Following on from my recent blog The Most Important Part of a Sales Call! I thought I’d share an exercise I did today with a sales team.
The team members had the following objectives:
- How do we come up with more varied opening statements/ reasons to call?
- What is a good opening statement for lapsed customers?
- What is the best way to position our current offer in the opening statement?
Whilst there are 3 areas they raised we’re going to focus on the top one in this blog. The first bit is to remember: what is the objective of an opening statement? When I ask this question in workshops it usually results in people replying; “to establish credibility, to create rapport, to engage, to start communicating value.” And these are all true however they are ingredients of the opening statement. The objective of the opening statement is to get to the next stage of the call– the questioning phase-with the agreement and curiosity of the Prospect/ Customer! (Permission to contimue.)
What we need to do is come up with an opening statement that is relevant to that person, their interests, their agenda, their business, something that addresses a possible issue they might be facing and/ or create an opportunity for them.
A great way to do this is to source customer feedback: case studies and testimonials from customers similar to them. The best ones contain tangible data which demonstrates how you have improved an issue or problem for example:
“Our appointment rates have gone up by 27% since working with Martyn, plus we are now averaging 12 extra calls per person per day!”
“By implementing the ABC system, downtime has been reduced by 12% as a result of the increased productivity we can now tender for larger orders.”
“Our field sales team now have the right devices with better connectivity and by switching to ABC Communications we saved 28%”
Your Marketing team should have lots of examples of these to use. Or if you don’t have a Marketing resource you can call your customers directly and ask them for feedback which they will appreciate. You may even find this creates opportunity itself! Incidentally the best time to ask for a testimonial or case study is just after the event or implementation.
Now that you have your case studies, pick one that is relevant to the customer or Prospect that you are calling. It doesn’t have to be the same sector- it can be a company of similar size or in a similar area just as long as there is some familiarity.
Next write out your opening statement in full. When you have written it out say it out loud. This bit is really important! It will sound different when you say it compared to how it is written. Don’t worry if it feels awkward. As long as you have the main ingredients you have something to work with!
You now need to edit it ruthlessly, get the word count as low as possible so you have the pure essence of your message.
Here’s an example:
“Jenny, my name’s Martyn Sloman of Gold Dust Sales Training. I help businesses to sell effectively to the right people. By helping XYZ Company to respond to incoming leads within 15 minutes they were able to increase Decision Maker contact by 10 times! I don’t know if this would be helpful for your team, have you got a few minutes to see?”
If Jenny says yes, we can continue the conversation. (I’d have a few specific questions prepared too.)If she says no I would ask her for a suitable time to call her back and send an outlook invite.
Remember the opening statement is purely the conversation starter and it may or may not be the route the conversation continues on based off the customer/ Prospect’s responses. The fact that we’ve done some research and come up with something tangible dramatically increases our chances of engagement.
If you work on some opening statements and would like me to have a look and give you some feedback you’d be welcome to message me. I’ll be happy to help!