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Discussion Openers

Please post your script(s) for: "Discussion Openers."
- by Jeff Blackwell
The reason for wanting to meet with you today is to let you know about an idea we came up with to help companies like yours reduce waste by 25% immediately. Do you want to hear more? - by WobblyBox
The reason for wanting to meet with you today is to let you know about an idea we came up with to help companies like yours reduce waste by 25% immediately. Do you want to hear more?

very catchy! 25%! but in stead of "Do you want to hear more?" which allow the prospect to choose between Yes/No

Instead, replace with, "What time is is it a good time we can schedule so I can fill you in with all the in depth details? 1pm or 5pm which is better for you?" - by djphong
I'm in the do-you-want-to-know-more camp because it opens more doors and keeps a NO also open for future prospecting.

It opens more doors because you can move onto the next call looking for an immediate fit AND the NO respected today often brings a YES tomorrow.

This paradigm shift is a challenging one for most people depending how entrenched they are with other paradigm habits.

MitchM - by MitchM
I'm in the do-you-want-to-know-more camp because it opens more doors and keeps a NO also open for future prospecting.

It opens more doors because you can move onto the next call looking for an immediate fit AND the NO respected today often brings a YES tomorrow.

This paradigm shift is a challenging one for most people depending how entrenched they are with other paradigm habits.

MitchM
IMHO "Do you want to know more" is a dangerous opening for tire kickers. My preference includes some sort of could we do business if qualifier. - by GSHart
Choosing a technique that incorporates the lack of a definitive action plan is nothing to do with a paradigm shift, it is counter productive and worse. To suggest it was a Paradigm Shift is to suggest there is a new way of thinking adopted by a fractional group, which is totally false.

The "Nouveau Sales Factions" or so-called "New Age Sales Schools" think they invented this anti-selling approach, they didn't. The “I don’t want to be seen as a salesman who uses selling skills” person who is employed in a selling job, believe me, they have been around a long time, the Internet has just allowed them to connect more easily.

And, I must say, sadly, to some degree, with the Internet being what it is and people giving into their own fears rather than facing them to learn the truth ... this has created more “New Agers” who are reverting back in salesmanship learning some 60 years plus … thankfully, it has not infected serious sales training organizations and for good reason.

It has been thoroughly proven - the originator as far as we know was Socrates - that the human animal is such that they have a tough time making snap decisions. In fact, there is a sizable chunk of research work and studies done on the difference between a final YES or NO and a minor alternative decision, what you might even call a QUALIFIED MAYBE, which long ago became known as Socratic Choice.

People, as in Judges - smart people, they can and do get hung up on major decisions but have been shown to make relatively minor ones far more easily, this is a simple fact of life. In other words, SHOULD WE MEET is tougher than SHOULD WE MEET ON TUESDAY or THURSDAY?

In the old Malt Counters in General Stores the question of the day when you ordered a float/malt was “Would you like an egg with that?” The answer was almost always no. Guess what happened when they changed the question to “Do you want one egg with that or two?” Sales literally skyrocketed!

The example in the paragraph above is a real one that came from the late 50’s and early 60’s. That is how long we have understood the difference between a major decision and a minor one.

Have you ever read about a customer who went to a Malt Shop and was mad at the audacity of the server asking if they wanted “one egg or two”? No? Why not? Because they were not offended, that's why.

The same is true with “Do you want to get together on Thursday or is one day next week better for you so we can get down to cases on how we can reduce your company waste by 25% and thereby saving tens of thousands a year?”

Look, it is simply not possible to understand the complexity of a situation on the phone or in passing, not even seemingly simple ones, that is why the meetings in business are required and a normal process. It is why true professionals request a meet to conduct all manners of transactions, much more so if they are B2B types.

