Every Sales Call must begin with a great opening followed by an impact statement.  But it must be compelling … it has to pass the goose bump test.  You’ve got to get the prospects attention quickly.

The opening is simple to master, but its importance is often overlooked. When meeting your prospect, give your name, company name, and a brief description of your core business. Keep it crisp, keep it professional, and speak clearly. Don’t be in such a hurry that you confuse the prospect about who you are.  Your job is to get them comfortable.  So prepare! I can’t tell you how many times I have watched a rookie or an unprepared veteran open by jumping right into the pitch without properly introducing himself, the company, or for that matter, me. I have literally stopped a call so that I could introduce myself to the client. There we were, staring at each other across the desk, listening to the salesperson blabbing endlessly, with the prospect clueless about who I was or why I was there. It happens.

It’s only natural to feel tension when meeting someone for the first time, but flubbing something as simple as an introduction, the tension will skyrocket. That’s why it is so important that openings be delivered in a professional but casual manner, not coming off as canned or stilted. Relax, as if you were talking to an approving friend. And for God’s sake, smile!  The opening needs to be graceful and confident.  The client wants to know that he is in the hands of a professional.  The proper opening will win temporary trust and reduce relationship tension so you can get down to business.

Avoid the coldest of cold calls. Many openers meet disaster because the salesperson has no knowledge of the prospect other than the company’s name. You must do your homework before making the call. Know something about the company, the industry, and if possible, the person you are meeting.  Spend some time on the Internet.  “Somebody will screen me out if I ask for this information,” you might say. Yes, sometimes. But you would be amazed at what a typical self-important screener will tell you about the company or the boss if you simply ask. These are the nuts and bolts of the opener. Now, immediately following the opening is the impact statement.

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