Stop Asking How I’m Doing

Recently, I ended up on call list.

Recently, I ended up on call list. Now I am getting calls from sales reps who work at the same type of company and who sell the same type of service. The calls don’t bother me. I completely get the game. It doesn’t even upset me that they all use the same approach and say the same thing. (Though I do wish they were a little more creative.) The main thing that gets to me is how everyone seems to start the conversation by saying, “Hi John, How are you doing today?

I know this sounds weird. You’re probably thinking I’m a Masshole for being annoyed by people asking how I’m doing, but I can explain. You know why it really bothers me?

It’s because I know they don’t care.

I know they don’t care because after getting a bunch of the same calls I started answering the question the same way. No matter how good or bad my day was going, each time I would respond with: “Miserable.”

If they really cared they would stop and ask why or at least show some type of sympathy or curiosity. However, 9 out of 10 of them end up stumbling through the awkwardness with something like “Ummm… Sooo… Anyway…” and then wind up stating the reason why they are calling me in a panic.

The other reason I know people don’t care is because I didn’t when I used to use this approach. I was so bad I wouldn’t even wait for the response. My calls used to go like this: “Hi. How are you today? I was wondering if you could point me in the right direction.

I understand what we’re trying to do by using this approach: we’re trying to build some type of rapport upfront. Unfortunately this is a false way to build rapport and it’s more annoying to executives than anything else. [tweet_dis excerpt=”You know what builds rapport with executives? Getting to the point. @johnmbarrows #sales”]You know what’s respectful and helps build rapport with executives? Getting to the point.[/tweet_dis]

There are two things everyone is trying to figure out every time they pick up a call. The first is whether or not they know the person. The second is why they are calling. To help address this I wanted to share examples of both weak and more powerful introductions:

Weak Introductions

  • How are you today? Thanks for taking my call…
  • Is this a good time?
  • I’m sorry to bother you…
  • Touching base/checking in…

Powerful Introductions

  • Thanks for taking my call.
  • Do you have a few moments?
  • The reason for my call today is…
  • Can you help me?

My favorite introduction  is: “The reason for my call is…” because if you cannot finish that sentence then you should not be making the phone call.

My personal cadence for every call is: “Thanks for taking my call. Do you have a few moments? The reason for my call today is….”

My recommendation is to use this for every single phone call you make. If you do, I promise your calls will be more direct, you’ll get people’s attention, and they’ll be engaged in the conversation far more often. Just make sure you have a good reason.

Make it happen!


Need my take on your introduction strategy? Hitting roadblocks on your calls? Join me every Monday at 12:30 EST on Facebook Live for my new, video question and answer sessions.