One of the very few things I took away from Sanders Sales Institute (heavily promoted by Oracle back in the day) was the opening line for a call. The training picked up that people like to be contradictory in order to seem interesting. For the statement “McDonald’s has the BEST french fries”, if one responds “yes” they might seem more boring than if they said “well, actually, I made better french fries following the Modernist Cuisine cookbook.”
For thousands of cold calls, I started with the assumption that I’m interrupting someone who was not expecting my call and therefore, I was calling them at a bad time. My goal was to secure a better time to talk or to get their permission to call back. “Tomorrow at 4 PM… no problem. Talk then!” Even then, I’d ask “is this still a bad time?” Many times, they would say it’s a good time to talk. Great — we’re on the same side.
I’ve found this opening statement become second nature. I even use it when calling family. Synchronous communicating requires that both sides be on the same page when it comes to when to talk.