However, one of the chapters is entitled 'My Favourite Sales Call Question Of All Time'. He describes opening questions such as 'how are you doing today?' as irritating and meaningless. I agree.
Instead, he believes the best opener is: 'Did I catch you at a bad time?'. Again, I agree it is a good question as it demonstrates respect for the person you are calling, and implies you are aware they are busy people too. It is likely to make the recipient of the call less defensive and more receptive to continuing the conversation.
Where the author and I disagree is his insistence that the question should be 'Did I catch you at a bad time?' rather than 'Did I catch you at a good time?'. The author says it is never a good time for busy people. I disagree.
I believe both terms can be used but they are best used when they are selected intelligently based on the information you have. If the person taking the call answers their phone in a cheery fashion, mirror the mood and ask if it is a good time to talk. If the person appears to snatch up the receiver, answers abruptly and quickly there is a good chance they could be stressed, in a hurry or just in a bad mood. In this instance I would suggest the 'bad time' question is more appropriate.
Experiment and see what works best, but always treat people you are calling with courtesy and respect. If you forget those basics, no matter what your opening question is, I can guarantee the call won't last long.