“How are you today?” Use it or Ditch it?

How do you open your calls?

Do you ask, “How are you today?” or do you use a different opening?

There was a time when I was against using the worn-out opening of, “How are you today?” and provided a slew of different options—all of which had their place, and some of which I still use, on occasion, today.

But after years of cold calling (and calling clients back), I have found that I revert back to this standard opening again and again. And here’s why:

  1. While I used to think it signals that a sales call is coming, what I’ve discovered is that people are so used to hearing—and answering—this question, they don’t really register it. Instead, they just respond.
  2. (And here is the key): The real use of this question is to gage carefully the receptiveness of your prospect and then to respond accordingly.

Let’s dive into #2 a bit more. If you make calls for a living, then you know you can tell exactly what kind of mood a prospect is in simply by listening to how they answer the question, “How are you today?”

You can tell by their tone of voice if they are annoyed at being interrupted; or are bored and happy to have the interruption; are receptive to speaking with you; are not receptive; are in a good mood; are not in a good mood; will engage with you, and even ask how you are in return; are not interested in engaging, etc.

The reason this opening is so important is that it gives you instant feedback as to your prospect’s state of mind—and willingness to engage with you.

Second, because this is inside sales, and you can’t see your prospect’s face, you need this feedback so you know how to respond.

So, while some may think this is a worn out opening that signals a sales call (and, yes, I used to feel that way), I now know it is the most efficient opening to use—if you’re willing to truly listen and respond to your prospect’s mood. For example:

If you hear irritation or a rushed attitude, simply preface your next statement with, “I’m sure you’re busy, so I’ll be brief…”

If they ask you how you are doing, always, start with, “Thanks for asking! I’m doing well also. Is it still hot out there?” And engage a bit and build rapport…

Bottom line, there is a lot in an opening line, and “How are you today?” will give you a ton of feedback—if you’re willing to listen carefully to not only the response you get, but to how that response is given.

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