Use These 6 Opening Statements To Make Your Sales Interactions More Effective

Written by Sean McPheat | Linkedin thumb

Business people in a meeting roomLast time, we discussed how your ‘elevator speech’ could be full of mistakes and not do what it’s supposed to do, i.e. open your conversation effectively with a prospect.

We covered six of those mistakes and why they shouldn’t be used early on in your discussions.

Here, we cover how the elevator speech should actually be the foundation for a great discussion.

This is naturally just an example, so take the principles and apply them to your own individual circumstances:

“Hi, Mr Prospect, it’s a real pleasure to meet you/talk to you”

This is called a softener, and it eases you and the prospect into the next part of the conversation.

“I’m Fred Smith with ABC Widgets. Our company works with businesses like yours in the xxx industry”

Here, you’re simply stating facts that cannot be disputed, and makes it immediately applicable to the prospect because you’re talking about their industry.

“I’m here because we are introducing a new concept within the industry and the CEO of XYZ International has been trying it out for a couple of moths now.

He’s seen a 15% drop in his overheads using this new concept and he’s agreed that I can present some of his overall results to other companies so they can see if similar or better results can be obtained”

This is talking the language of the prospect, because they are primarily concerned with the results of their business, rather than in buying a product or service.

“I’d be delighted to discuss with you what this new concept can do for your business,”

A short trial close at this point determines the interest of the prospect, and if you have done your homework previously, you will know what drives their business decisions and what challenges they are going through at the moment.

“OK, if it’s not convenient now, let me send some details through to your email and show you how we have helped others to increase productivity/decrease overheads/improve profits (whichever is right for this prospect) in their businesses”.

This is your secondary objective, as the prospect isn’t ready yet to accept your primary objective.

“Let me just confirm the details….”

This makes sure you have got everything right and you can ensure the prospect feels good about their decision.

Did you notice the six points that the salesperson made?

  • The softener. This takes the edge of the introduction and eases you into the remainder of the opening.
  • You state facts that cannot be disputed, not claims that need to be backed up.
  • You talk the language of the prospect – their needs, their business’s needs, what’s important to them. The product or service isn’t important at this point. Not yet, anyway.
  • Short trial close. This might seem strange in the opening, but it allows you to gauge the interest of the prospect at this point.
  • Aim for a secondary objective if the first objective (appointment with the decision-maker, demo of the product, further discussions, etc.) isn’t achieved
  • Confirmation of everything discussed, or next steps if they don’t want to go any further.

These points allow you and the prospect to work together to achieve a mutually-agreeable next step after your opening.

If you’ve touched the right pain points, there’s a good chance of moving forward in the conversation and starting to get solid answers from the prospect to the questions you have lined up.

Happy selling!

Sean McPheat

Managing Director

MTD Sales Training | Sales Blog | Image courtesy of Big Stock Photo

Sales DNA

Originally published: 22 September, 2016