On the phone we have 10 seconds or less to capture a listener’s attention, break their preoccupation with whatever they were doing when you called, and place them in a positive, receptive frame of mind to share information with you and listen with an open mind.
Therefore, you don’t want to muddy up your call with wasted words, or meaningless words.
Here are some words that are overused, and are truly meaningless when you analyze them.
- “Cost-effective,” as in, “We provide cost-effective products.”
- “Leading,” or “premier,” as in, “We’re the leading company in this field.”
- “Solution provider,” as in, “We’re a solution provider.”
- “Meet your needs,” as in, “I’d like to discuss how we can meet your needs.”
Here’s an opening that I’m sure someone, somewhere is probably using. Sound familiar?
“Ms. Prospect, Josh Verbose with Ecommerce Applications. We’re the premier solution provider of cost-effective ecommerce systems. We help companies by facilitating their migration into electronic marketing by leveraging their options to meet their ecommerce needs.”
I actually received a call similar to this. Not only did the guy’s monotone sound like he just arose out of bed with a stinging hangover, he slurred the unemotional pronunciation of words. The guy went on for at least 90 seconds, nonstop, with his droning. I was not a prospect, and even if I were, I wouldn’t have been interested based on this stale opening packed with meaningless words.
Here are a couple of fundamental ideas to keep in mind before and during your calls.
1) Know who you’re talking to, both company and position-wise.
The guy who called me was clearly barking up the wrong tree. To avoid wasted time, energy, and resistance he could have simply said to my assistant, “I want to be sure that what I have would be of some interest for your company. Please tell me … ” followed by some qualifying questions (using precise language).
2) Use clear terminology to quickly create interest.
Let me say this again: You have just seconds to create interest at the beginning of a call. You do this by alluding to what you might be able to do for the prospect, and then asking a question.
“Art, depending on how you’re using your existing list of customers, we might have a way to help you get two or three times the amount of repeat business you’re doing now. I’d like to ask a few questions to see if it would make sense for us to speak further.”
Above all else, avoid stilted words and tired phrases when simpler and more precise ones will do. An article in Sales and Marketing Management magazine suggested:
- “Use” instead of “utilize”
- “Talk” instead of “have a dialogue”
- “Help” instead of “facilitate”
Examine your own language, both in your openings, and in all parts of your sales calls. Are you creating resistance instead of interest? If so, change your approach today.
Editor’s note: This post originally appeared on Smart Calling Online and is republished here with permission.
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