However, it should be noted, even in home businesses, like MLM, it is part of the law that governs how business is conducted (legally). In the U.S. we are talking about what became known as The Amway Exception - in Canada it is Sections 55 & 55.1 of The Competitions Act, which states that you; “must disclose information in a timely fashion” (as in ‘not all at once’), as even law makers understand you can't spit it all out up front in what amounts to verbal diarrhea and expect a prospective buyer not to be overwhelmed.

A meeting or more than one is normal.

Given the little bit of general information that you can share in passing when you meet in public or on the phone ... please, do not expect to ask your prospect to make a YES or NO decision. Because you know that person is incapable of doing so and therefore may revert to programmed response from their psyche, usually without even realizing it, and hear themselves say “NO”, even without that response registering on their radar for what it is.

You see, the brain does a … REJECT, I CANNOT PROCESS THIS NOW ... notice I did not put quotes around those capitalized words. That was because this was a SUB CONSCIOUS thought!

It is hard wired into us. Busy days, decisions and normal or abnormal levels of pressure cause us to be overwhelmed at times, even the best - top level executives that are masters at keeping communications on track -occasionally have a REJECT REFLEX once in a while. And this happens without conscious awareness even in the smartest people.

You have to get this.
If any seller did their research well, when they end up talking to a prospect on the phone, they know that the prospect’s company is very likely to have serious need but you cannot prove it nor disprove it without a meeting, hence the call and the proposed action plan.

Let them stop you from setting a meeting, don’t help them do it. Why? Because it is not in their best interest, that’s why!

Do not try and tell me that a NO at the prospecting stage means anything. All it means is the prospect got hung up or had a REJECT REFLEX in their over stimulated brain, not "No I am not interested in your product” ... not even a … "No, I am not interested in dealing with you personally" ...or any other rationale decision.

Here is the real bottom line for the fractional camp that think they have invented a paradigm in sales - who really do not get the true implications of this; your product may have been perfect for them but because of you they are not going to buy it and will loose money/time/profit (or even health)!

If the prospect did not end up buying what they needed or wanted in this case it was not because of them it was because of you. And there is also a very personal reason for trying to understand people and better communicate with them properly rather than using a "New Age Sales" methodology, that is your time too.

Getting a prospect on the phone takes time and effort, time you have too little of. If you allow this person to make a major decision that is probably not good for them or their company when all that was needed was a minor one ... because you did not do what was BEST FOR THEM - getting out of your own way so that they can decide AFTER you have made a proper presentation, not before, then shame on you!

Any other outcome than a successful meeting booked and qualified afterward (yes, you do ask qualifying questions but only AFTER the booking!) and not only did you do the prospective customer a disservice you also wasted your time - the former being a crime, the latter costing you money too.

Mature decision makers are NOT OFFENDED by trying to get a meeting, in fact they are often impressed. Not one has ever said anything like this to me; "How dare you assume that you should have some of my time and close for the appointment!"

The same is true as with the “one egg or two” close, there has never been a report of offense from this.

Furthermore, the best sales people do occasionally generate offense but that is for a later conversation – one that has to do with trying hard enough.

I have closed for the appointment as djphong suggested and got a "NO." I have also heard "Send me some information" but never any form of offense. So, how is it a NO leaves the door open to a YES later and a YES does not???

Is anyone stating clearly at this site that they are more likely to get "in" to a prospect latter when they have not met than a sales person can with a prospect they have had a meeting with? I tell you, this sounds ludicrous even proof reading it after typing it!

If the "New Agers" think they are ruining their territory or whatever by calling people, arguing that relationship building is important to future business, well, I got news for them. I get appointments about twice as often as those who use "Do you want to hear more?" So that means I have twice as many relationships as you do and therefore have twice as many NO’s to go back to. Incidentally, I have twice as many clients to go back to also!

And half as much time to post on this forum ...

