I am in sales and when I make a cold call I typically begin the conversation with, "I just wanted to..." Some common phrases are, "I just wanted to see if you might be interested..." or "I just wanted to follow up with you..." I hate this phrase as it shows a lack of confidence and it's not truthful. I want more than JUST to do something, I want to engage in a conversation so I feel disingenuous starting the conversation with this statement. Does anyone have any alternative ways of beginning these statements? Thanks!

  • "Are you interested in buying cheese?" "To follow up on our last conversation, our gruyere is in stock again." Say what you mean directly. Tell them as quickly as possible what you want them to do so they can say yes or no and get on with their lives.
    – jejorda2
    Feb 15, 2016 at 20:42
  • My personal bugaboo has to do with a salesperson starting a pitch with "I", because frankly, I'm not interested in what I can do for them but rather, what they're going to do for me. Tell (and show) me how their product is going to improve my life. Feb 15, 2016 at 21:17
  • 1
    Consider this: If "I just wanted to" is not immediately followed by "sell you something" then you're not being very honest.
    – Hot Licks
    Feb 15, 2016 at 22:27

1 Answer 1


There's an almost unending list of different words and phrases that you could start out with, and your potential clients will respond differently, and often unpredictably, to the various rephrasings you could try to use to your advantage.

My opinion is that you don't really need a replacement for such an expendable word (in that placement), but may have difficulty just dropping "just" without having something else to use there. If you wanted to, you could replace it with "really", "mainly", "primarily", or a whole slew of other adverbs. You could also restructure your approach.

As stated in comment above, you could just get straight to the point, as, "Would you be interested in obtaining a large metal drum today?", or "I've looked into that collection, and found ABC." or "I would like to know what you think about your recent purchase of that green striped barrel thingy.", or "How would you like to decrease your salary while losing your house?" You know, that kind of thing.

To clarify that you want to do more than simply ask one question, you could say, "To start with, I'd like to..." Unfortunately, however, it may be that you'll find people bringing the conversation to a rapid close when they get the impression that you have a lengthy agenda behind your brief address. In fact, I think that you probably have developed this habit as a result of, or in anticipation of, such - whether you realize it or not.

Whatever you say, please don't call me telling me that you'll fix something I don't even have, or make my car payment that doesn't exist; then I'll forgive your saying "just" all the time.

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