Opening Lines

In addition to this blog and my videos, I also spend time answering questions and offering suggestions about sales via various social media outlets. One question that seems to repeat itself is “what’s the best way to start a call?” or some variation of this. In addition to the challenge of this question being far too vague to give a meaningful answer to (is this a cold call, first F-2-F with a customer, referral meeting, etc),  there is no one size fits all answer to any aspect of the sales process. This is also why most sales training programs are failures.

I cannot think of more dynamic, less process-oriented role in an organization than outside sales. There is no perfect action, pitch, or line that works every time.. Why is this so important? Well, in addition to the online forums where I see this question, I was recently approached by someone looking to sign me as a client – and our interaction offered the perfect example of why this one size fits all approach just doesn’t work.

He connected with me through a social network channel, and used what I can only assume is his ‘go-to’ line. I’m not going to publish the line here, as I don’t want to risk embarrassing him- so let’s leave it at being a very general question. The question was one that he could have easily answered himself by spending one minute reviewing what I’m all about. Had he done that, two things would have happened: 1) he would have asked a different and far more meaningful question, and 2) he would have shown that he had taken the time to understand at least a bit of what I do.

Over my career, I’ve been exposed to more training programs than I can count – with the vast majority having the same issue. They teach a process where no process exists. Sure, there are the basic stages of a sale, but more often than not an individual sale will either skip one or more stages, or revisit the same stage multiple times. So what happens to the junior sales person that only knows the process they were taught? They inevitably stumble and fall.

This is why I advocate Value Based Sales. It is a strategy that has nothing to do with any particular process, but is entirely about understanding your core values and working with the customer down a road of discovery. You can download my generic presentation here.

Well, that’s all for today. Check back next week for a new post, or subscribe at the top right of the page to get sales tips and principles delivered directly to your inbox.

Until next time, this is Rick, your Chicagoland Sales Strategist, signing off.

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