“Once you’re flat on the canvas, it doesn’t matter how great you would’ve been in the second round.”
The first seconds of any sales call are the worst.
The salesperson always knows they’re an interruption, and the prospect always knows they’re being ambushed.
It’s that awkwardness that often keeps salespeople doing anything BUT making calls, and keeps prospects sending every unknown number to voicemail.
Instead of treating sales calls like an inconvenience, what if there was a way we could make the first seconds of any sales conversation an opportunity to demonstrate empathy and build trust?
That’s what we sat down to discuss with Chris Beall, CEO of ConnectAndSell, a sales weapon that works with salespeople to drive tens of thousands of sales calls faster. Chris recognized that simply driving calls isn’t enough for salespeople to be successful, so we asked him what system his salespeople use to elicit interest, build trust and demonstrate understanding all within the first few seconds of a sales call.
Because we’re trimming hope from our sales strategy, we’ll use the acronym TRIM to guide us through creating a system with a trigger, ensuring it’s repeatable, building in ways to improve it and of course, ensuring it’s measurable and getting us results.
T – Trigger: To develop a system for dominating the first seven seconds of a sales conversation, Chris recommends beginning long before picking up the phone.
He says you need a market hypothesis reduced to a list and a value hypothesis reduced to a script. Without one, the best script won’t generate sales, and without the other, sales will die before they’re ever born.
In order to develop a trigger for an initial outreach call, we need to understand who we are reaching out to and what will get them curious enough to want to continue on the call with you. Being vague about who you’re reaching out to and what they’re interested in ensures that your initial interest is lukewarm at best and nonexistent at worse.
R- Repeatable: To make the success you want on the first seven seconds of a call repeatable, you need to get the steps laid out somewhere besides your head. ‘Winging it’ on a mission ensured we wouldn’t be bringing everyone home and winging it on a sales call ensures you won’t be closing anything anytime soon.
This sales system is deceptively simple, as it’s a consistent sentence used to open every call. Chris advises we say something we see the world through the prospect’s eyes:
“I know I’m an interruption. Can I have twenty-seven seconds to tell you why I called?”
From there, say, “I believe we’ve discovered something, a breakthrough in …” and then continue with something that your prospect is likely interested in.
Each word in that sentence has meaning and research behind it, as it involves a statement of belief and intimates that the breakthrough is backed up by a team.
Chris says to note that you’re not talking about the great things your company has done or which companies you’ve done it for when opening up with this statement.
Of course, practice under actual and simulated sales calls is essential to understand where your energy and intonation need to change in order to get permission to continue the rest of the call, set the meeting, and conduct discovery.
I – Improvable: To improve your call openings, Chris said to examine whether you’re adding marketing language or features about what you sell. That’s why it’s essential to improve your actual delivery of those opening words, as there are thousands of points in a 30-second conversation where you can improve what you say and perhaps, more importantly, how you say it.
Second, look at who you’re targeting with your messaging. After using this script against your list look at the people who are taking you up on your offer for a future meeting and asking what those folks have in common so you can take those patterns and improve your target list.
M – Measurable: Chris says measuring the outcome of a sale may take too long to measure the effectiveness of this system as many sales cycles close long after an initial conversation.
That’s why he says to focus on measuring the reps and the tactical results they’re getting. Measure how long reaps are actually staying on the phone and which ones are getting the most brush-offs. Figure out why your high performers are converting more and coach that into the reps getting the most brush offs.
That’s how to systemize the first seconds of any sales call and ensure you’re building trust early and often across all your prospects.