Just because its intentional, doesn't mean it's not genuine. Discover the three elements of a great call opening, the difference between a good opening and a poor one, and the impact on the buyer.
- Let's talk about a bad call opening. There are two kinds of opening that are death to any sales call. The first one and the most common one is let me tell you about my product, because what happens in that situation? It's all a one way conversation. You pitch the product, the customer says yes or no and most likely, they're gonna say no because you haven't uncovered anything about them, so it sets you up for a very quick shutdown. But then there's another kind of call opening that's become a little more popular lately, and that's when people open the call by saying things like tell me about your business, I wanna understand your goals.
Now, it sounds good in theory, but let me tell you why it's horrible in practice. The customer should not have to waste their valuable time telling you things that you could've found out on the Internet. So from the scripted to the totally open, neither of those really work. So I wanna teach you a technique that's engaging to the customers, that has a little more structure to it and will get you started on a better conversation. There's three parts to this technique. You say something about the customer's world.
You say something about your world and then you go back to something about the customer's world. So let me give you an example. Imagine that you sell software. You do a little bit of homework on the customer. You see from their chairman's letter that improving accuracy and improving agility at the same time are key goals of theirs, so let me show you how you would craft an opening for this type of customer. So, something about the customer's world. I understand that agility and accuracy are key objectives here.
Now, something about your expertise. We've helped a lot of people improve turnaround time and be more flexible. Now, the third piece. It would be very easy for you to say let me tell you how we did that. But what would we be back to? We'd be back to a product pitch, and that's not where you want to go, so the third piece takes you back to the customer's world. That's when you look at the customer and you say tell me about some of the goals you have around agility and accuracy. So do you see what's happening? You've given the customer a reason to talk to you.
I might be able to help you, but then you've shifted the conversation so that they're gonna share their goals. Let me give you another example. Imagine you work for a university and your job is to call on donors. A typical person might go in and say, maybe you have to call on big corporate donors. It would be very likely that you could go in and say something like, hi, I'd like to talk to you about donating to our university. Or you might say, let me tell you about some of our donors. But again, both of those are just gonna result in you talking more.
Instead, a better thing to say might be, I've read a little information about you and it looks like having a positive impact on this community is really critical to you. That's the customer's world. The second piece is your world. We've helped a lot of people direct funds to have a positive impact on this location right here. Tell me about the kind of impact you're looking to have on the community. So do you see what that's doing? Customer's world, your world, customer's world.
It's showing that you've done your homework. It's directing the conversation, but it's doing so in such a way that the customer has a motivation to talk to you and a motivation to share what's on their mind. What this is gonna do when you do this at the beginning of the call is it's gonna create an interaction that's very interesting and compelling for your customer. So now I wanna go to another piece of the opening that often causes problems for people, and it's, if I've got this great opening and the customer starts talking, how do I manage my time? Cause the customer's gonna be talking about all of their goals, so here's a thing that I suggest.
all of their goals, so here's a thing that I suggest. Know exactly how much time you have in advance, and make sure you're devoting about 50 to 60 percent of it to the customer's goals and objectives, but leave enough time at the end for you to talk about how you might be able to help them and what the next steps are. Another thing I often get questions about is the gatekeeper syndrome and how do you get past the gatekeeper. Well, first of all, I hate that language because a gatekeeper is nothing more than a human being trying to do their job, so if you've got a good call opening, it's based on an issue that's important to the customer, so use that with their admin or whoever you need to to say here's what I'd like to talk to the customer about and here's why.
to the customer about and here's why. The last thing I wanna say is, talk to you about scripting the opening of your call. You wanna practice it in such a way that's natural, and you don't want your entire call to be scripted, but taking some time to craft a really good opening shows that you have respect for your buyer, so you need to understand, just because it's intentional doesn't mean it's not genuine. You're there to have a great conversation with your buyer.
Set yourself up for success with a good opening.
In this course, Lisa outlines key techniques to find and leverage your "noble purpose" and connect with customers on a deeper level. Learn the three key elements of a great call opening, when and when not to use a pitch deck, and the secrets to creating a sales process that can flex with different customer types. Last, she provides advice to develop yourself professionally, such as how to talk to senior leaders and position yourself as a strategy partner instead of a pitchman, when and how to take your boss on a sales call, and how to network effectively. Use these tips to close bigger, close faster, and make your work more meaningful.
- Selling with noble purpose
- Sales as a fast track to leadership
- Making the first call
- Avoiding sounding scripted
- Recovering from a bad call
- Working with your bosses and senior leaders
- Networking and being coachable