Selling Technique - The Opening Statement

Selling technique - The Opening Statement

How to get the sales process going by using a good opening statement.


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Selling Technique - The Opening Statement
2006 David Peterson

Running a home-based Internet business typically means that you donít get a chance to actually meet your prospects. Since you donít get a chance to physically meet your prospect that means eventually you are going to have to call them. You have just become a telemarketer. This is something you probably swore to your friends, your wife, and yourself you would never become. Letís just get rid of the telemarketing stigma completely; your new title is telesales representative. 

In 1999 I wanted to stop traveling so I switched from an outside sales manager to an inside sales manager position. I effectively became a telesales manager. At the time I had no idea that someone would give you $100, $1,000, $10,000, or even $100,000 over the phone. But guess what? Prospects actually like being sold over the phone, itís convenient for them as well as it is convenient for you to conduct the sales process in this manner.

To be an effective telesales representative you have to have a good grasp of the sales process. The sales process of opening the call, probing during the call, painting the picture for the prospect, and closing the call all still apply. One place where telesales reps get stuck is in the opening. They donít have a good opening statement to get the conversation rolling. 

Letís look at the absolute worse type of lead that you will encounter. This type of lead is even worse then just opening up the white pages and speed dialing everyone listed in the phone directory. That type of lead is the dreaded co-op network marketing or MLM lead. You know the lead, they cost about $0.05 each and they have probably been recycled (sold over and over again) about 5 times. By the time you try to get a hold of the prospect they are a little ticked off because they are getting contacted every 3 minutes.

Before you try to contact this prospect you have to realize what type of lead you are buying. The network marketing lead described above would probably have these characteristics:

  1. The prospect has probably filled out several RFIs (Request for Information) from several different websites.

  2. The prospect is probably filling out these leads either late at night or during the workday.

  3. The prospect probably either gave you a bad phone number or an email address @yahoo, @msn, @aol, or @gmail, etc. You probably didnít get their home email address; you got the one that is meant to catch the spam.

  4. If the prospect did give you a good phone number then they have probably gotten a few phone calls over the last few weeks and he/she is getting a little tired of all of the calls.

Why am I calling attention to the obvious with the 4 statements above? Because you have to formulate an opening statement with what you know about the prospect. You know a lot about them. Hereís what you can identify about the prospect.

  1. They didnít fill out that RFI just to waste your time and theirs. They filled it out because at that moment in time they wanted to change something in their life.

  2. If they are filling the RFI out at night that means they either had a bad day at work or they are looking for additional income. They may not be looking to get out of their day job. At least not yet. If they are filling it out during the day then ether their work is really bad or they donít have a job at all.

  3. They gave you a bad phone number and a generic email address because they are interested but they really donít want to listen to silly offers, only serious home-based business opportunities. In other words this prospect will have to be sold on your opportunity. They are not just going to say hello and sign up.

  4. If they gave you their real phone number then the prospect was very interested and very motivated at that moment in time. That moment may have passed and is not necessarily right now. Also, that interest and motivation is to look at all serious offers, not just your serious offer.

You have to use the information above to your advantage. You have to recognize the situation you are in before you call or try to contact them via email. You have to structure your opening around what you know. 

An opening statement should tell the prospect who you are, who you represent, why you are calling, and finally ask permission to continue the conversation. Properly creating an opening statement is a learned skill. Each type of lead should be approached differently however all leads within a certain type, such as the MLM lead above, should be pitched every time the exact same way.

Here are two opening statements for an MLM lead. Which one do you think will allow you to move the prospect to the next step?

  1. Hi my name is David Peterson and I see you filled out a request to learn more about my home-based business opportunity. Let me tell you, this opportunity is an absolute money maker, I have made over $5,000 this week alone. Are you ready to make $5,000 this week?

  2. Hi Mr. Jones, my name is David Peterson, and I represent the ABC Company. It has come to my attention that not long ago you may have been interested in a home-based business because either something has changed in your current work or you may simple need to make some additional money. If you havenít already decided on that business I would like to take 2 minutes of your time to see if you would be a good fit for our organization. I donít want to waste any of your time so can I quickly ask you a few questions to see if you are a fit for our company?

Prospects have a right to say no to your offer. At $0.05 per lead hundreds are going to say no. The problem with opening statement #1 above is that you are just pitching to the prospect about your offer. Itís not time yet to paint the $5,000 a week picture. The ďAre you ready to make $5,000 this weekÖĒ is a closing statement not an opening statement.

Statement #2 is more conversational. The object of the statement is to just get the conversation going. Once you get the sales process going by using a good opening statement you can then really start digging into why the prospect filled out the RFI in the first place.

Practice your opening statement. Use the exact same opening statement 100 times before changing it. You will get better and better with it as you use it. Memorize it; say it with a smile on your face. The opening statement is just used to get the conversation going. It is not used to ďweed outĒ prospects. That is what good probing questions are for, finding out if the prospect needs your product. 

If you are pitching, and pitching, and pitching, it may not be your leads that are the problem. It may be you. Use what you know about your prospect and change your opening statement. Your opening should identify yourself, and identify your company. It should explain why you are calling, and the opening should ask permission to continue the conversation.

If you can create a good opening statement then your prospecting ďchoresĒ will go a lot faster, and ultimately they will become a lot more profitable.


David Peterson

David Peterson

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