The opening statement is the most crucial part of your sales prospecting call.
It determines whether your prospect will actually listen to what you have to say, or simply shrug you off and say goodbye.
There are some things you absolutely must do, and some pitfalls to avoid.
We’ll cover some of them in today’s article, so you can craft the perfect opening statements for your sales prospecting calls!
Let’s get started.
Crafting an effective opening statement for sales includes…
Identifying who you are
Naturally, a good opening statement identifies who you are and what company you’re with. It’s an obvious first step to establishing a rapport and ensuring the first question you receive isn’t… “Who is this?” or “What company are you calling from.” So always begin by identifying this key information.
Understanding the main goal
It’s important to understand what the goal of your opening statement is.
Quite simply, it’s to earn you a receptive audience.
People are inherently skeptical when they get a sales call. Their instinct is usually to say no, get off the phone, and get back to what they are doing. You need to cut through that, and earn yourself an audience that is interested in what you have to say.
Answering “what’s in it for me?”
So how do you earn yourself an audience?
You have to illustrate the value they receive for staying on the line. The benefit. You have to answer “what’s in it for them.”
Ideally, you do that by hitting upon 1) a hot button issue and 2) convincing them (or creating enough curiosity, anyway) that you have a credible solution for it.
For example, let’s say that your company optimizes mobile apps. Some hot buttons you may have identified for your target market include daily download numbers, repeat usage, or poor reviews.
In this case a good opening statement might be, “Hi John. This is Jane Smith from AppYapp. I’m calling because I noticed that your app has fewer reviews than many of your competitors, and I wanted to tell you about a cool little tool that’s helping iOS apps collect 300% more reviews with very little effort…”
Ending with an engaging question
You’ve weaved a benefit into your opening statement and quickly touched on who you are – but how do you end it? One of the best ways to end it is with an engaging question.
It can be something simple, like, “Let me ask you – is there anything you’re doing right now to try to collect reviews?”
The point is to get them engaged and talking about the relevant issue you’re trying to help them with. Your prospect might also offer up information keying you in their struggles, concerns, or goals.
This is a great way to start a conversation that positions you as someone genuinely wants to (and can) help.
Avoiding Common Opening Statement Mistakes
There are a few common mistakes many people make, especially when they first start out with sales prospecting. If you can avoid mistakes like these, you’ll already be far ahead of the game.
Here are some common opening statement mistakes you must avoid:
- Saying that you’re calling to “introduce your company” to them. They most likely don’t know anything about you yet OR how you can help them, so they certainly don’t care about being introduced to your company. Instead, be sure to use a benefit like we talked about earlier.
- Offering a list of things your company does. Had you started your call, “AppYapp helps companies collect more reviews, improve their listings, and improve user experience,” you’re being way to general to sound like you can solve a particular problem or hot button.
- Trying to schedule a time to meet or talk right away. You don’t want to jump the gun. It’s far better to ease into it, provide value, and give them a reason as to why they’d want to talk with you again.
- Asking vague questions like, “How are you today?” or “Is this a good time for you?” These may seem like harmless, polite questions, but in reality, they’re a waste of your prospects’ time and make you seem like a salesperson– plus they also give them an easy “out” to hang up.
Don’t underestimate the importance of your opening statement. As it is, live answers are hard to come by – with nearly 87% of sales calls going unanswered.
Use these tips to craft better opening statements that will keep your leads on the line and interested in what you have to offer.
Do you have a general opening statement script that you use? Let us know in the comments below!