Sales tip – opening

Sales Tips

Opening does not take long, but how you start often determines how you finish. So although there are no magic words, you do need to think about it.  Three specifics stand out – you should determine how you would:

  • Create initial rapport.
  • Gain agreement on the purpose of the call.
  • Establish the customer’s permission to ask questions.

As is usually the case, there are some common mistakes – Opening mistakes are relatively easy to overcome if you just keep them front of mind.  The three most telling mistakes are:

Wrong Time – Wrong Place. This is a failure to “pick up on” the fact that this is an inappropriate place or time.  This mistake is particularly memorable and unfortunately not easily forgotten in some markets such as when an account executive is calling on a physician in a hospital environment.

Wasting Time. This happens to the rep that takes too long in creating rapport.  Sure rapport is important, but customers are busy and wasting their time is a bad way to start the call.  In general when it comes to opening a call – short and straight forward wins over long and elaborate.

Starting with your Product. “I wonder if I could just take a few minutes to talk with you about our new…” No matter what happens next you’re probably in trouble.  It is a well-established research finding that in successful calls the buyer talks more than the seller and the seller ask more questions.  If you start with your product, regardless of how good it is, it is likely the call will evolve into a product pitch.

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©2012 Sales Horizons, LLC

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About Janet Spirer

For more than 30 years Dr. Richard Ruff and Dr. Janet Spirer - the founders of Sales Horizons - have worked with the Fortune 1000 - such as UPS, Canon USA, Smith & Nephew, Boston Scientific, Owens & Minor, Textron - to design and develop sales training programs. Janet has followed two different, yet complimentary paths. First, as a B-School Professor she taught marketing, sales, and business strategy courses. She also managed a consulting practice focusing on sales productivity and marketing – working with a variety of clients ranging from Xerox to IBM. She translated those experiences into a book – “Parlez-Vous Business” – that helps sales people develop the business savvy to sell successfully. Since co-founding Sales Momentum® in 2000 with Richard Dr. Spirer received her Ph.D. from The Ohio State University, an M.P.A. from The University of Texas at Austin, and a B.A. in Economics from Brooklyn College. She holds the appointment of Professor Emeritus at Marymount University.
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