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Hello, I’m Will Harris. Welcome to the Power Sales Guru podcast. The title of this episode is What to Say in Your Opening Statement.
I love the story of the high school basketball coach who was attempting to motivate his players to persevere through a difficult season. Halfway through the season he stood before his team and said, “Did Michael Jordan ever quit?” The team responded, “No!” “What about the Wright brothers? Did they ever give up?” “No!” the team responded. “Did Steve Jobs ever quit?” “Again the team yelled, “No!” “Did Elmer McAllister ever quit?”
There was a long silence. Finally one player was bold enough to ask, “Coach…who’s Elmer McAllister? We never heard of him.” The coach snapped back , “Of course you never heard of him….he quit!”
I love that story. In this podcast we are going to discuss the four parts of a great opening statement. And ensuring you never quit before you connect with a new customer.
Allow me to paint a picture for you. You made a call to speak with a potential client. You have built rapport with the gatekeeper, who was happy to supply helpful information.
When you are transferred to the Decision Maker,
He answers the call and says: “Hello. This is Tom.”
The clock begins….
You have ten seconds to generate interest before you lose them forever. The moment is here and the pressure is on. What you say next makes or breaks the call.
What do you do when the pressure is on?
What do you say to gain progress?
The desires of our heart often require unquenchable spirit, sweat, energy beyond what we think is possible, and an
undying commitment. These prerequisites to success culminate in one overriding quality – Perseverance.
I’m a big fan of the great psychologist William James. Dr. James said “Fatigue gets worse up to a certain point, when gradually or suddenly, it passes away and we are fresher than before!”
At that point we have tapped a new level of energy…There may be layer after layer of this experience, a third even fourth ‘wind.’ We find amounts of ease and power we never dreamed ourselves to own, sources of strength habitually not taxed, because habitually we never push through the obstruction right in front of
Dr. Seuss’s first children’s book was rejected by 23 publishers. The twenty-fourth publisher sold six million copies and Dr. Seuss realized his perseverance resulted in challenging and educating millions of children.
After having been rejected by both Hewlett-Packard and Atari, Apple microcomputers had first-year sales of $2.5
And Formula 409…got its name because 4 hundred and 8 times they submitted their compound and were rejected. But the 4 hundred and 9th time …………….was accepted.
So how do you know when enough is enough?
When we achieve what we set out to do, that is when it is enough?
Are you willing to do enough?
To cold call, or to prospect within an account you need 4 parts in your opening statement. For a great opening statement 4 things are enough.
The four major parts to a powerful opening statement are:
- Attention Statement
- Interest Statement
- Opening Question
The opening statement creates a bridge from “I don’t know you” to “I need to know you.”
Different is the new great. The goal is to stand out amongst the sea of sales people fighting for your prospect’s
Now let’s take a look at the first thing to say in your opening statement:
- The Greeting
Some sales people whisper the name of their company as if they were passing notes to another student in class. Or they say it so quickly that it lacks the luster and power the name deserves. The greeting is where you acknowledge who you are and which company employs you. This should be said slowly and with pride.
“Hello. My name is Will Harris. I’m with Willpower Consultation.”
The Greeting quickly says: Hi, Me, & Us. A great opening statement quickly shifts focus from the salesperson onto the prospect. Avoid the trap of focusing on you during the call. Introduce yourself and your company, and then quickly move the conversation onto the prospect.
I have been asked whether to use first name only in your greeting….or should we use first and last name for ultimate professionalism. Whatever makes you feel comfortable…that’s what you should do.
If you have some super cool name like Alexander Fraiser III. Then you may use it in order to stand out and be different. But if your style is more laid back then you may say, “I’m Alex.”
You can phrase the greeting whichever way fits your style. Just remember, the greeting is simply “Hi, Me, & Us.” Done!
That was the first part to say in your opening statement.
The second thing to say in your opening statement is your attention statement.
- The Attention Statement
A salesperson traveled out of state for a big meeting with a prospect. He was dining at a restaurant chain he was familiar with back home. The usual steak ordered well-done was served in rare condition. Irritated, he furiously motioned for the waiter.
When the waiter came to his table, the salesperson blurted fastly, “I said WELL-DONE!”
“Well, thank you, “responded the waiter, “your compliment is appreciated.”
Have you ever received a phone call and it took a minute to understand what was being said to you…either you struggled to recognize the voice or figure out why this person was calling you. Maybe it was the accent or even the speed in which someone spoke. Many opening statements are great but they have the content in the wrong order…and prospects miss out on what you actually say because they were still trying to process what you were saying and what’s the call all about.
Like the waiter, they totally miss out on your point. But when prospecting, they have the control to end the call quickly without ever finding out what you really want.
The attention statement allows time for your prospect to process your speech pattern and recognize the reason for your call.
But, the main goal is to grab the prospect’s attention. Before you called them they were not sitting around waiting for you to call. Prospecting is an interruption in someone’s day. So you have to say something that will make them stop, drop their pen or stop typing long enough to hear you. 10 seconds, right.
The key to a great attention statement is that you must mention something familiar to them. Something that they recognize enough to make them pause. You may say, but Will if this is a cold call, if I never spoke to them before then how can I mention something familiar?
