Virtually all selling has that initial contact between the salesperson and the prospect. Whether you sell business to business or business to consumer, whether the prospect initiates the contact or the salesperson does, this is the time to premier your own movie.
What can salespeople learn from Ben Hur and Mickey Mouse? Both the movie and the cartoon premiered on the same day, November 18th, in different years. In the debut, the first public appearance or the introduction, salespeople hold at least four stars, four ideas, to better engage their prospects in making that successful first impression.
What is your goal on the first call? Depending on your product or service, most professional salespeople make the first call a get to know the customer call and to get a follow up appointment. Notice that the primary emphasis is not simply on getting to know you. Unless you are selling pens behind a retail counter or are a retail sales clerk, your customer is not going to make the buying decision in minutes. What is your goal on the initial contact?
Do you have a good fit for the prospect? All salespeople want to sell! But do you want to sell everyone? Ben Hur and Mickey Mouse, now classics, had a different audience. Not every customer will be a good fit for you, your company, your product or your service. During an initial contact it’s a good idea to qualify and find out if this prospect is a good fit for what you’re offering.
How do you get to know your prospect and determine a good fit? In the movie industry, screenings and early viewings determine if and when a movie gets released. In selling, before you get to the initial meeting, do some research and prepare some questions. First, be prepared before you meet. Either research the company or talk with some of your connections about the person. This will spare you from taking time to ask low calorie questions like, “What is your current revenue?” or “Is this your only location?” It’s more effective to research things like this, or save them until the follow-up call. Then, have a few strategic high fat open-ended questions, such as: “Tell me about your top two or three challenges.” “What do you want that you don’t have now?” “Oh, you’ve worked with ‘The Other Company’ in the past. What did you like about them?” You’re qualifying and finding a fit during the initial sales call.
How do you end the initial contact? If you want to hear applause similar to that at the end of movies like Ben Hur and Mickey Mouse’s premier, your introductory call will balance the questions with listening – listening to all that you guided your prospect to tell you. If they qualify, if there is a good fit, then you want to ask for a decision, the next appointment, or make a recommendation for the prospect if the fit isn’t right.
Movie premiers are all about the movie stars. The glitz and glamour is usually focused on the actors. For an initial sales call to be successful, focus on your star – the prospect. If you have a goal, do some early research, have some thoughtful questions prepared, and then all along the way you have built rapport to continue the sales process. Is a four star initial sales call in your future?
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