2 Questions Every Sales Rep Should Ask Themselves Before Picking Up the Phone

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Jeff Hoffman
Jeff Hoffman




When sales reps are prospecting, they often get wrapped up in their inner dialogue:

  • How should I phrase my value proposition to get it just right?
  • Is my elevator pitch up-to-date?
  • What objections am I likely to hear, and how will I handle them?
  • How am I going to build rapport with this contact?

In sales, it’s never a good idea to get too deep into your own head, but it’s particularly dangerous when prospecting. By obsessing over what they’re going to say and how they’re going to say it, sales reps often forget that the entire focus of a sales call is on the buyer -- not the seller.

To bring the focus back where it belongs, I advise reps to ask themselves the following two questions before they pick up the phone: 

  1. Why you?
  2. Why you now? 

These questions might seem simple, but they hold the potential to dramatically change your prospecting approach -- and results. 

Let’s dissect the first question. Another way of thinking about “Why you?” is “Why are you reaching out to this particular person as opposed to somebody (anybody) else in the organization?” If you don’t have a compelling reason, it’s time to go back to the drawing board.

And to be clear, the fact that the contact has a certain title does not qualify as a compelling reason. Behavior that indicates the person might be interested in your product or service does. (If you’re not following your prospects on social media, it’s time to start.)

The second question has to do with timing. Why are you calling this particular person now -- as opposed to last week, next month, or any other time?

The fact that you prefer to do your prospecting on Tuesdays is not a good reason. A trigger event that just happened in the prospect’s world that creates a need for your product or service is. (Never used Google Alerts? Never a better time to set them up.)

The one idea I always try to impart to sales reps seeking to improve their prospecting skills is that above all else, people want to be heard. Buyers aren’t dumb. They know when they’re just a name on your list. By researching prospects thoroughly before you reach out to them and making sure you have a dynamite answer to both of the questions above, you make it clear that you’re interested in them as a person and what they have to say. And that’s what good selling is all about. 

Ready to take your approach to prospecting to the next level? Come see Jeff live for his award-winning Why You? Why You Now?™ ½ day public workshops.

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