How to Grab a Prospect’s Attention on the First Call

You are about to pick up the phone and make a prospecting call.

You’ve done just enough research on the prospect to understand what they do, and who some of their customers are. And, you are painfully aware you only have seconds to capture their attention.

So what should you say? Should you make a startling statement? Should you ask a provocative question?

Here are the 6 components of an attention getting, “genuine” opening statement that is highly effective in quickly building credibility:


State the prospects name, your name, and the type of organizations you work with and the “business value” you provide. (No need to state your company name at this point.)


Ask permission to discuss this with him or her for just a “moment”.


When they say “yes” thank them.


Briefly state the frustration that other business people experience when they don’t have control of this particular situation.


Ask if they are experiencing similar challenges.


Ask if they are open to discussing it with you.

Here is the opening statement that I use with excellent results when calling on Insurance Carriers and Agencies:

Bill, my name is Duane Cashin and I work with insurance carriers and agencies to help their producers be more productive primarily in the area of prospecting.

May I discuss this with you for a moment?

Thank you.

Many of the executive leaders I speak with express frustration with getting a higher number of agents at or over plan. I’m wondering if you have a similar concern and would you be open to discussing it?

This opening statement works because it is respectful of the prospect, it’s short and it’s real.

It’s real because my research has shown that the number one concern regarding insurance agents is getting a higher percentage of them at or over their sales objective. Therefore I am certain that when I say: “I work with insurance carriers and agencies to help their producers be more productive primarily in the area of prospecting” my chances of capturing the prospects attention are extremely high. Likewise when I say: “Many of the executive leaders I speak with express frustration with getting a higher number of agents at or over plan” I know that in their mind they are thinking: “Yeah, me too.”

Now their curiosity is peaked and I just bought myself another block of time. Instinctively they are drawn into the conversation and are willing to spend some more time with me to see if I can continue to make “sense” as it relates to their world and situation.

The key to this opening statement’s effectiveness are the following 4 facts:


The first sentence is critical. For this example let’s use manufacturers. When you say “I work with “manufacturers” to help their ______________ be more ________________ primarily in the area of _______________ , you must be absolutely positive that these blanks are filled with challenges, frustrations and objectives that you know for a fact that manufactures in their niche experience. When you hit those targets you will quickly capture attention.


In the second sentence where you ask “permission” to discuss this with them, you earn credibility. Establishing credibility is key, so when you ask if they would be willing to discuss this further with you they are comfortable in saying “yes”.


When you ask permission and follow it up with a respectful “Thank You” you continue to build credibility and differentiate yourself. At this point they realize you are not the run of the mill sales person who is likely to launch into a “product pitch”, and that’s a good thing.


In the final paragraph you connect with one of their frustrations. And this connection, combined with the credibility you have established in the previous three sentences, significantly increases the odds that when you ask: “would you be open to discussing it?” they will say “yes”.

Your opening statement must cut to the chase and be brief. It must allow the prospect to opt out early if they so desire and, most importantly, it must be “business real”.

I encourage you to take this format and fill in the blanks with your own words. Give it a try; you’ll be glad you did!

Duane Cashin

Duane Cashin

Duane Cashin has an extraordinary range of experience. In addition to leading award winning sales organizations in several Fortune 500 companies, and earning membership in both Presidents Club and Circle of Excellence, Duane founded and built a multi-million dollar wide format/grand format printing company that served clients including the NFL, the Winter Olympics, Radio City Music Hall, MTV Studios, and Rockefeller Center.

Duane has decades of experience across multiple industries and with companies of all sizes and uses real life experiences and examples to illustrate his points. In his presentation he will share the strategies and insights he uses to get in front of and close business with decision makers at companies like LEGO, Mass Mutual, Sprint, AAA Insurance, Liberty Mutual as well as dozens of small privately held companies.