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May I have a minute of your time?

When phone prospecting and speaking with the desired person, is it beneficial to ask "May I have a minute of your time?" After introducing yourself and company and before going into your message?

I have recently been doing alot of phone prospecting, with not much luck and I am trying to improve my solicitation message.

Thanks, I look forward to you replies! - by tebanks
My recommendation is not to say, "May I have a moment of your time?" Instead, simply say what you have to say and make it succinct and to the point focusing on the value that your provide for customers.

Remember that telephone prospecting is a communication skill. And like any communication skill, it can be learned and improved upon. Educate yourself. Read books, attend teleseminars or live seminars, talk to colleagues, hire a coach... Do what ever it takes to gain the skills that you need. - by Wendy Weiss
I would be direct and compassionate at the same time. Introduce yourself, let them know the reason you're calling. That reason needs to be a compelling business reason.

For example, "Hi, I'm calling today to let you know about the many benefits of working with our company." is not a compelling business reason.

A compelling business reason would be more like, "Hi, I'm your next door neighbor and I'm calling to let you know that your house is on fire." Now would you use the above line, of course not. But, if you noticed something in the newspaper, trade publication, web or other newsworthy article that would be of extreme importance to the person, then I would tie that into the conversation.

For example, "I'm George Smith from the Error Recovery company. I noticed that your company XYZ has just discovered a huge error in your manufacturing process. Our service helps companies turn these types of errors into profitable outcomes. I would like to meet with you to discuss in more detail how we can help your company accomplish the same thing."

This approach requires you to do more homework upfront. If you're just dialing for dollars, your ratio of appointments per dial is going to be very low. If you use the approach above, you'll increase that ration significantly. As Wendy says this is communication that takes practice. - by gstebbins
First of all - remember - they don't have a clue who you are, what you do and there is ZERO relationship.

And I would bet - most people are either screening your call or not returning your voice-mail. Why? They are too busy, not interested or they are thinking about their next holiday!

So how do you cut through the proverbial cold-calling wasteland?

Don't do it.

Instead - hit the internet and do some research on WHO you might know that ALSO knows the person you want to connect with.

Ask for an introduction. Join the same associations as your target customers. Ask your current clients if anyone knows the individuals you want to connect to. Ask your new prospect if they would be interested in doing a mutual news release to the media regarding a topic where both of you could benefit. (This Sales Diva is a former media gal and I know how easy it is to get into the media!)

Worst case scenario? Say " Hi Bill - this is So and So from Blah and Blah, you don't know me, however I was referred to you/saw you in the paper/ etc. and I have an idea that I think would ie/save you money/double your profits/get you on TV (be creative!)

Get creative and make people curious!

Good Luck!

Kim Duke - by Kim Duke
When trying to secure an appointment with a prospect most of the focus should be on securing attention and interest. Nothing about your question, "May I have a minute of your time?", expresses that premise. - by justintime
I've coached sales professionals on prospecting skills for over 10 years and I've experimented with every possible type of introduction to a call. Here's what I've found: asking people for time will dramatically improve your results, but ONLY if you ask the right way.

I never ask a prospect a question like "Is this a bad time?" or "Did I catch you in the middle of something?" because this will usually end the conversation. Here are a few examples of a better approach:

"Hi John, this is (your name). I know you weren't expecting my call. Do you have a quick minute?"

"I was referred to you by _________. Do you have a minute?"

I'm speaking to a few people in your (chamber of commerce, association, etc.). Do you have a minute to talk?

I know this seems counter-inuitive. After all, won't everyone take the opportunity to tell you they DON'T have a minute? Surprisingly, 95% of people will grant you permission to talk and invite you into the conversation. Marketer Seth Godin calls this kind of approach "Permission Marketing." Think of this as Permission Selling.

There are a few key reasons why this approach works so well:
1. People are accustomed to being interrupted by salespeople. They appreciate someone who is different and respects their time.

2. The Law of Reciprocity: When you do someone a favor, they feel inclined to do a favor in return. In this case, you are respecting their time. To reciprocate, they will grant you a few minutes.

