What You Say When You Want To Start The Sales Process
by Gene Griessman, Ph.D.
Here’s a terrific opener that professional speaker and author Ken Futch recently shared with us. You may be able to use it as a template for your next big sales presentation. (Futch won numerous national awards when he was with AT & T.)
“When I called on a top decision-maker, say, a president, I would say something like: ‘Here’s what we were able to do for ABC company, and here’s what we were able to do for XYZ company. I’m not saying that you have those particular needs, but these are examples of the ways we’ve been able to help others. I’d love to find out what you’re attempting to accomplish to see if there are some mutually beneficial opportunities.’
“Then I would try to get the prospect to talk about his or her needs, problems, goals, and dreams. I didn’t want to give the impression that I was there to sell something that I had already decided was needed. I used to tell my sales people not to prejudge a situation. One of my favorite examples was the salesman who called on a family to sell them a swing set. It turned out that they didn’t have a backyard. They lived in a high rise. And they didn’t have any children. If you go in with a pre-set agenda, you run that risk.”
Whatyousay.com likes this approach for several reasons. Futch established credibility immediately by mentioning what had already accomplished for other customers. “The prospect may be thinking, what the hell does this guy know,” Futch explained. “If I begin by telling briefly what we’ve done for other companies, it gives me credibility. The prospect may just think, ‘Maybe I’d better pay attention to what he has to say.'”
Through his use of opening examples, Futch was able to suggest possibilities that the prospect might also have: “I tried to think in advance of issues that this particular prospect might have.Even if he or she did not have the same problems, the opening examples stimulated the process of identifying issues.”
Golfers say, “It’s not how you drive. It’s how you arrive that counts.” Whatyousay.com says: “A good drive makes arriving easier, and a bad drive can make arriving impossible.”
Ken Futch is author of Take Your Best Shot: Turning Situations Into Opportunities.” He is a featured speaker at www.atlantaspeakersbureau.com.
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