The greatest research ever done in the sales industry showed that those who consistently out performed others used these skills, that Socratic choice was critical. And that other communications skills where more apt to help the buyer get what they want and need. These techniques actually HELP or FACILITATE buying, as apposed to mamby-pamby-ing around the real game, they get down to it, stop wasting the prospects time, which prospects appreciate, and assisted them in buying more frequently ( as well as saying NO more frequently).

This is not a matter of opinion. It was thoroughly proven. Those who use these techniques deal with more HOT prospects than the NEW AGERS do.

I have NOT SEEN any serious research about "New Age Selling" that compares to Neil Rackham's outfit sending researchers on 30,000+ sales calls, if there was it would prove what we have known since the 50's in our profession and since the days of Socrates in general philosophy, that people get hung up on major decisions, that more successful outcomes are arrived at after prospects see value.

So don't ask prospects for a major decision - for God's sake, because if you do, you moron you (this is directed at anyone, no one specifically), you will blow it for them and you!

I have done it, everyone has but you must learn from your mistakes and from the greats that came before us (not from those poor examples of salesmanship we have all been privy to).

Clearly, it is far easier for you or any buyer, to decide a minor alternative than the major one. It has been proven in social studies research, human psychological behavior research and on actual sales calls (over 30,000 of them by an independent researcher who was not a trained sales person!). No one has ever proven the opposite to be true; that by forcing the major decision, which incurs the possible penalty of blowing a prospective sale now and having less customers later, you will have a greater chance to sell a prospect latter. And no one has ever proven that Socratic Choice caused a prospect to close the door on you latter either and for good reason, it doesn’t!

The whole premise is completely and totally nuts. Seriously, I am flabbergasted by people who think they should try and disprove what has been known since Jesus Christ walked on the face of this planet.

Ultimately, those people who believe selling is bad were conditioned by generations of non sales types, all who have had the unfortunate experience we have all had; they got their feathers ruffled by a person who was an amateur in sales, someone who did not know any better and thought pressure was synonymous with 'good psychology' and or good salesmanship!

The result was that these people think they know what sales is and would never want to do that. And, then, along comes a prodigal son of a sales hater, thinking he is an original and that; “There has to be a better way!” The end result? The same ol’ amateurish ideas get kicked around again, Socrates roles in his grave and true professionals’ shake their heads is utter disgust.

The ugly part is not that anyone believes there is a change in people or a change in selling or that people are more knowledgeable today or any of the other redirect that passes for profound sales insight today, it is that young impressionable minds are learning from these backwards thinkers, furthering that what was formerly true professional sales (hence the word paradigm - as in we will be the dinosaurs of selling soon) should be held in disdain, which is the real issue.

Pushy sales people (pushies for short) and those with real skill (skillful for short) – these are the two types of sales people most common in the world. The “New Ager” is a third type – a person most likely who grew up with one or more sales haters as parents who conditioned them into thinking that sales techniques are manipulative because they experienced ‘pushies’ rather than being exposed to the skillful, proving what their parents taught them inadvertently by their attitudes after a sales person left their home when they were kids.

Most people never have an experience with a skillful sales pro, why? Because they don’t make any decisions that are profitable enough to warrant a real pro to meet with them.

The great insurance reps deal with super successful people … other great sales people work on big time B2B business, like Process Improvement (this bills at $10,000 a man-week, minimum of two consultants working) or are high level stock brokers or high end mutual fund sales people or work in Fractioned Ownership … meaning that those New Agers have never been treated to the real deal. That is another reason why they want to reinvent sales, they have never truly experienced it, instead they have experienced the thing they (and we) find offensive - a pushy sales person.

If your desire is to find a kindler gentler way to sell, and you think “I would not want to be like that” or “I would never want to make someone feel that way” the chances are overwhelmingly in favor that you lean toward NEW AGE SELLING. And, it is really not your fault – you simply don’t know any better.

The good news is we can teach you … we can help you understand that there is more to this than you were aware. You can learn that the really great sales people are loving human beings too, that their families love them, that they are respected in the community, that they give more at Church or to charities … while it is not true that great sales people are necessarily better people it is also not true that they aren’t.

