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The Golden Minute


We sometimes use the term ‘The Golden Minute’ which is the 60 seconds (maximum) during which we have to overcome inbuilt reluctance and natural resistance to taking a ‘cold call’

It is too often the difference between a successful and unsuccessful campaign, and it is probably the area where we come closest to ‘scripting‘ a call. It’s so important, that we have compiled a list of what we think are the dos and don’ts of that, potentially golden, minute…


It goes without saying that the message has to be brief. It is worth a couple of people reviewing and testing this.

Why would the prospect want to continue this call? They may have never heard of you or your product, so what will make them want to keep listening? We generally say there needs to be a ‘hook’ or ‘differentiator’ what, in old fashioned terms, might be called a Unique Selling Point.

Tell them why you are calling
It is useful to let people know it’s a ‘sales qualification’ call and that you probably need to talk to them for 60-90 seconds. Do this politely and people will be more inclined to agree. Having done a fair amount of calling myself, I tend to say “Sorry to disturb you, I am calling about a product that I think could be of benefit to your business. I have a couple of questions that could determine this, which shouldn’t take more than a minute/minute and a half”.

From time to time when I am calling, I even say “this is a sales call”, which generally disarms people and even makes them laugh in surprise, but I wouldn’t necessarily recommend this…

Benefits, not Features
You haven’t got time to tell them everything the product does, only time to tell them what great things it will do for their company. When you break through the minute barrier, they will have committed to hearing how it actually works but, launching into a detailed description in the call opening, is a sure way to turn people off.

Slow Down
This one is a bit counter-intuitive, haven’t we only got 60 seconds after all? Actually a calm assured voice will give people listening more assurance, as you will sound confident. Someone who knows their brief, talking at super speed and talking in an excitable tone suggests overzealousness, desperation (or both).


Don’t (PLEASE!) say “How are you today?”
It is a sure sign that you are in some sort of ‘sales-coached’ environment and are likely to involve them in an unwanted conversation, and of course, you are wasting precious seconds of your Golden Minute. Politeness is great, meaningless enquiries about the health of someone you don’t know, are not.

Don’t ‘hector’
When extolling the virtues of your product, you must stop short of implying that it is for everybody, or that you are stupid if you can’t see the benefits. It is easy to get carried away by your own spiel but, nearly always fatal to the call.

Don’t get overfamiliar
It is our view that you should NOT start using the person’s Christian name or, worse still, (and I have had both) abbreviate the person’s name, call them ‘mate’, or something similar, unless invited to do so.

DON’T sound scripted
Using a script is another warning sign for your prospect. Even with a very refined script and carefully chosen words, speech has a natural cadence and rhythm and scripted language will sound forced or unnatural.

Stay polite
It’s a myth that you get a lot of rudeness when telemarketing but some people may show irritation or impatience. After all, you may have called them at an inconvenient or busy time and - surprise, surprise - they haven’t been waiting around for your call. If you maintain your professional attitude and stick to the DOs above, you will get a second chance with many of these people.

To quote the UK’s best loved poem,

If you can fill the unforgiving minute

With sixty seconds' worth of distance run,

Yours is the Earth and everything that's in it

Unforgiving minute is the perfect phrase to describe the opening of a telemarketing call…

As Kipling suggests, making the most of that minute is critical, and the same applies to the start of every call - make yours a Golden Minute.

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