30 Aug 2012
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By Joost van Beeck

VP Sales, Actimizer

The Best Opening Lines for Sales Calls - 6 Do's and Dont's

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It’s a well-established fact that the first few seconds of a sales call are highly decisive for the outcome of the conversation. It can be the difference between a rejected offer even before you get to your sales pitch or actually managing to get a fruitful chat going with your prospect.

Basically, it’s a matter of establishing a positive dialogue by formulating very clear and unambiguous opening lines. Here are 6 dos and don’ts for inspiration on how to turn those critical initial seconds to your advantage.

1. Stand out

undefined  Avoid becoming just another telephone call. If you don’t manage to get your prospect’s attention by the opening line, you are not likely to get a positive conversation going.

undefined  Make sure that you somehow make an impression on your prospect. Personalize your opening line. Find your own ways of getting the prospect to listen. For my part, I tell my prospects that I am calling from Actimizer in Denmark. That usually encourages curiosity and attention.

2. Show that you value your prospects time

undefined  Never ask “can I take a minute of your time” or “is this a good time for you to talk”. This also goes for apologizing for interrupting.

undefined  Rather, tell your prospect that you’re glad to have reached him/her. Let the prospect know that you appreciate his/her time instead of asking for permission to take it (you already have).

3. Get ahead to your pitch

undefined  Avoid open questions like “how are you?” or “am I interrupting?” This gives the prospect an easy opportunity to reject the conversation already.

undefined  Make it as easy as possible for your prospect to give you a go for making your pitch. You could say “I’m so glad I reached you, because I have a question/offer for you.” That way, you are already ahead in the conversation. 

If this is a follow-up call, it would be appropriate to refer to a previous conversation, like saying “when we talked the last time, you were busy. It sounds like you have better time now to discuss this offer”.

4. Sound sincere and confident

undefined  Do not understate the purpose of your call by saying “I’m just calling to ask you if…” or “I only need a few minutes of your time” or “I was wondering if I could give you an offer on…

undefined  Get straight to the point and sound confident by e.g. saying “I’m calling to check if you have everything you need” or “to give you a great offer on…

5. Tell your prospect what's in it for them

undefined  Don’t assume that your prospect can see the benefits from your product or offer just by mentioning it in impersonal terms.

undefined  Always make sure you answer your prospects top-of-mind question: “what’s in it for me” within the first seconds of your call. If your prospect can see what they possible get out of talking to you, they’re more likely to engage in a longer and more qualitative conversation with you.

6. Take control over next steps

undefined  Never leave next step up to the prospect, if your he/she does not have time to talk right now.

undefined  Inform your prospect that you are going to get back to him/her and when they can expect to hear from you again.


I hope this can serve as inspiration for improving the opening lines for your sales calls. If you wan't to make a script to help you start the conversation right, read our tips for writing the best cold calling script.

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