On a recent sales training course, the group were asked to do some role playing of telephone sales. I have to say the results were quite pitiful. All of the opening statements started something like this:
Hi my name is Paul and I want to introduce myself and my product to you. My reason for calling is to tell you what the secret is to a better water system. We have been in business for x amount of years and supply........
Now in all honesty we have all heard these types of opening statements before but have we ever taken the time to listen to what the sales person is saying? Probably not, why would we?
Answer me this, why would a person stay on the line to listen to you talk about you and your company? They simply would not. So what is the ideal opening statement?
Well another question that you should not ask is whether they will buy or look into your product. For example, you would hardly walk up to a woman in a bar and ask her if she will marry you. You would go through the process and when you feel the time is right then you would pop the question.
The ones I love on sales training courses are the ones when enough work was not put into the first initial call and then it leaves you with no real opening for the second call, so people say things like 'did you receive the information I sent you? "I am just wondering if you have read it" or" I am just wondering if you have given it further thought" or "did you receive the brochure" there are a million and one excuses that a prospective client will come up with as to why they have not looked into it any further but the truth is because your first call was not effective enough.
When we look logically it is easy to see that these are not effective opening statements but we all do it because we don't know what else to say or we do not want to sound too pushy.
A strategy that is used in sales training courses is to put the client into a receptive positive frame of mind because when some one is called up they are always preoccupied in something else so you need them to be thinking positively toward you in order for them to give you their time.
Once you have their attention the next trick is to get them to stay on the line by giving them a reason to. The person wants to know who you are, why you are calling and what is in it for them, short but sweet.
Always remember WIIFM what's in it for me, if the prospect can not see any benefit to them in your opening statement they will not listen
The statement needs to touch their emotion of feeling that they are the most important person at that minute. One way that you can do this is to know something about them before hand by researching their business and what area they are working in.
What is your organisations differential advantage? Use this as a benefit by gaining their interests. Identify yourself and the company and use your first and last name then add your speciality that has been tailored to their needs that you will know by researching.
It is known on sales training courses that to get a better, more effective response you should use words such as might, maybe, perhaps and depending on, in your opening statement so that it is not coming on to strong. For example "whether or not we will be able to help you I don't know, but that is the reason for the call". These are referred to in sales training as weasel type words
Let us now go back to Pauls opening statement regarding his company and the water supply, surely he would have had a better chance if his opening statement said something like, we understand from the research carried out that you currently use x amount of water, now depending on how you use y there may just be a possibility that we can save you ABC, I can't guarantee it until we check it out, but if we could save you ABC would you like us to check this for you??
I am not saying the above is perfect as I have just written it down form the top of my head without any real thought, but it has to have a greater chance than the original introduction?
When you are making your follow up calls never take advantage of your customer. Always have something new or different to offer them. If you can not think of anything then I have found through sales training courses that a brainstorming competition session could get those ideas burning.
Remember that the customers want to be given a reason as to why they should stay talking and would be interested in the call. It is all about them for those few minutes it is not about you. Remember the saying that is often used on sales training courses people don't care how much you know, till they know how much you care.