This applies to everything — meeting someone new at an event, a post on social media or a cold call to someone you want to connect with.
If the first 20 seconds of your communication is all about you or your products and services, maybe it’s time for a rethink. Why is that? Why do we consider the opening part of the call to be the most important?
The best advice comes from professionals who do it every single day. This advice from mtd Sales Training Specialists focuses on sales and how to start off on the right foot. Here’s what they shared about the first 20 seconds of an initial call.
This is outstanding advice whether you are trying to gain the interest of a journalist, a new client, an event producer or anyone who doesn’t yet know why they need you!
Think: What state or frame of mind is my prospect in when I call?
Think: What might they have been doing the moment before they took my call?
Think: What do they need to hear in the first 15 to 20 seconds that will at least make them listen to me for a further 15-20 seconds?
Whatever your answers, I doubt whether they included anything about being pushed towards a product or service they aren’t using at present.
What can you do, then, to lengthen this first call?
Of course, you grab their attention and interest by talking, not about you, but about them or something that can help them.
That first 15-20 seconds is golden time because it can make or break the next few minutes of the call.
You need to make it personal and specific to your market, but it should sound something like this:
“Hi, this is Bill Smith with Acme Widgets. Reason I’m calling is we recently helped a company in the (customer’s) industry increase their sales by 10% while reducing their marketing spend by the same amount. I wanted to see if we might be able to do the same for you.”
Now you’re talking about them. You’re talking about results. You’re asking if those kind of results would interest your prospect
When you talk about results, that is what the buyer would really be interested in.
It makes them curious and allows you to go into more detail as they are intrigued with what this might be about.
Of course, you need to be honest and truthful. Don’t lie about figures just to get an appointment.
You’re setting expectations that can’t be met if you do, and that will only cause more problems in the long run.
Did you notice that you didn’t mention your products or services in that first part of the conversation? It’s not relevant or necessary.
What you need to do is build their interest to know more.
You may have heard about the ‘AIDA’ principle before. That acronym stands for Attention, Interest, Desire, Action.
Many salespeople go straight to their product pitch early on in the call because they are frightened of refusal or they think the product will sell itself. It won’t.
In any type of marketing, it’s important to get the prospect’s attention straight away. Without doing so, you risk the prospect saying they aren’t interested.
As the acronym states, you can’t build interest until you have grabbed attention. If they reply early with ‘I’m not interested’, it’s because you haven’t attracted attention first.
Think about when you go to the cinema. What comes on before the main feature? That’s right, trailers for upcoming attractions.
Filmmakers do that to grab your attention and build your interest for what’s to come. Treat your call like a ‘teaser’ or ‘trailer’ for what’s to come.
Just as you wouldn’t start off on a journey without knowing your end destination, think about what the end destination of your call needs to be. You’ll then realise that the opening of the call is the most important part.
So, talk about results and solutions, not products.