Over the past three weeks, we have covered ways you can better your chance of success with prospects. In case you missed those posts, you can read them here:

Are You Targeting the Right Prospects?
Crafting a Killer Message
Putting in the Work to Reach Your Prospects

For the final post on this topic, I want to look at what happens when you finally get a prospect on the phone. How can you make a great first impression in under 30 seconds?

First off, you probably have a sense of who you are calling since this prospect fits into your buyer profile. And you are hopefully prepared to speak to what you perceive to be their pain points. You have already called them 8 times without any response, but now… they pick up the phone. Oh no! What do you say?

Opening with a Bang

Let’s say you are selling commercial alarms to local restaurants to prevent against theft and fire. Your first call of the day is to Bob that owns a little cafe in Columbus, Ohio. Here are four ways to open up the conversation:

1) Build Rapport from Research

Before any call, you should do some quick online research about who you are calling and make a good impression. You can easily find out that according to LinkedIn, Bob went to OSU. You may want to mention the big Buckeyes game from last week, or ask if he thinks the famous Thurman Burger is all it’s cracked up to be. If you’ve read any positive reviews about his cafe, then go ahead and mention you have heard their apple pie is out of this world. It’s hard for a prospect to dislike someone who compliments them. The internet is your friend in building up an arsenal of ways to connect with an unknown prospect.

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2) Use the Negative Close On Your Prospects

Next, ask for their advice or recommendations; you can combine this with the negative close. Try this, “So Bob, I’m trying to figure out if your cafe is a good prospect for me… can you tell me what you think?” For bonus points you can always blame it on your manager. Almost everyone has a manager, so you might get a bit of sympathy here: “Hi Bob, can you give me some advice? My manager thinks your restaurant is a good prospect for me, but I’m not so sure.”

3) Be Simple and Honest

Always a good approach, tell your prospect you’re a sales guy covering their account. Of course, don’t put on your “I’m-a-robot-salesperson” voice and sound like Bud from Wall Street. Most business executives have a good built-in BS detector, so honesty works. Maybe you aren’t selling the most amazing alarm system, but it is specifically tailored to meet the needs of restaurants. Stick to your selling points and give them the facts!

4) Utilize Technology

There are so many incredible technologies available to help you become more successful in sales and prospecting. For example, Spiro’s sales automation CRM tells you who to call and when, so none of your leads fall through the cracks.

Summing It All Up

Getting your prospect on the phone is sometimes the hardest part. Once you have made contact with them, you need to be able to build an immediate connection and deliver a purposeful opening sales pitch. I’d love to hear ways in which you have built rapport in the first 30 seconds. Share your success stories in the comments section below!

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About the Author Adam Honig

Adam is the co-founder and CEO of Spiro Technologies. He is a natural sales leader with a mission to help salespeople make more money using artificial intelligence — or any sort of intelligence for that matter. Adam has been a founder of four companies which resulted in two triumphant IPOs and two legendary mergers. He is best known for speaking at various conferences including Dreamforce, for pioneering the ‘No Jerks’ hiring model, and for flying his drone while traveling the world.

One Comment

  • Philip E. says:

    Great Article. All of these techniques are hugely important in reaching out to prospects, used in the right amounts and done the right way. If you say too much you look creepy!

    In particular, though the examples given were for physical products selling into small businesses, it’s worth remembering that these same techniques work with large businesses as well. If you’re selling software that helps with security and your prospect just had a security breach, if you can identify how your product keeps their problem from happening again, that’s two feet in the door and a complimentary cup of coffee in hand.

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