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Topics Covered: <a href='/resources/search/?query=sales advice'>sales advice</a> | <a href='/resources/search/?query=prospecting strategy'>prospecting strategy</a> | <a href='/resources/search/?query=Prospecting'>Prospecting</a>
Sales Strategy
Colleen Francis lock

There is a brief window of time to make a first impression on our prospects that will compel them to want to engage with us.

Unfortunately, salespeople fail and their prospects end up saying like "O boy, how I am I going to end this conversation with this a sales person," and less like "oh, this is intriguing, I think I should stay and listen!"

Why? Because most of us tend to open our calls - cold calls, prospecting calls and follow-up calls alike - with statements that create resistance, instead of creating a relationship.

What creates resistance?

Typically speaking, resistance is created by openers that start with a cliché, such as:
  • How are you today?
  • Is this a good time to talk?
  • Could I have a few minutes of your time?
  • Are you the person in charge of…?
  • I was wondering if maybe you would be interested in…"

Cut the clichés!
How can you use your first few moments to cut through the resistance, and start building a relationship?

First - get rid of the clichés!

Cutting cliché statements out of your calling script will increase your success rate by up to 20%. This is even more true for the ever-present "how are you?" Every customer on Earth has heard that exact phrase at the beginning of a sales call they didn't want to take, or which was disrupting their dinner.

Trust me, you don't want to get lumped into that category. What you do want is to sound unique, more interesting, more professional - and more relevant.

According to a study conducted by the American Association of Professional Organizers, the average executive has 52 hours of unfinished work on their desk at all times. Why should you care? Because this is proof that they're not sitting around with nothing to do, yearning for you to call!

The second you call them, your prospects are 99.9% likely to be busy doing other work - which means that, when you call, you're 99.9% sure to be interrupting them. Instead of overlooking this fact, I suggest that you use it to your advantage, by trying something like: "Mary? This is Colleen Francis. Have I caught you at a bad moment?" Or "Did I catch you at a bad time?"

Be careful with these statements, and be sure to use them with exactly the wording given previously. My experiments have shown that "is this a good time?" and "is this a bad time?" are far less efficient.

Why does this work? When it comes to receiving a sales call, it's always a bad time, so having the person who's making the call recognize this upfront is a refreshing change. The majority of the time that we insert this statement at the beginning of a cold call, we're met with the same answer - a laugh, followed by either: "It's always a bad time, but what's up?" or "Sure it's a bad time, why are you calling?"

The beauty in this answer is that now it is the prospect's choice that you're on the phone with them - not yours. When a prospect feels like they're being held captive in a conversation, they tune out, stop listening and start planning their escape. When it's their idea that both of you are talking, however, they're far more likely to listen to what you have to say, and to engage in the discussion.
Original Post:

About the Author:
Colleen is driven by a passion for sales - and results. A successful sales leader for over 20 years, she understands the challenges of selling in today's market. Clients who work with Colleen note her frank, no-nonsense approach to solving problems and addressing opportunities. Colleen has become renowned for her practical strategies and use of measurement and accountability to inspire sales team results.

Colleen has been distinguished as a Certified Sales Professional (C.S.P.) and an inductee into the Speaking Hall of Fame. Sales and Marketing Magazine has called Colleen and Engage Selling: One of the top 5 most effective sales training organizations in the market today!

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are strictly those of the author. CPSA does not endorse any of the companies, products and services mentioned within this article.

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