rep: Yep, we’ve spoken before.


G: Can I tell him what this call is about?

Rep: "Yeah. He asked me to keep in touch with him.” Or, “I’m calling him back.”

Both of these responses are blatant lies, but it’s amazing how reps justify them with, “Well he gets a lot of calls; he won’t remember,” or “Well, I make a lot of calls, and I did call him 2 months ago.” (Of course they never reached him, but that doesn’t stop them!)

If you’re using any of the above trick methods, please stop it immediately. There is a better way…

Now: the good>>