There is no single way to do anything. However, some ways are better than others. In the wide, wide world of phone sales, we have a very few seconds to establish what is viewed by many to be virtually impossible. That is to say, in these very few first seconds we need to:
Gain their attention
Engage the prospect in our presentation
In sales, it's important that we remain our best natural selves. This holds true on the phone, as much as it does in any face to face situation. Too many people falsely believe that the phone puts them at an extreme disadvantage because they can't let the prospect see they are smiling or have a pleasant demeanor. The fact of the matter is that every bit of your personality and your attitude is clearly visible to the person on the receiving end of the phone, sometimes it's merely from the tone of your voice.
If my middle school son asked me how he should approach a girl he had a crush on at the school dance, I would give him the same advice I give the sales people that I have the opportunity to train and coach. I would tell him to walk up to her, stand up straight, smile, and say: "Would you like to dance?"
There's not a doubt in my mind that that simple question, which is direct and gets right to the point, will have the two of them sharing a juice box at lunch the next school day.
The questions, statements, or opening lines that wouldn't work for a boy asking a girl to dance, are the same for the professional sales person. If your son asked you for this same advice would you suggest any of these:
"The reason I walked past the potato chip table, circled your friends three times and finally am standing here in front of you is because I was wondering if you would like to dance with me."
"Hi Mary, I just wanted to touch base with you and see if you wanted to dance?"
"Hi Mary, how are you?"
Suggest any of those to your kid and....No juice box for him!
For those who think that information like this only applies to your kid who may be going to his first school dance, think about how many calls you've made that began with any of these phrases, or how many times you've bristled when a sales person calls you and says:
I wanted to touch base
How are you
The reason I called
I just wanted to call because
I was wondering if
Now, let's bring this to our world. Let's suppose you sell mobile websites. You spend a few minutes looking for a business that doesn't have a mobile version of their website. You find one that doesn't, you spend another couple of minutes reviewing their desktop site, you take a deep breath, pick up the phone and say to Joe:
Hi Joe, how are you? My name is Bob Saleszinsky from Saleszinsky and Company Offline Marketing Consultants and Web Site Mavens. I'm a mobile site designer and I've helped many other chicken wing stores like yours increase their sales by 50% by building a mobile site for them. I wanted to reach out because I noticed you didn't have a mobile website.
If you think the above phone conversation is far fetched, the fact is that tens of thousand of calls to businesses begin that way every day of the week. It's one reason that many people have to make 100's of calls before an appointment or a sale. Put yourself in the position of receiving end of that call. Are you listening to it or just waiting for it to end before you hang up? I promise that the only way you would take interest in that call is if you heard the phrase "mobile site" and you really, really, really, really, really wanted a mobile site for your business. Other than that, no juice box for the salesman.
Taking that introduction/opening apart is a simple matter.
Hi Joe, how are you?
General wisdom says this is announcing you're a salesperson. However, in parts of NY and virtually all of NJ every sentence begins with "how ya doin'?"
My name is Bob Saleszinsky from Saleszinsky and Company Offline Marketing Consultants and Web Site Mavens.
Joe doesn't care who you are or what company you're calling from. Would you?
I'm a mobile site designer.
Joe thinks "Good for you, your parents must be proud."
I've helped helped many other chicken wing stores like yours increase their sales by 50% by building a mobile site for them.
Joe has probably stopped listening anyway and he probably has zero interest in what you've done for someone else. Yes, it might be a good idea for Joe to know that a mobile site can help him, but he doesn't care, you're boring the man to death!
I wanted to reach out because I noticed you didn't have a mobile website.
Joe doesn't care that you wanted to reach out but he does admire your keen sense of the obvious.
People like to do business with people they like, and people who are like them. People who they like and people who are like them do not babble out the bullshit like the little script above.
Here's a slightly, and I think better approach to get Joe to pay attention to you.
Hi Joe, Dave Miller. I'm a marketing consultant and I wanted to talk to you about a mobile version of your website.
That's it. No magic, no tricks, no reaching out, wondering, reason for my call, or I just called because!
Taking it apart:
Hi Joe, Dave Miller.
Said in a the right tone, I may be a customer, or friend. I may also be a salesman. But unless Joe is a complete moron, he's not going to be rude. In fact, he should and usually does say, "Hey, how are you?" (Go figure, putting the "how are you?" on the other foot)
I'm a marketing consultant and I wanted to talk to you about a mobile version of your website.
In one short sentence I've told him what I do and why I'm calling. Granted, he may already have a mobile site, but it took me less time to find that out this way then hunting and pecking around the web, keying URL's into my smart phone.
Now if this thread continues, I'd like to see what things you believe should never be said, what you think should be said...and some of your favorite opening lines....but please don't jump in to let us know that you hate you phone. I can't speak for anyone else, but I don't care if you hate the phone.