You walk in to see a prospect or you pick up the phone to call one. You’re all set to listen and to present your service or product in the best way. And then you make a big error. You open with “I”:
“I just wanted to make you aware of this month’s promotion.”
“I wanted to come by and give you some information about ...”
“I called to let you know that ...”
That “I” is your first mistake. Selling is not a ME-ME-ME proposition; it’s a YOU-YOU-YOU effort. So open with:
“Mr. Smith! It’s great to see you!”
Or “Are you Ms. Jones? Well hello, Ms. Jones!”
Or “Mr. Black! How’s progress for you?”
On the phone, try something like this, adapted for your area of expertise:
“Mr. Smith, Lenann Gardner at LMG Accounting Services, calling to get a sense of your situation there at Acme with the supplier you use for tax advice. May I ask who you’re using, Mr. Smith? Are you confident that they’re current with new changes and the tax law, and opportunities for deductions?”
“Mary Lou, it’s Lenann Gardner, calling with some ideas to improve the profitability of your Acme line. Can we set up a time to talk about some new technology affecting Acme?”
“John, it’s Lenann Gardner, calling from X Laboratory, to make you aware of some new research efforts that have begun in an area that I think may be useful to you in your work. Do you have a moment for me to make you aware of a couple of these new initiatives?”
Note that you address your prospect as they introduce themselves – whether on the phone, in voicemail, or in person. If your prospect says, “I’m Mary Jones,” you’d use both names: “Hi, Mary Jones, I’m Lenann Gardner.” If your prospect says he’s “John,” say, “Hello, John, I’m Lenann.” And then add a provocative statement and a question about something that’s important to your prospect.
Always express what you have to offer in terms of what’s important to your prospect. For example:
“I have some thoughts about helping you cut taxes, Mr. Smith,” rather than, “I want to talk to you about our new Tax Planning Program.”
More on the finer points of “I” versus “YOU” to come in the next post!