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"You Had Me At Hello" – 3 Effective Ways To Eliminate Your Competition During Your First Contact With A Prospect

Every sales person knows that to set yourself apart from your competition is a vital component of your sales process.

Although you may get many chances to do this during the sales process, the best time to differentiate yourself is in the very beginning. Here are three powerful ways to help you eliminate your competition so they could ultimately respond with “You had me at hello!”

#1. Response Time
While it seems that everyone invests enormous amounts of time and money on increasing web presence and traffic; not as many invest equal resources on responding to those enquiries. Those emails and incoming phone calls are critical and the time it takes to respond is as important, if not more so, than how you respond.

Take any measures necessary to respond instantly to web enquires. By instantly, I do not mean a few days later or even the next day. I am also not referring to an automated response saying that you received their enquiry. You need to contact that prospect with a personal telephone call or email within minutes or as soon as physically possible. Establish alert systems, forwarding avenues; do whatever you have to do. Hire a dedicated person to respond or to distribute enquiries to the appropriate sales person if needed.

Now, I know some of you are probably thinking, “Now, wait a minute, Sean…that can cost a fortune and we do very well with incoming leads.” Do you honestly know exactly what your enquiry-to-lead conversation rate is? Do you know exactly how many calls came in to the front desk and how many become bona-fide leads? Do you have actual data or are you guessing?

When you get that enquiry, chances are yours is not the only site that prospect hit, nor the only request for more information they submitted online. People have become used to waiting days or even weeks to hear from a real live person with answers to their questions. Respond instantly and with customised information not generic sales-brochure type rhetoric.

#2. Give Something
Now, in that instant response, or if this is an outgoing call or contact, give the prospect something first before you begin asking for business. By this, I mean you need to offer the prospect information, ideas and advice that are useful to them, and do so without the thought of receiving anything in return. Educate the prospect during that first contact. Help them.

#3. Become a Consultant and Advisor
During that first contact, you need to raise yourself to the level of a consultant who is a leader in their industry. To accomplish this successfully, you need to ask THE question. THE question is one for which the prospect has not yet thought of. You need to ask a question that shows the prospect that you understand their situation and problems even more than they do. You need to ask that question that the prospect cannot answer.

It is that question to where the prospect’s only response is something like, “Uh…um. I never thought about that. What do you think?” When this happens, you have become the advisor!

If you do not currently have several such questions that make the prospect dig deep; that uncover areas of problems and pain that the prospect is unaware…then you need go back to the drawing board and figure out a list of questions that help to unearth their true hot buttons. However, you cannot TELL. You must ASK.

Respond instantaneously.
Offer some free information or advice.
Ask a question that solidifies you as an expert and you will eliminate competition before they can compete!

Happy Selling!


Sean McPheat
MTD Sales Training

(Image by Chaiwat)

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Sean McPheat

Hi! I'm the founder and Managing Director of MTD Sales Training - we offer sales training solutions for companies both large and small. I'm blessed to work with 25 of the most talented trainers in the UK....well, I did recruit them! ;-) Today, we've delivered training in over 23 countries to over 2,500 different organisations and 50,000 staff. Our clients include Xerox, Friends Provident, Starbucks, Taylor Wimpey, CISCO, Allianz and Lloyds TSB to name but a few.

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One thought on “"You Had Me At Hello" – 3 Effective Ways To Eliminate Your Competition During Your First Contact With A Prospect”

  1. Good points – especially about responding immediately.

    Most people who use the web to find solutions to their problems want a resolution as soon as possible – so prospects usually broadcast their needs to a number of potential vendors.
    Responding right away allows you to tie up the prospects TIME such that they do not continue to solicit more vendors, and if you are able to convince the prospect that you are able to deliver an acceptable solution at a fair price, they will often shut down efforts to solicit other vendors.

    Likewise, waiting even a day to respond to a prospect means they’ve likely continued their search after initially contacting you, which increases the likelihood that they will find someone else who is ready to get started right away.

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