for Sales Professionals & Industry Leaders
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Effective Opening Sales Conversations:

…Episode One

In this and near future episodes you will learn how to perfect effective opening sales conversations that will create an ally of the screener or gatekeeper and others that will capture the attention of the decision maker.

In future episodes you will learn how to redefine and overcome objections in an honorable and effective way using our trademarked REAPP process, learn the tremendous power of the true short story, learn how to actually get referrals, and much more.

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Perfecting Your Sales Conversation

In this issue we will discuss the first steps in perfecting an effective opening sales conversation.

  • You need to connect with whoever you are talking to, whether it is by phone or over a desk or over the front counter.
  • You need to connect-whether it is a screener/gatekeeper or a decision maker.
  • In order to connect in a way that smoothes the path, you must create rapport with this person, and remember he or she is a person.

In order for someone to want to buy from you they must believe three things:

  1. I am being told the truth
  2. This person cares about me
  3. This person can help me and will help me-if I let them

People will buy from you, given no other choice, if they don't believe these three things, but they will drop you and your company in a micro-second to do business with someone else as soon as they can.

Pretty basic and simple, right? Just like the four minute mile analogy. We can, most of us, run across the room. Running a four minute mile is simply running faster. Except perhaps one in a million people could run a four minute mile. They could-given great genetics, good diet, luck in lack of injuries while training, the discipline of a professional jockey, and more luck. That's all-basic and simple.

How do we convince people that we are telling them the truth?

Simple, we:

  1. Tell them the truth
  2. Care about them
  3. Help them

How do communicate that we are going to do this in a way that quickly cuts through the chatter or interference that all the bad sales people in the world have created for us?

How do we say something very quickly that has impact?

Let's look at a typical attempt to start an opening sales conversation:

"Hi my name is Tom Smith. I represent XYZ widgets. We are the best widget company in the world with offices in Topeka, Desmoines, Hong Kong, and Barstow. I would like to talk the person in your organization that makes decisions about widgets."

Don't get me wrong here. This opening sales statement will work-eventually. If you work long and hard and make enough calls to qualified prospective customers, you will do some business. Does this accomplish our first, second, or third necessary goal?

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What is your goal?

In order to connect in a way that smoothes the path you must have this person, and remember he or she is a person, believe this:

  • I am being told the truth

With Tom's opening, what is the receptionist/gatekeeper/screener/decision-maker thinking? How about,

"Another sales call. I wonder what kind of tricks this one will try to bluff his way past me?"

or "Another sales call. I wonder what kind of outrageous claims this one will make?"

or "Another sales call. We don't even use widgets, I don't think, 'cause I'm new here. What is a widget anyway? Can you eat them, 'cause I am hungry and it is an hour to my next break. Maybe he has samples? Do they make chocolate widgets?"

How can you have the thought, and have it be at the core of the person's thinking, be-"this person is telling me the truth and is somehow different than the other people who call me?"

There are a number of ways to demonstrate that you are telling the truth over the long haul-if you have the long haul. How do you demonstrate to someone enough evidence that you are telling the truth in, let's say, fourteen words and less than four seconds?

ow about:

"Hello, my name Tom Smith and I would love to sell you our product!"

What messages do we send?
Are we telling the truth? You betcha!
Are we setting ourselves apart from the other people who call? You betcha!
Does the person we are talking to think that we are going to tell them the truth in the future?

I think Tom Smith set a pretty good precedent for that , don't you?

I am not saying that-"Hello, my name Tom Smith and I would love to sell our product!" is perfect, but it is a start:

Before we scroll down to homework before the next episode let's think about a representative example of what we run into when we make an initial sales call. We hear something like:

"Thank you for calling XYZ investment corporation, where your financial future is our life. This is Mary. How may I direct your call?"

In the next episode we will use the information given in this greeting to help us demonstrate that we:

  1. Are telling the truth
  2. Care
  3. Can and will help

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Take Action

Each e-letter will encourage you to take immediate action to implement consultative selling and positive leadership principles. 

Perfecting an effective opening sales conversation.

Think about what you are saying in your opening sales statement or conversation now. Do your words/tone/body language/delivery/sincerity cause people, and remember-they are people, to think:

  1. He/She is telling me the truth?
  2. He/She cares about me?
  3. He/She can and will help me?

Be ready to defend your answers.
Be very, very tough on yourself.
If you are not effectively doing these three things then you are fighting an uphill battle. Would you want to do business with someone who:

  1. Wasn't tell you the truth?
  2. Doesn't care about you?
  3. Can't and won't help you?

Our next episode will move you further toward perfecting an effective opening sales conversation. Thanks for reading.

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