So there you have it, in general we are just as decent as human being as NEW AGERS are and we earn more. What more proof do you want?

Follow new age selling principles at your own risk! - by Gold Calling
In my first post on this thread I put the cart before the horse at least in most networking situations - for direct cold calling I stand by my original post because it's full proof and it works.

BUT having said that, in social situaitions and in some prospecting situations mostly those calling our answering service responding to a radio or classified ad, we've always used the acronym FORM to form a relationship:

Family
Occupation
Recreation
Message

Many of you know this - you find out about family, occupation and recreation so your message fits what that person is looking for or what's missing.

It's casual and specific and revealing.

So Jeff the opener is a casual HELLO and as the conversation developes those things are shared and explored. I love what Zig Zigler says: sales is a conversation with a destination.

Happy selling y'all.

MitchM - by MitchM
Choosing a technique that incorporates the lack of a definitive action plan is nothing to do with a paradigm shift, it is counter productive and worse. To suggest it was a Paradigm Shift is to suggest there is a new way of thinking adopted by a fractional group, which is totally false.

The "Nouveau Sales Factions" or so-called "New Age Sales Schools" think they invented this anti-selling approach, they didn't. The “I don’t want to be seen as a salesman who uses selling skills” person who is employed in a selling job, believe me, they have been around a long time, the Internet has just allowed them to connect more easily.

And, I must say, sadly, to some degree, with the Internet being what it is and people giving into their own fears rather than facing them to learn the truth ... this has created more “New Agers” who are reverting back in salesmanship learning some 60 years plus … thankfully, it has not infected serious sales training organizations and for good reason.

It has been thoroughly proven - the originator as far as we know was Socrates - that the human animal is such that they have a tough time making snap decisions. In fact, there is a sizable chunk of research work and studies done on the difference between a final YES or NO and a minor alternative decision, what you might even call a QUALIFIED MAYBE, which long ago became known as Socratic Choice.

People, as in Judges - smart people, they can and do get hung up on major decisions but have been shown to make relatively minor ones far more easily, this is a simple fact of life. In other words, SHOULD WE MEET is tougher than SHOULD WE MEET ON TUESDAY or THURSDAY?

In the old Malt Counters in General Stores the question of the day when you ordered a float/malt was “Would you like an egg with that?” The answer was almost always no. Guess what happened when they changed the question to “Do you want one egg with that or two?” Sales literally skyrocketed!

The example in the paragraph above is a real one that came from the late 50’s and early 60’s. That is how long we have understood the difference between a major decision and a minor one.

Have you ever read about a customer who went to a Malt Shop and was mad at the audacity of the server asking if they wanted “one egg or two”? No? Why not? Because they were not offended, that's why.

The same is true with “Do you want to get together on Thursday or is one day next week better for you so we can get down to cases on how we can reduce your company waste by 25% and thereby saving tens of thousands a year?”

Look, it is simply not possible to understand the complexity of a situation on the phone or in passing, not even seemingly simple ones, that is why the meetings in business are required and a normal process. It is why true professionals request a meet to conduct all manners of transactions, much more so if they are B2B types.

However, it should be noted, even in home businesses, like MLM, it is part of the law that governs how business is conducted (legally). In the U.S. we are talking about what became known as The Amway Exception - in Canada it is Sections 55 & 55.1 of The Competitions Act, which states that you; “must disclose information in a timely fashion” (as in ‘not all at once’), as even law makers understand you can't spit it all out up front in what amounts to verbal diarrhea and expect a prospective buyer not to be overwhelmed.

A meeting or more than one is normal.

Given the little bit of general information that you can share in passing when you meet in public or on the phone ... please, do not expect to ask your prospect to make a YES or NO decision. Because you know that person is incapable of doing so and therefore may revert to programmed response from their psyche, usually without even realizing it, and hear themselves say “NO”, even without that response registering on their radar for what it is.

