Sales training: Make an impression

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Q. How can I introduce myself and my company in a way that gets my prospect’s attention?

A. Let’s face it—your opening statement can make or break your business relationship with your prospects. It is the first impression they have of you, and it sets the stage for where your sales conversation is headed. You may be a very effective sales person and know your company’s services and offerings, but if you have a weak opening statement that doesn’t interest the customer, you are wasting your time, as well as your prospect’s time.

The key to an effective opening statement is to pique the customer’s interest by talking about something that interests them. Your prospects are bombarded by sales representatives day after day. What makes you unique and, more importantly, how are you going to help them with their challenges and issues? Your opening statement can help you get off to a good start by creating the expectation that you are there to understand their challenges,  to offer solutions and to create an ongoing partnership. Let’s take a look at what goes wrong with opening statements in a sales call:

  • I want to talk about myself, my company and my products without knowing your needs, challenges or interests.
  • The purpose of my sales call is to introduce myself to you, and convince and persuade you that we have the best company out there, so you should refer your patients to us.

Now let’s take a look at what a successful opening statement should include:

  • State your purpose: why you are there.
  • Create interest for the customer; use a benefit statement to state “what’s in it

for me.”

  • Personalize it—state their name.
  • Opening statement should be about their needs, challenges or interests.

Creating effective opening statements can differentiate you from the competition and build credibility in the eyes of your prospects. Your opening statement is the first and lasting impression that your prospect has of you, so make it memorable.

Susan McGinnis is a senior sales trainer for Philips Respironics Home Healthcare Solutions. Reach her at 724-387-4824 or