Are You Digging a Hole in Your Opening?

Well, today I need to ask you a question about your normal opening with a potential customer. Are you digging a major hole during your opening interaction with your prospect?

Seems like a large number of b2b sales people are creating a gap for themselves at the start of their first meeting with a prospect – usually because most have no idea of the damage they do. Okay, I know you are now curious – if not, you should be – about what can cause a problem for ourselves.

Here are six common openings used by b2b sales people and the percentage of time they are  creating a negative or at best a neutral mindset or response on the part of the potential customer…

  1. Small Talk – 95%
    The stronghold of the old school sales training whereby you begin talking about something in the office – a picture, an award, family photo, or a college. These are all old school tactics and are no longer accepted as an authentic or truthful approach.
  2. Benefit Claims – 89%
    Before knowing anything about the prospect making a statement how you can save them 30% or grow their sales by 20, 30 or 50%. Interesting how you have some type of crystal ball to see how they can save or increase anything. Even worst, the prospect totally disbelieves your statement since they have not been able to do anything close to these percentages.
  3. Referring to your product or service – 85%
    Making an unsolicited claim about your product or service – shows you are focused upon yourself rather than the customer or prospect. Remember this – no need leads to no sale. So no matter how great your product or service – your first objective is to get the other person talking about their world, their problems, their issues and their challenges. Then you can build a case for your product or service based on a value added approach.
  4. Provocative or leading questions – 84%
    Another of the old school traditional sales tactics which cause the prospect to think about “how I’m about to be sold a bill of goods!” It would be a much better approach to share a case study or success story to engage the prospect into what could be. Then you will receive genuine questions of interest about your products or services – or specifically, how do you do this?
  5. Company references  – 74%
    Blah, blah and blah. It is all about you. Our company is the oldest, most experienced, best equipped, blah, blah and blah! Stop it. Again, the prospect is more interested in what you can do for them rather than what you have done in the past. Focus upon the customer rather than you and your company. Oh, and lose the “we’re the leading blah, blah and blah” or “we’re experts in blah, blah and blah.”
  6. Quality claims – 71%
    Making a claim about your quality or stating you’re number one in anything is just a waste of time. A better use of your time is to focus upon the prospect and begin asking good or great questions based upon your research about their company. Show you have done some homework and improve your credibility in the eyes of the prospect.

There you have the facts about your possible negative impact on your prospect during the initial moments of the meeting. Improve your status and credibility by focusing upon the customer and their issues. Remember your real reason for being there is to ultimately improve their situation.

By the way, one last thought for you. Some people believe a neutral stance on the part of prospect is okay. Wrong! You are looking for positive engagement with the prospect therefore neutral is inadequate. Engage the prospect with questions from the very beginning and you will get a more positive response.

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Voss Graham

Sr Business Advisor / CEO at InnerActive Consulting Group Inc
Your Knowledgeable Partner for Business Success and Achievement. Dedicated to helping others get to their next level of success. Award winning business advisor; coach to executives and business owners; Business Growth Strategist; and experienced using assessments for hiring & selection, evaluation of teams and improving communication. Voss is available as a Speaker for your conferences or company meetings contact him at 901-757-4434 or use the LinkedIn or Facebook direct messages.

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