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Sales Training: Opening Statements – Part I

Opening statements are the first and often lasting impression that a prospective customer gets about you and your company.  The first ten seconds is the time during which many prospecting calls die.  “Nothing works all the time, but not working guarantees failure.”  The key is to be yourself, be real and be prepared.

About opening statements:

  • Purpose – To maximize your chance of success, while minimizing the chance of failure.
  • Objective – Within thirty seconds, create immediate interest for further discussion by engaging the prospect.

Thoughts and Guidelines:

What Do I Sell?

-   Answer this using as few words as possible

-   Avoid words or phrases that mean nothing to outsiders

How Do My Customers Benefit When They Buy My Product/Service?

-   You’re looking for true benefits, not simply features

The Script:

-   Who you are

-   Who you’re with (company name)

-   What you sell (in very simple terms)

-   How your prospect will benefit from your product or service

-   Question(s) to gauge the interest of the prospect

Words To Consider Using:

-   Maximize, increase, grow

-   Minimize, reduce, decrease, eliminate

-   Profit from

-   Specific, specifically

-   Save, conserve

-   Accumulate, acquire

-   Prevent

-   Fully

-   Immediate, now

Phrases To Avoid:

-   I’d like to learn a little more about your business to determine…

-   We’re the leading provider of…

-   Is now a good time to talk?

-   Did I catch you at a bad time?

-   I’m calling people in your area

-   I was going through my records

-   You and I have not spoken before

-   Wanted to reach out to you

-   Wanted to touch base with you

-   I’m ____ with _____.  Are you familiar with us?

-   Never use the word “JUST”

More tips and tricks:

-   Don’t apologize for wanting to help them; apologizing for taking someone’s time at the beginning of a call diminishes your importance.

    • Example: “I know you’re busy, and I’m sorry for interrupting.  I’ll take just a few seconds, and here’s why I am calling.”

-   Think about what you are offering.  You should have something of value (a value proposition).

-   Everyone is busy.  If what you have to offer is of value, you will earn their time.

-   “Thanks for taking my call.”  Yes or no? There are very few instances in life where saying thanks does not make a situation better, and I believe that the opening statement is one of those few.  Why? It diminishes your importance to the person you are speaking with.  It’s also simply words taking up space in those precious opening statements that don’t add value quickly.

Clayisms III:

How Are You Today?  Use it or not?

-   As a general rule of thumb, I don’t use this (same thinking as “thanks for taking my call”)

-   That being said, use it if you are comfortable with it or if it makes you feel more comfortable.

-   Informal studies show that 30% of sales professionals always use this technique, 30% never use it and 40% use it often as not, based on the specific situation

Opening Statement Examples:

Hello _______, I am ________ with (company name).

We specialize in working with______, helping them to deal with the issue of_________(what you sell & value proposition)

In working with other____________, we have been able to help them______________(what you sell & value proposition)

With other_______ in _________(your space), we have been able to_______________(what you sell & value proposition)

I’ve got a few thoughts that might be of value to you regarding _________, and I’d like to ask a few questions (Question(s) to gauge interest of the prospect)

We might have a few options that may possibly work for you as well.  I’d like to ask a few questions to see if I can provide you with additional information (Question(s) to gauge interest of the prospect)

We’ve been able to repeat these results with ________ companies, and with a few questions, we can determine if it will be worthwhile for you to take a look at some information (Question(s) to gauge interest of the prospect)

I have a few questions to determine if it makes sense for us to talk further (Question(s) to gauge interest of the prospect)

I have a few questions to determine if this is something you’d like to explore further (Question(s) to gauge interest of the prospect)

What if I get early resistance?  Great!

Two Techniques to Use:

Pattern Interrupt – When people do or say something automatically, it’s called a pattern.  If you do something that stops that pattern and gets them talking or thinking about something else, then that’s a pattern interrupt.

Softening Statement – “That’s not a problem. I’m not trying to………  Would you be open to……..s?”

Interested in receiving more sales training tips? Join us for a free web seminar Tuesday, June 19th at 12:00 pm EST. This one-hour web seminar will cover the 5 attributes of highly successful sales professionals, managing price expectations/price objections, and understanding your potential buyers (and their roles). Register here.

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