One young rep couldn’t engage his prospects.

He asked me to assess his opening which began, “I’m sorry for interrupting.  Is this a bad time?”

Here’s my response:

You only get 10 seconds to engage your prospect.  Don’t waste it.

First, don’t apologize.  If you’re really sorry, don’t call.

Second, don’t ask if it’s a bad time.  Everyone’s busy all day long.  This is as good a time as any.

Yes.  You feel guilty about interrupting.

It’s a natural human response.

You don’t like being interrupted, so you feel guilty about interrupting others.

But who benefits from your guilt?  Not you.  Not your prospect.

Instead, why don’t you just be honest and admit the truth:

  1. You want to help people
  2. Your products help people
  3. You want to make a sale

Instead, if you really respect people’s time, don’t apologize.  Just get to the point.

Try this opening instead:

You: “Hello Sue?”

Sue: “Yes”


  • “This is Joe from Acme. We haven’t met.”  (Stops them from wondering who you are)
  • “I’m calling because (legitimate business reason)”  (Stops them from wondering why you are calling)
  • “I know this is an interruption, so I can explain what we do in 29 seconds. OK?”  (Acknowledges they are busy, asks for something easy, gives them control)

Sue: “OK.”


  • Awesome 29 second pitch full of insight, value, clarity and social proof.
  • “Does this in general sound interesting to you?”

Sue: “Yes” or “No”

Whatever the answer, deal with it.

At least you’ve opened the conversation in an honest, concise, respectful way.

Try it and let me know how it goes.

What else?  What other cold calling tips do you have?

Happy Selling!

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