If it Hurts, Do Something Different

in Opening Statements

If you’d punch yourself in the head, it would hurt.

Interesting Image
And doing it repeatedly would cause damage.Reasonable people would quit doing it.Hard to imagine why anyone would do it at all.

Yet, salespeople do it every day.


And it hurts, both psychologically and financially. Many then avoid the behavior, or quit doing it altogether.

Oh, for salespeople, the “hitting in the head with a hammer” is using an opening statement that pretty much guarantees resistance.

It’s really quite simple: in the first 10 seconds of your phone call you either create interest or resistance. Rarely is there a gray area.

Most openings create resistance.

It does not need to be that way.

I’m amazed how so many sales reps do not take the time or effort to search out what not to say (that causes resistance) and what to say, which will pique curiosity and allow them to proceed with the call, while having an engaged participant at the other end.

For attendees of my Smart Calling workshop (new class announcement coming soon)  and in-company training programs, and users of my Smart Calling Course, I have a standing offer of reviewing their opening statements and providing feedback.

Let me share one with you today that I reviewed for a customer.

“This is _____with ________. The reason for my call today is we are a franchised stocking distributor of
electronic components and we specialize in helping buyers such as yourself lessen the amount of time
you spend procuring your electronic requirements.”

Many people might be saying, “Hmm, not bad.” Not bad, but is not bad good enough for you? Like most openings I review, there are changes that can be made to tighten it up and make it even better. A word or two can make a huge difference.

Let’s pull out the microscope and scalpel.

-First, I suggest that he do some Smart Call research gather intelligence about the company, buyer, and any trigger events that might make them a good prospect, and then use it to personalize the opening. This sets you apart from every other caller just repeating his same generic robotic spiel.  As we discuss in my book and course, you can get this info from a multitude of online sources, and by doing Social Engineering.

-I would change “buyers such as yourself,” to just “buyers.” “Such as yourself” takes up valuable time and adds nothing. They know they are a buyer.

-I also felt that “…lessen the amount of time you spend procuring…” could be simplified. And no one really says “procuring” in conversation, right?

-And it could be strengthened with another benefit.

-Finally, we could use a transition to get to the questions.

Here is my suggested revision.

“Hi Art. This is ____with _____. In speaking with one of your engineers I understand they often have special order requirements for their time-sensitive projects. We are a franchised stocking
distributor of electronic components, specializing in helping buyers find what they need quickly, while shipping the same day. I’d like to ask a few questions to see if what we have might be worth taking a look at.”

After receiving the suggestion, the rep e-mailed back,

“Thank you for the advice you gave me about my opening statement. I am working so I can recite it so it sounds smooth for me. I’ve already had success with it.

“Now, a recurring problem I’ve been facing is that once I quote the parts, the buyer says he will call me back and then doesn’t follow through. Then I end up calling and getting the runaround. The problem is I don’t know when to time my calls to know if I’m calling too much and I end up letting the buyer off the hook for another day. Can you give me any advice?”

Well, getting a runaround is a SYMPTOM of a problem.

Usually it’s that there wasn’t sufficient commitment on the part of prospect/customer to do something as a result of the previous call. Any time you plan on calling back, especially if you have given them something like a price quote, or sending literature or a proposal, find out what’s going to happen next.

Ask questions like,

“What will happen next?”

“Where do you stand right now?”

“What needs to happen to move forward on this?”

“By when will I hear from you?”

When you get specific, things happen. If you’re vague, people will put you off forever.

Want Your Opening Reviewed?
I’ve reviewed thousands of openings, 98% of which I make changes to. What you SAY makes or breaks your calls. My personal review of your opening statement is one bonus you get with my Smart Calling Course. I’ve priced the course ridiculously low so that it is affordable for anyone. Check out the details here.



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