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Best Sales Openers That Will Set You Off To A Great Start

Vy Dang
8/19/20 9:28 AM

A great list of prospects, check. 

A well-scripted pitch under your belt, check. 

A product that solves real problems, check. 

How difficult can a sales call over the phone be, you would think, right?  

The answer is: Very.

And you'll learn the harsh truth that seasoned veterans know by heart only after your call was brutally shut down 5 times in a row. 

The sales pros also know that nothing is as important as the start of your call.

Cold call opening lines can make or break your chance of converting a lead. You might have heard some of the worst ones as a customer, and perhaps now wonder what the best sales openers might be. 

And today, in true Salestrail fashion, I'll show you both - plus tips on how you can keep practicing the art of the start. 

What's in this article: 

Opening lines that kill the two-way discussion 

“Do you have a moment? / Do you have a minute?”

To prospects, this screams uncertainty and inconfidence. When you open a sales call with “Do you have a moment?”, prospects will be encouraged to say no, as you are putting yourself in a short-lasting time frame before knowing the prospect’s availability.

This approach might sound sincere to a salesperson (you are being considerate of your prospect’s time, no?), but prospects can feel you are in a hurry to get on with the actual purpose of the call, which allows them to control the conversation for you and deny your chance right at the get go.

“You don’t know me, but…”

Sounds confident.

The salesperson is clearly taking control of the call, at the same time, gaining trust from the prospect by admitting the disadvantage, right?

Wrong.

Stating the disadvantage isn’t always going to bring the best result. If that disadvantage isn’t "interesting" enough, the prospect might not continue listening to the call. This opener puts you in a defensive position, displaying that you are being intrusive - and you know it - yet, you will still continue being invasive 😬. 

“Am I interrupting something?”

By saying this, you are transpiring your urgency to the person on the phone right off the bat.

This is what prospects think once these words are said: Am I interrupting something... If not, I will begin my pitch.

You might as well say: I am a salesperson and I'm gonna sell you my product.

Opening lines that actually WORK

“How have you been?”

This is the one that takes all, thoroughly researched through 90,000 plus cold calls.

And there’s a reason for this.

“How have you been” throws prospects off, thinking this could only come from someone who they know personally.

And this is a great way to start a sales call over the phone - you want to establish yourself as the person who controls the conversation.

You KNOW the prospect is likely to respond against your pitch. Once prospects know what you are going to say next (because they know this is a sales call), they will respond in a way to stop you from saying your next words.

But opening with “How have you been” gives prospects too much to think about.

Why is this person asking me like I know him/her?

This stops them from interrupting your next pitch.

The responds you might get from this one opening line could be:

Um, Who is this?

Do I know you?

Or if your prospect is feeling great:

Yes, can I know who is calling?

Bonus tips: One of the great ways to reply when prospects react to this specific opening line would be to use your existing information on the prospect to establish understanding and trust. Then follow up with a question.

For instant:

- Yes. Can I know who is calling?

- My name is Kevin, the reason for the call today, (name of the prospect), is that I have found just a list of 5 Spanish homes with 2 bedrooms, that is currently under the price of 2 million, only came up in the market last week, and only if you allow me to do so, I will share with you all the information about them. Do you have a minute?

The same goes for "How are you?", "How are you doing?". 

The point of this opening line is to open up a dialogue between you and the prospect. 

And it works like magic.

Set up a system that helps you learn

Just like how we achieve great things in life, if you want to get good at any part of the sales process, including having crazy effective sales opening lines, you must keep practicing and learning.  

  • Automatically track your progress - the longer you are spending on a call initially, the better you are performing. The longer you spend on manual updating, the less time you have to analyze and improve. 
  • Learn with & from your co-stars - Depends on your preference and work environment, sharing your call analytics with your colleagues can create a sense of accountability and they can often provide useful feedback. As you learn from each other, everybody wins. 

Sales isn’t a one time profession. Small steps towards the best version of your opener is a way to go. Focus on the improvements, not the end goal!

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