I know the title may sound a little odd but it means exactly what it says.   The way most of us tend to make business calls is completely backwards in terms of productivity. This applies as much to other business calls – not just sales but I am specifically addressing sales calls here.  It will create happier clients which ultimately will earn you more money.

The good news is that it’s an easy fix.

When we first meet a client we put a great deal of effort into building a relationship which includes getting to know them as people – not just clients.  This is a good thing.  We learn things about each other such as hobbies, family and a host of other things.  They don’t necessarily become close friends but they do become more than strangers.

So in addition to business stuff our phone calls usually include some kind of non business chit-chat. You know, asking how they enjoyed their recent holiday trip – or they ask us about ours.

There’s nothing wrong with doing that. It helps to continue to build our relationship – but we do it backwards.

Here it is.

When a client calls us, or we call him our natural instinct is to begin the call with something social. You need to invert this. Talk business first and then chit-chat.

Does this sound typical.


SAM:  Hi – this is Sam Salesguy

CHARLIE:  Sam – how you doing? It’s Charlie Client

SAM:  Charlie – you old dog, glad to hear from you.  You calling from your boat? (chuckle)

CHARLIE:  (return chuckle) Nah – not today. Last weekend though we went out for marlin – and man were they biting……..

After they chat for a few minutes Sam will bring the conversation around to the subject at hand and ask Charlie what it is that he can do for him today.  Charlie fills him in on what he need. Sam gets off the phone and does what Charlie needs.

All good, right?

Well…. Maybe….  or does the conversation below sometimes happen. Let’s go back to the exchange above and tune in a few minutes later when the guys were finishing up the social conversation and got into the business piece…….
SAM: So what’s up.  How may I have the pleasure of serving you today?

CHARLIE: Well the thing is, I was just out it in the back room and it looks like my guy screwed up.  There’s a couple of things that should have been ordered like a week ago.  He’s putting together a PO but in the meantime I was hoping you could help me out by expediting a couple of things and see if they can get them out today – overnight.

SAM: Hey – this stuff happens.  I’ll check it out right away and see what I can I do. Shouldn’t be a problem but I don’t like to promise anything until I get all the facts. What do you need?

CHARLIE:  OK – let me look at this list and make sure I give you the right item numbers — Ohhh – hang on.  Sorry to do this but I have another call coming in that I HAVE to take.  I’ll give you a call back in 30 minutes.

SAM: No problem. I do have a meeting in about 15. If you get my voice mail, just leave me a message – or can you email me the details.

CHARLIE:  I will. Gotta go.

So – as per Murphy’s Law, Charlie doesn’t send email and he calls back about 3 hours later when Charlie is out on a sales call. By the time they connect again it’s the next day, which is a Friday and Charlie’s needs don’t get met until the following week.

Here’s an alternate way to handle the call. (Don’t worry – this is just three lines.)

SAM:  Hi – this is Sam Salesguy

CHARLIE:  Sam – how you doing? It’s Charlie Client

SAM:  Charlie – you old dog, glad to hear from you.  Hey listen I need to catch up with you on your boating escapades but I doubt that’s why you called.  First things first.  How may I have the pleasure of serving you today?


Posted on August 7, 2010, in Customer Service, Executive Sales, Inside Sales, Productivity, Sales and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: