STOP Using These Tired Methods When Opening Your Sales Interactions

Written by Sean McPheat | Linkedin thumb

Perception in everythingThe initial interaction with the buyer is one of the most critical parts of the sales process.

This session establishes the ‘primary perception’ of you by the buyer.

It builds your credibility and trustworthiness, and allows you an easier passage through the process.

Some research suggests that you have between 15 and 30 seconds to establish that perception, either positively or negatively.

Will they trust you or not?

Will they be willing to listen to your ideas or not?

The most common ways of starting the sales interaction have been around for many years.

Go over this checklist and see if you use any or some of these techniques:

Opening With Small Talk

That’s a lovely picture. Are they your children?

Reference To Your Product Or Service

You may have seen our products on the net…

Claim To A Benefit

We have seen business’s expenses reduce by up to 25% with this product.

Provocative Question

If I could show you how to increase productivity by over 20%, you’d be interested, yes?

Company Reference

We’re the oldest company still producing these products in the area.

Quality Claim

This product has received the highest ratings on review sites.

Have you used one, some or all?

Here’s some news: each one of these elicits either negative or neutral responses from buyers.

Why? Because they’ve heard them all before, and they smack off pushy salespeople trying to ingratiate themselves into their customers’ businesses.

William T. Brooks and Tom Travisano have researched what makes a customer switch off immediately, and these six are at the top of their researched list.

In fact, they say that unsolicited small talk turns off 95% of buyers!

So what would be a better way to open the sale?

We suggest starting with an intention statement and then following it up with a positive bonding statement.

It sounds something like this, after the introductions:

“Mr customer, I’d like to use this opportunity to determine if there’s any way myself and my company might be of service to you and your business. Is that OK?”

It’s a softer opening and gains agreement immediately.

Then follow up with something like:

“Our ultimate goal is to help your business improve it’s sales and productivity. To do that, is it ok if I ask a few questions to get us going?”

This creates a positive, productive tone to the meeting.

You haven’t talked about your product or service; instead, you’ve created reasons why it would make sense for the buyer to discuss with you.

And you’ve gained permission to find out information.

This positive perception can then be used to drive the conversation forward and allow you to progress most effectively and efficiently.

In summary, to create this positive, primary perception, you do four things:

  • Tell the buyer why you’re there
  • Tell them you want to help their business
  • Gain permission to ask questions and
  • Get agreement to continue

That should create a firm foundation for building your knowledge of their situation through questioning.

Happy Selling!


Sean McPheat

Sean McPheat
Managing Director

MTD Sales Training | Image courtesy of Dollarphotoclub

450 sales questions free report

Originally published: 20 April, 2017

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