This Is Certain to Cause Early Resistance

in Opening Statements, Prospecting

A stranger approaches you on the street and asks for some money.

A person wielding a clipboard (or an IPad) jumps in front of you as you’re walking down the shopping mall and asks if you can take 10 minutes for a survey.

A woman at a bar is approached by a man she doesn’t know, who asks, "Do you want to have a relationship?"

What were YOU feeling as you read each of those?

Discomfort. Resistance. Maybe skin-crawling creepiness in the last example.


Because an unknown someone blindsided the target out of nowhere, asking for something without giving a reason for doing so. Therefore the natural reaction is to backpedal.

Let’s look at other examples:

A sales rep calls a prospect he has never spoken with before and in the opening says "…I’m with ABC company and I’d like to set up a time to meet with you to …"


"…I’d like to discuss what it would take to do business together…"


"…I’d like to invite you to a webinar…"

Those are all similar to the previous examples. A sales rep who is unfamiliar to his/her prospect asks for, or implies that he/she wants something from the prospect, without giving any reason why. There is nothing in it for the listener.

Of course, then, the result is similar to the previous examples: resistance.

Yet, those sales-related examples are still widely used, and I’m assuming, taught by someone–or by many.

That blows me away.

often in sales, sadly, common sense is trumped by nonsense that has been passed along, for no other reason than someone had heard it or read it somewhere.

(By the way, this is just one of the mistakes I point out in a video where we pick apart quite a few mistakes in a sales rep’s opening. See it at )

So what should you do?

Keep in mind, your calls need to be about them, not YOU.

You need to have something FOR them, not give the feeling that you want to take something FROM them.

You want to minimize your chance for resistance.

Here’s a simple opening template based on my Smart Calling system:

1. Identify yourself and company.

2. Mention what you know about them based on your research.

3. Hint at your Possible Value Proposition.

4. Add more possible value, and move to the interaction.

For example,

"Hi Pat, I’m Dale Stevens with Atlantic Associates. In speaking with Jolene in your marketing department, I understand that one of your initiatives for 2012 is strengthening the communication and collaboration between your account management and production departments, so you can increase your customer retention rate and order frequency. With another components manufacturer we were able to help them do exactly that and raise their retention by 55% in six months, and reorder rate by 34%. I’d like to ask a few questions to see if I could provide you with some information."

Remember, it’s about THEM, not you. The first part of the call is not about throwing the long bomb at the first opportunity. Give them a reason to move forward with the call, engage them, ask questions, and you’ll find your calls progressing more smoothly.

(I take you through the entire process of creating your interest-creating opening, your Possible Value Proposition, and also show you over 20 OTHER mistakes to avoid in your opening that cause resistance in Smart Calling. See it here )

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