I still answer the phone. Even when a caller ID shows a number I don’t have saved or don’t recognize, I’ll usually answer it. You never know. The caller might be… 

  1. The emergency room.
  2. My wife calling from the coffee shop with a dead phone battery and no charger.
  3. A publisher’s clearing house calling to confirm my address so they can send me $5M.
  4. A Sales Development Rep calling to tell me they can solve a problem that I care about!

Let’s face it. It’s probably the “IRS” and for some reason they need my social security number. Still, I answer, if I can, every time. While being available for my family is the main reason for this practice…I am always secretly hoping for that sales person who just so happens to have a magic solution that will solve a problem that I care about, and yes, the $5M too.

I spent a few years cold calling before transitioning to sales operations. Therefore, I have more empathy than most for this person. I find the experience of being sold fascinating. On one hand, this person may be able to help me. On the other hand, this person is about to get a shot, after maybe 50 or 100 hangups, and I get to see them perform. Taking a cold call is a whole different experience If you have been on the other end of that phone. 

When I do answer the phone, please cut to the chase and try to get us both off the phone as quick as possible. 

“Hi Chris. I know you are busy. I am a sales person but I like to think of myself as someone that solves problems. My name is “First Name Last Name” and I work for “Company”. I have an email queued to send you with all our stuff. May I please have about 30 seconds of your time before sending it?”

If I say “no,” just hang up and send the email and try again the next day. If I say “yes”, then say this next:

“Great. ‘Insert Elevator Pitch.’” Does our solution sound like it might help you solve a problem you care about?”

If I say “no,” just hang up and send the email. Call again in 2-3 months. Priorities change every quarter. If I say “yes”, then schedule the meeting. 

Thanks for reading.


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