You see, the brain does a … REJECT, I CANNOT PROCESS THIS NOW ... notice I did not put quotes around those capitalized words. That was because this was a SUB CONSCIOUS thought!

It is hard wired into us. Busy days, decisions and normal or abnormal levels of pressure cause us to be overwhelmed at times, even the best - top level executives that are masters at keeping communications on track -occasionally have a REJECT REFLEX once in a while. And this happens without conscious awareness even in the smartest people.

You have to get this.
If any seller did their research well, when they end up talking to a prospect on the phone, they know that the prospect’s company is very likely to have serious need but you cannot prove it nor disprove it without a meeting, hence the call and the proposed action plan.

Let them stop you from setting a meeting, don’t help them do it. Why? Because it is not in their best interest, that’s why!

Do not try and tell me that a NO at the prospecting stage means anything. All it means is the prospect got hung up or had a REJECT REFLEX in their over stimulated brain, not "No I am not interested in your product” ... not even a … "No, I am not interested in dealing with you personally" ...or any other rationale decision.

Here is the real bottom line for the fractional camp that think they have invented a paradigm in sales - who really do not get the true implications of this; your product may have been perfect for them but because of you they are not going to buy it and will loose money/time/profit (or even health)!

If the prospect did not end up buying what they needed or wanted in this case it was not because of them it was because of you. And there is also a very personal reason for trying to understand people and better communicate with them properly rather than using a "New Age Sales" methodology, that is your time too.

Getting a prospect on the phone takes time and effort, time you have too little of. If you allow this person to make a major decision that is probably not good for them or their company when all that was needed was a minor one ... because you did not do what was BEST FOR THEM - getting out of your own way so that they can decide AFTER you have made a proper presentation, not before, then shame on you!

Any other outcome than a successful meeting booked and qualified afterward (yes, you do ask qualifying questions but only AFTER the booking!) and not only did you do the prospective customer a disservice you also wasted your time - the former being a crime, the latter costing you money too.

Mature decision makers are NOT OFFENDED by trying to get a meeting, in fact they are often impressed. Not one has ever said anything like this to me; "How dare you assume that you should have some of my time and close for the appointment!"

The same is true as with the “one egg or two” close, there has never been a report of offense from this.

Furthermore, the best sales people do occasionally generate offense but that is for a later conversation – one that has to do with trying hard enough.

I have closed for the appointment as djphong suggested and got a "NO." I have also heard "Send me some information" but never any form of offense. So, how is it a NO leaves the door open to a YES later and a YES does not???

Is anyone stating clearly at this site that they are more likely to get "in" to a prospect latter when they have not met than a sales person can with a prospect they have had a meeting with? I tell you, this sounds ludicrous even proof reading it after typing it!

If the "New Agers" think they are ruining their territory or whatever by calling people, arguing that relationship building is important to future business, well, I got news for them. I get appointments about twice as often as those who use "Do you want to hear more?" So that means I have twice as many relationships as you do and therefore have twice as many NO’s to go back to. Incidentally, I have twice as many clients to go back to also!

And half as much time to post on this forum ...

The greatest research ever done in the sales industry showed that those who consistently out performed others used these skills, that Socratic choice was critical. And that other communications skills where more apt to help the buyer get what they want and need. These techniques actually HELP or FACILITATE buying, as apposed to mamby-pamby-ing around the real game, they get down to it, stop wasting the prospects time, which prospects appreciate, and assisted them in buying more frequently ( as well as saying NO more frequently).

This is not a matter of opinion. It was thoroughly proven. Those who use these techniques deal with more HOT prospects than the NEW AGERS do.

I have NOT SEEN any serious research about "New Age Selling" that compares to Neil Rackham's outfit sending researchers on 30,000+ sales calls, if there was it would prove what we have known since the 50's in our profession and since the days of Socrates in general philosophy, that people get hung up on major decisions, that more successful outcomes are arrived at after prospects see value.

