Softening Statements to Get Prospects Talking

One of the objections I always get from sales people who don’t want to use scripts is that they sound so, well, like scripts. I tell them that if they sound like they are reading them, sure, but if they internalize them and then deliver them naturally, then they don’t sound like scripts at all.

The other objection I get about using scripts is that many scripts sound very salesy. They sound too direct and pushy. Again, it’s all about how you deliver them. For example, are you matching the pacing of the person you’re speaking with? Are you using timing properly? Are you hesitating and adding the right inflection at the right time?

You see, the great thing about scripts is that they afford you greater flexibility in not only what you’re going to say, but, more importantly, how you say it. And let’s face it: inflection, pacing and tone are everything when you’re selling over the phone.

The other great thing about a carefully crafted and delivered script is that you can use softening statements if you sense your prospect is getting irritated or short or is in a hurry. If you have to ask for some sensitive information – like who your competition is, or what their budget is, or how they figure into the decision making process – you can preface your question with a softening statement to help bring the defenses of a prospect down, and to make yourself sound more natural, more real.

Here are a variety of softening statements you can weave into your opening and closing scripts to help you connect with your prospect and to get them talking:

For opening scripts:

“If you don’t mind me asking, can you tell me what you paid for that previously?”


“And _________, obviously you’re going to run this by others there – do you mind me asking how you figure into the final decision process?”


“ _________, don’t take this the wrong way – and I’m only wanting to know for comparison purposes – but when you got (X product or service) last time, what did you end up paying for that?”


“ _________, the only reason I’m asking is that if you purchase (more than the normal amount or add on to the order) then I may be able to offer you a discount. Hey, we all like to save money, right?”


“ __________, I don’t want to go above your head, but I also don’t think it’s fair for you to do my job for me – so do you mind if I ask if it’s O.K. to speak with (the boss) briefly and answer any questions he has?”


“ _________, do you mind if I ask you just a couple of quick questions to see whether or not this might be a fit for you?”


“I promise I won’t take a lot of your time – I know you’re busy. Can I ask how long you’ve….”


“I don’t know about you – but I usually hate talking to sales people I don’t know…..Just so I can be respectful of your time, do you mind if I ask you….”


“ __________, you and I haven’t spoken yet, and I hate to barge into your day, so do you mind if I take just 2 minutes to see if this is something you’d like to learn more about?”

For Closing Calls:

“Before I show you all the in’s and out’s of this, do you mind if I ask you again: what specifically are you hoping to learn today?”


“Our price for this is $_____ — do you mind if I ask how that compares with what you’re spending now for all this?”


“ __________, I know you want to think about this and that makes perfect sense. Do you mind if I just get an idea of what part of this is not resonating with you right now?”


“ __________, please don’t think I’m being too forward here – but after we’re done and you’ve learned everything about this, is it fair that I ask you for a simple yes or no?”


“ _________, would you mind if I asked you: ‘If the price on this was closer to what you felt comfortable spending, would this be the solution you’d want to go with?’”


“I totally understand, believe me I do. In addition to that, though, what else might be standing in the way of you saying yes to this?”


“Hey I get it – you have options and you want to talk to others. But let me ask you: from what we’ve just gone over and from what you understand about this – are we even in the ballpark for earning some of your business?”


“ __________ if at any time this isn’t sounding like it’s for you – would you be willing to let me know?”


“ __________ what I don’t want to do is talk your ear off. So do me a favor – if you’ve heard enough and it sounds like it’s for you – would you let me know?”


“ __________ do you mind me asking why you’re still considering other companies for this?”


“ ___________ I know you have a lot of options out there – would it be O.K. for me to ask you what the deciding factors will be for you?”


“ __________ you know we’re not for everyone, and if we’re not for you that’s O.K., Obviously, I’d like your business, but I’d rather do what you think is right for you. Do you mind telling me what you’re really thinking about right now?”


“Is there anything I can say or do to get you to reconsider?”


“ _________ I know we’re not the cheapest option out there – and there are reasons for that – but is it just the price on this or are there others things keeping you from saying yes to this?”


“I know I’ve given you a lot of information on this – could you give me an indication of where you’re leaning?”

As you can see, many of these responses are down to earth and real world responses – something you might say to a friend or family member. The more real you are, the more your prospects will feel it – and the more they’ll be honest with you and reveal what it might take for them to move forward with you.

The Proper Way to Handle a Call in Lead

 Call in leads can be tricky. Because reps often equate the implied interest of a call in to being “qualified,” they often skip some important steps. This can happen to all sales reps and even happened to me recently…

A CEO called me the other day and wanted to know more about the kind of training I offered. Before I gave him my menu of services, I did what I teach and asked him how he found me, what motivated him to reach out to me, what he was looking for, etc.

I listened carefully as he revealed, in a candid way, what was happening with his inside sales team and what he as hoping to accomplish.

After he was done, I went over how I could help him and carefully matched up my customized solutions to each of the points he brought up. After a pause, he told me he would think about it and reach back out to me.