So, I have a Free Power Tools for you called Grabbing Attention. You can find it www.PowerSales.guru under Power Tools. You can use that Power Tool to know what to say in your Opening Statements. And I am going to lay it out for you right now.
The various types of attention statements:
- Name Recognition
- Industry …you can mention something specific around their
- Job Title
These four areas make you stand out when you say your Opening Statement. So grab that Free Power Tool called Grabbing Attention.
The next part of the opening statement is the most important part….The
- Interest Statement
Different is the new great because people do not just go through the motions when they are different. The ability to approach Power Prospecting from a fresh outlook and staying away from conventional ways of prospecting is paramount.
Different does not mean crazy. Different arises when people look at old problems in a new way.
The interest statement is the most important part of the opening statement. While all parts are important, this one is the end-all-be-all of your opening statement. The WIIFM message you developed gets condensed into one simple statement that says it all. Remember, your prospect will always wonder what’s in it for them. While they may not say it while you are talking, they are definitely thinking it. If you cannot help them come up with a reason they should be talking to you, your call will come to an end.
You know ….Several bankers were debating the question: who was the greatest inventor? One cast his vote for Stephenson who invented the railroad; another for the Wright brothers for inventing the plane. One man even voted for Leonard Kleinrock, for contributing to the invention of the Internet!
Finally, one banker turned to a man in the lobby listening, but not contributing to the debate. The banker asked the man what he thought.
“Well,” the man replied with a big smile. “Whoever created INTEREST was the greatest.”
The man’s reply has double meaning. Interest attributed to a loan or interest in buying a product. The sales person in me likes the idea of creating interest in buying a product. No matter what product you sell, people buy because of their interests.
Many business-to-business sales people launch into talking about their products without focusing on the prospect’s interests. Since different is the new great, speak about the overall business problems the customer is interested in solving.
I had a coaching call with a client who sells barcode scanning equipment. She complained that when she prospects, she quickly hears that the potential customer does not have a need for her product. After listening to her opening statement, I informed her that the reason for her failure was that she was being too specific in how she was going to help the prospect.
She had a hard time grasping this concept. She did not want to resort to tricks or gimmicks to sell her equipment. I asked her if she had ever heard of a company named Smith Corolla. She knew that the company sold typewriters.
Smith Corolla was the largest manufacturer of typewriters in the world. In their hay day, a young executive had suggested they take a look at data processing. His suggestion was quickly shut down by the other executives who felt they were in the business of selling typewriters and only typewriters.
Now, many years later, we are hard pressed to find a Smith Corolla anywhere. They missed the fact that they were not in the business of selling typewriters. They were in the business of processing and transferring information. I explained to the sales rep that she was suffering from the same disillusion.
She did not sell barcode scanners. She was in the business of developing businesses. The goal is to find solutions for your customers and not customers for your solutions. By adjusting her opening statements to reflect her prospect’s overall business needs, she would be able to increase her prospecting
Creatively paring a customer’s need to your product is the winning philosophy around a great interest statement. So in this part of your opening statement you want to start with a business development need…and not a product feature.
There is a difference in saying I specialize in helping my customers find customers. And saying I sell barcode scanning equipment to help you have real time information.
What is the root business cause that you champion….because that is where you will find what to say during your Opening Statement?
Another Power Tool you can get on my site is “Power Prospecting”. It can guide you through writing your opening statement.
Now we will look at the last part of what to say during your opening statement….the question.
- Opening Question
At this point in your opening statement it is time for you to get them involved in the conversation. This is where you ask a question that serves as a bridge out of the opening statement and into a deeper conversation. A question must be properly selected for maximum engagement. Remember, you have been talking for the last 8 seconds and now you merely want to get them talking.
Consider it the launch pad for closing your sale. This is a huge thing that is the crashing point for many sales. There are tips around crafting the perfect questions that we will cover in upcoming episodes. But, if you proactively select a great opening question then it will be enough to increase your success.
The four parts we discussed today around the Opening Statement is what I have worked on every day for the past 15 years. What you say in your Opening Statement can be used personally or professionally. It can be used over the phone or in email. By email it only takes some tweeking on the last part…the question can become a suggested next step.
But in order to have a next step…you have to take the first step and then comes the next.
Charles Goodyear was obsessed with the idea of making rubber unaffected by extreme temperatures. Years of unsuccessful experimentation caused bitter disappointment, imprisonment for debt, family difficulties, and ridicule from friends. He persevered and Goodyear discovered that adding sulfur to rubber achieved his purpose. I have four of them on my car right now.
But he’s not the only one with a great story of perseverance.
In his first three years in the automobile industry, Henry Ford went bankrupt twice.
Inventor Chester Carlson cold called for years before he could find backers for his Xerox photocopying process.
Don’t give up before you win. Develop an opening statement that includes the four parts and you will have enough….for success.
I hope I kept your attention during this episode. I do this every day in my own prospecting and working with others. So I love it. This podcast’s Free Power Tool is available now on my site
the one called Grabbing Attention. Thank you for listening to the Power Sales Guru podcast. I am your host Will Harris wishing you Happy Selling and remember different is the new great.