3. People are curious and want to hear why you are calling (most of the time).

Try this out for one or two days I'm confident you'll notice an immediate difference--your cold calls will suddenly feel a lot warmer. - by Jake Atwood
Always appreciate that when you are Prospecting, you have interrupted their day and no one likes you. The last thing you would want to ask is if you can "take" something from them. Instead you can briefly share one or more quick Benefits which gives them a reason to listen a little longer.

Have a "FANTA$TIC" Future!
Stan Billue, CSP - by Stan Billue
Instead of asking for a minute I have been successful saying, "Could I ask you a quick question?" then craft a question that will allow you both to see if the conversation should go any further. - by Eric Galuppo
First of all - remember - they don't have a clue who you are, what you do and there is ZERO relationship.

And I would bet - most people are either screening your call or not returning your voice-mail. Why? They are too busy, not interested or they are thinking about their next holiday!

So how do you cut through the proverbial cold-calling wasteland?


Don't do it.

This certainly won't get you any appointments that for sure. Everything you say is true, but nothing ventured nothing gained. A phone in my estimation is the one medium that is available, quick and actually useful.

We use the phone extensively to quite good use. We let people know who we are, what we do and that we would like their help in giving us their opinion of our products and service and could we please have a few minutes of their time to explore whether or not a program like ours would have a positive impact on their company.

A phone is a tool and today especially, we need to take advantage of all that is available to us.

In my opinion at least....

Much Aloha... shds;
- by rattus58
It is not what you do but how you say it. Definitely ask your new prospect or existing client if they are indisposed is important. If you don't, they will regard you as rude & insensitive to their time.

Remember these first critical seconds in your cold calling makes the determination if you will be successfull or not.

I like Mr. Atwoods approach, it's polite, it's direct & it doesn't allow the customer to control the conversation.

I wouldn't ask a customer "May I have a moment of your time", it's not direct enough

I also wouldn't ask a customer a "Quick question", withen the introduction process. My instinctive impulse is to get out of this conversation as quickly as possible. Might slide that question into the conversation a little later on as an open or closed probe.

Simply introducing yourself, Hi I am John from xyz company, I am calling about our new blah blah, I would like to tell you about it's features......Are you available to talk?, Do you have a minute or two to talk?., Can I have a minute or two of your time?.

The key here is being direct, respectful, & not trying to trick the customer into moveing forward.

j.p.o - by DIAMONDSTAR
I never ask for a minute of their time I ask is this a good time. If not I ask for a time that is good for them and I call at that time. The majority of times they say this is a fine time. - by rich34232
Two things that we do when calling is asking if this is a good time and we ask for an appointment. When we ask for an appointment we ask for no more time than it would take to drink a cup of coffee.

Aloha.... shds; - by rattus58
mmmmmmm

This i an awesome topic, great replies and alot of help being given :-)

You have to be different to the rest of the callers and ask permission for their time.

All of my people have an aresenal of angles to iniate the call, unique phrases that arouse interest.

By asking for their help.............., if you can bend their ear for minute..........., a referral said you might be able to help......etc.. - by PiJiL
Tebanks

Jakes recommendations look good. I've always had the view point that when you call anyone on the phone, you don't actually know what they're doing at that moment in time. So 'taking the curse off of the call' as we call it, is a pretty effective thing to do, it shows that you're thinking of the prospect and not yourself. - by marky
I would use:

Feel free to say no at any time and I will hang up, but can I take 30 seconds to tell you why I am calling, then YOU decide if I keep going? Is that fair?

Yes - : )
No - Bad candidate. - by OneLead Guy
A compelling business reason would be more like, "Hi, I'm your next door neighbor and I'm calling to let you know that your house is on fire." Now would you use the above line, of course not. But, if you noticed something in the newspaper, trade publication, web or other newsworthy article that would be of extreme importance to the person, then I would tie that into the conversation. - by cocosan
I'd ask for ten seconds rather than a minute.

When a suspect answers my phone call I all ways ask:

"my name is some guy with acme rockets, I was hoping I could have a quick ten seconds to [explain why I'm calling/ask a question]"

98% repose rate is stunned silence followed by "yes" - by curins
When phone prospecting and speaking with the desired person, is it beneficial to ask "May I have a minute of your time?" After introducing yourself and company and before going into your message?
I don't think it is beneficial at all and I think your attention getting message/question should come before introducing yourself and your company. - by Seth
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