4 Words That Kill Your Sales


By Neal Glatt

There are four words salespeople often say that almost universally kill a sale.  They’re the first four words used in most every sales call, and I’ve never met a salesperson who hasn’t used them at least once.  In fact, I’ve mistakenly said these deadly words back when I sucked at sales.  But then I started selling millions of dollars of contracts once I stopped opening calls by saying…

“How are you doing?”  

If you’re in sales, never, ever, under any circumstances, ask this question to open a sales call again.  When a salesperson asks this question, they signal to the prospect that this is a sales call.  We might as well say, “Hi Prospect, I’m going to try to sell you something you don’t want and waste your time in the process.”  The “sales shields” go up so fast that we never stand a chance.

Breaking a bad habit can be really tough, even when we know we need to change.  So I was taught early on to substitute this awkward question with a better question.  Now, I start every call with the question, “Hey, I’m not catching you at a bad time, am I?”  

If you’ve never taken a call from me, it can be hard to appreciate the inflection and tone I use when I ask.  But trust me, it’s perfect.  Not because I’m good, but because I practiced this question and perfected the delivery over thousands of sales calls.  In fact, it’s so rehearsed that I ask this question on an almost involuntary basis.  It just flows.  And it works.

When I ask, “I’m not catching you at a bad time, am I?” it forces the person on the other end of the line to stop and consider what they are doing.  They pause browsing the internet, reading email, or organizing their desk to consider if it’s more or less important than the phone call to which they (up until now) haven’t devoted much attention.  That’s when they realize they have no idea what the call is even about.  So with all of their attention and curiosity, 90% or more of the time they reply, “Uh….. What is this call regarding?”

No wonder my sales massively increased once I learned this opening.  Instead of trying to convince people why my unsolicited call was worth their time and money, they started asking me to tell them about me and my company.  Gamechanger.

However, while regularly clearing the cold-call-opening-line hurdle is awesome, there are many more hurdles remaining before closing the sale.  That’s why I’ve created so much content about sales here on GrowTheBench.  If your snow sales didn’t shape up as you were hoping this winter, it’s time to level up your skills now.  Otherwise, you’ll start next season ill-equipped for greater success.  If you’re ready to take the next step, sign up for our FREE Introduction to Sales course today!

Tags: Performance , Profit , Sales , Selling , Habit ,