Avoid This Lie In Your Opening

in Opening Statements

I received this note on my Facebook Fan Page http://www.facebook.com/ArtSobczak from Darrell Potie a while ago.

"Hey Art, maybe you could blog a little on using the phrase, ‘this is not a sales call’ when trying to set appointments. As a salesperson I think that’s dishonest- – you were always shooting for an opportunity. I prefer something more like,

‘Even though I am in sales, the purpose of the meeting is to talk about new developments in the X industry and see if that aligns well with plans you may have.’"

Yes, I agree totally, and in fact, it is just one of the many opening statement mistakes we point out in Smart Calling. And I have done a Tip on this in the past. I dug through the archives and will reprint it here for you.


Avoid This Lie In Your Opening
The call I received a few days ago reminded me of an old joke:

The sales rep reached his targeted decision maker by phone. Even before he could finish introducing his name and company, the gruff executive said,

"Are you a salesperson?"

The caller responded,

"Well, according to my manager, not a very good one."

The rep on my call used a technique I’m hearing every so often on prospecting calls, and I think it’s ridiculous.

He stated his name and company, then said,

"I’m not trying to sell you anything."

Immediately that branded him as a liar in my mind

Sure, maybe he wasn’t going to sell me anything that day (or any day, for that matter) But of course, his ultimate intent IS to sell. Therefore, I look at that technique as a lie. And a waste of time that could be invested in moving the sales process forward, while not alienating a prospect who sees through the deception.

For defenders of this technique, save your emails, I don’t want to see them. I’ve heard all the arguments for using this…

…it puts the other person at ease, it lets them know you’re not going to give them a pitch, and it positions you as more of an information-gatherer instead of a one-call close salesperson.


It’s a waste of words. And it unnecessarily limits you on calls.

We have just a few seconds to say something of potential value in the first 10 seconds of a Smart prospecting call. Get right to the point, state the possible value you might be able to deliver, of course using the Smart intelligence you have gathered to personalize and customize the opening, and then let them know you’d like to ask a few questions to determine if you have the basis for further conversation.

If you begin calls saying you’re not going to sell anything, that will usually be your end result.

And by the way, this is also just one of the 23 mistakes made in opening statements on prospecting calls that I cover in my new book, "Smart Calling-Elminate the Fear, Failure, and Rejection from Cold Calling."

We’re still offering over $450 worth of free bonuses to purchasers. See complete information, including a video of more opening mistakes at http://www.smart-calling.com/launch.html

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Frank Napier October 28, 2010 at 10:24 am

Hello Art,

I always start off all my calls asking, “Did I catch you at a good time?”.

Eight percent of the time they will say yes but of the other 20% will say they are “very busy it isn’t a good time but what can I do for you?” Surprisingly I get a discussion anyway and the call (regardless of whether I get a lead or not) ends positively.

Most people I know in the industry feel it is a lousy opener but it works 99.9% of the time for me.

What are your thoughts?


Frank W. Napier
Direct: 416.690.8936


Sean McPheat October 29, 2010 at 8:23 am

“I’m not selling anything” is the biggest load of rubbish I’ve ever heard!

We’ve run tests recently where the re actually said “Yes, this is a sales call Jennifer” right up front and in 70% of the cases the recipient said how novel and honest the approach was and it built instant rapport and more appointments were made as a result.

Never lie in your openings.

You know it’s a sales call, they know it’s a sales call!

You can’t put lipstick on a pig….now who said that!?


Sean McPheat


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