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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