The Needs have It ... When I was a marketing Guru the word I often heard on sales calls is "needs," as in, "What are your needs ...?" "Tell me about your needs in the area of ___." "I'd like to find out about your needs regarding ..." "We can fill your ___ needs."
For the most part, these phrases are useless to you, and might contribute to resistance. The reasoning is that if you hit someone with a vague question like, "What are your needs?", and they are not thinking about their needs at that very moment, what are you likely to hear? "Uh, we're satisfied with what we have," or, "We're doing fine where we are."
Bottom line, you will not get them talking about something they haven't thought of, or aren't thinking about at that second. As an alternative, frame a question around a need they likely have ... a question that helps them visualize and feel the need you can fill.
Don't force them to come up with the possible need on their own, you paint it for them, then ask them to react to it. For example, "Tell me about your ordering process, and how many different vendors you usually need to contact to find the parts you want."
IS THIS A SALES CALL? A question we probably all hear on occasion is, "Is this a sales call?" It typically comes from screeners looking to weed out sales reps who will just waste the boss' time. Here's a good response I heard while monitoring calls: "I don't know yet; If there's a fit for what we have, it might be. Otherwise, no. I specialize in working with I.T. managers, helping them reduce their workload and headaches regarding keeping track of the software they have installed on their machines. I'd like to ask Ms. Collins a few questions to see if we have the basis for further conversation."
GIVE YOUR NUMBER TWICE One of life's little voice mail annoyances is having to play a message back to write down a phone number. Do this: say your number twice ... once at the beginning of the message, then again at the end. You might even say, "Here's my number, 555-902-5594. I'll repeat it again at the end. The reason for calling is ..."