Now, this is usually the time that I would qualify and close, but I was on vacation when this call took place and was more interested in getting back to the museum tour I was on than I was on closing the deal (I know, shame on me). But…

When I was back in the office the following Monday, I reached out to this prospect and picked right up where I left off.

Here are two ways of handling a call in lead (the first being what I should have done on the first call, and the second what I did on the next call the following Monday):

The proper way to handle the first call:

After first hearing your prospect out and then matching up your product or services to them, you should then begin qualifying and even closing using the following questions and statements:

“What is your timeline for getting this process started?”

[If “As soon as possible”]

“O.K. – Let me check my schedule: (or your delivery/install schedule, etc.), I see that I could have you on the calendar this coming Wednesday – does that work for you?”


“How does what I’ve described sound to you?”

[If “Sounds good”]

“Great – are you ready to put me to work for you today?”


“Who else have you looked at for this so far?”

[If “You’re the first” or “A couple of people”]

“How does our solution sound to you?”

[If “Sounds good”]

“Great – then let’s look at our calendars and pick a date to get started…”


“If this sounds good to you, are you in a position to get started today?”

[If “I’ll have to run this by (whomever)”]

“I understand. Does what we’ve just gone over sound good to you so far?”

[If “Yes”]

“O.K. Then let’s go ahead and schedule a time to speak with (whomever they mentioned) and that way I’ll be able to answer their questions as well…”

Do you see how I’m moving the call to either a close or setting up the next step? At each phase I’m taking their pulse and directing and keeping control of the call.

If you missed asking these questions on the first call, then here’s how you handle the call back:

“Hi this is ________ and I just wanted to get back with you regarding our last call. Now I know you were interested in (your service or product), and I don’t know if you’ve spoken to other companies or where you are in the process….”

[Now hit mute and listen…]


“Hi this is ________ and I wanted to get back with you regarding our last call. Now I know you were interested in (your service or product), and I wanted to know what your timeline for getting started with this is…”

[Now hit mute and listen…]

“Hi this is ________ and I wanted to get back with you regarding our last call. Now I know you were interested in (your service or product), and I wanted to know what other questions you might have are…”

[Now hit mute and listen…]

Based on what their answers are to the above questions, you can pick up where you left off last time and resume asking the questions from the first set listed above (direct and control the call towards the close).

Either way, just remember that when you receive a call in lead, you need to still qualify and close. And if you forget or get rushed off the phone, the key is to call back within a day or two. And when you do, take the call as far as you can using the scripts above.

Boost Your Sales by Using This One Word

Catchy title, huh? “Boost your sales using just this ONE word.” Wouldn’t it be nice if there was just one magic word that could really increase your sales?

There is…

Before I tell you what it is, though, let me give you a brief background on how I discovered it. Years ago as I was struggling to make sales, I found a bad pattern had developed in terms of how my sales attempts were ending up. After pitching and pitching, most of my sales were being stalled with some variation of:

“Let me think about it,”


“I’ll have to discuss this with my partner…”


“O.K., why don’t you get back with me in a few weeks…”

Sound familiar? It should. Most sales presentations end this way. After racking my brain for the reason, I finally began listening to how the top closers in my company were closing their sales. And how they were opening and qualifying their prospects as well.

Turns out they all were using one magic word. And the word was….


Or some variation of it when they were qualifying. And that’s when I started using it as well and it didn’t just boost my sales, it catapulted it! In fact, it had much more impact than that. It also greatly reduced the number of unqualified leads I sent out and spent hours of useless time with.

Here are some examples of how to use the word today in both your opening and closing statements.:

For qualifying you must qualify the prospect’s timeline and set the proper expectation for the close. At the end of your cold call and before you schedule your demo or send your information, you must ask something like this:

“So _________, I’ve got you on the calendar to do a walk-through of our solution next Wednesday, and if after we’re done you really like this, is it something that you can make a decision on at that time?”


“So _________, I look forward to our demo next Wednesday, and if after we’re done you really like this, I’m going to ask you for a simple yes or no, is that fair?”

Now in some situations if you’re dealing with an influencer, your question will be about what the next steps are, what the decision maker’s time frame is like, how many other companies they’re looking at, etc..

But if you are dealing with the owner or decision maker, you must get a firm commitment as to timeframe, ideally confirming a decision right after your pitch.

For closing calls, you use the magic word:

At the beginning of your presentation, before you go into your slide show or however you do it, you requalify by asking:

“I’m excited to show you this, and at the end if you feel this is the right solution for you, this is something you can move on today, right?”

That’s it. No wishy washy way around it. You must set a clear expectation right from the beginning (and that means on the qualifying call) and then reconfirm it at the beginning of the close.

I know what you’re thinking: “What if they say no?” Then you adjust your presentation to target their buying motive and start overcoming what their objection is. I’ve written many of scripts to help you do that, so check out my blog if you need them:

Bottom line: You will make more sales faster and with less struggle if you set the proper expectation on the front call and confirm it by opening your closing call using the magic word: today.

Try it today and see for yourself.