So don't ask prospects for a major decision - for God's sake, because if you do, you moron you (this is directed at anyone, no one specifically), you will blow it for them and you!

I have done it, everyone has but you must learn from your mistakes and from the greats that came before us (not from those poor examples of salesmanship we have all been privy to).

Clearly, it is far easier for you or any buyer, to decide a minor alternative than the major one. It has been proven in social studies research, human psychological behavior research and on actual sales calls (over 30,000 of them by an independent researcher who was not a trained sales person!). No one has ever proven the opposite to be true; that by forcing the major decision, which incurs the possible penalty of blowing a prospective sale now and having less customers later, you will have a greater chance to sell a prospect latter. And no one has ever proven that Socratic Choice caused a prospect to close the door on you latter either and for good reason, it doesn’t!

The whole premise is completely and totally nuts. Seriously, I am flabbergasted by people who think they should try and disprove what has been known since Jesus Christ walked on the face of this planet.

Ultimately, those people who believe selling is bad were conditioned by generations of non sales types, all who have had the unfortunate experience we have all had; they got their feathers ruffled by a person who was an amateur in sales, someone who did not know any better and thought pressure was synonymous with 'good psychology' and or good salesmanship!

The result was that these people think they know what sales is and would never want to do that. And, then, along comes a prodigal son of a sales hater, thinking he is an original and that; “There has to be a better way!” The end result? The same ol’ amateurish ideas get kicked around again, Socrates roles in his grave and true professionals’ shake their heads is utter disgust.

The ugly part is not that anyone believes there is a change in people or a change in selling or that people are more knowledgeable today or any of the other redirect that passes for profound sales insight today, it is that young impressionable minds are learning from these backwards thinkers, furthering that what was formerly true professional sales (hence the word paradigm - as in we will be the dinosaurs of selling soon) should be held in disdain, which is the real issue.

Pushy sales people (pushies for short) and those with real skill (skillful for short) – these are the two types of sales people most common in the world. The “New Ager” is a third type – a person most likely who grew up with one or more sales haters as parents who conditioned them into thinking that sales techniques are manipulative because they experienced ‘pushies’ rather than being exposed to the skillful, proving what their parents taught them inadvertently by their attitudes after a sales person left their home when they were kids.

Most people never have an experience with a skillful sales pro, why? Because they don’t make any decisions that are profitable enough to warrant a real pro to meet with them.

The great insurance reps deal with super successful people … other great sales people work on big time B2B business, like Process Improvement (this bills at $10,000 a man-week, minimum of two consultants working) or are high level stock brokers or high end mutual fund sales people or work in Fractioned Ownership … meaning that those New Agers have never been treated to the real deal. That is another reason why they want to reinvent sales, they have never truly experienced it, instead they have experienced the thing they (and we) find offensive - a pushy sales person.

If your desire is to find a kindler gentler way to sell, and you think “I would not want to be like that” or “I would never want to make someone feel that way” the chances are overwhelmingly in favor that you lean toward NEW AGE SELLING. And, it is really not your fault – you simply don’t know any better.

The good news is we can teach you … we can help you understand that there is more to this than you were aware. You can learn that the really great sales people are loving human beings too, that their families love them, that they are respected in the community, that they give more at Church or to charities … while it is not true that great sales people are necessarily better people it is also not true that they aren’t.

So there you have it, in general we are just as decent as human being as NEW AGERS are and we earn more. What more proof do you want?

Follow new age selling principles at your own risk!
If we are going to drum up Socrates to make a case, I think it's important not to ignore Socratic Virtues. Among them are two that I wish to cite: willingness to revise one's opinion, and respect for other points of view. I hope you will agree that Ol' Socrates might have frowned on describing others, with different opinions from our own. as "moron". I'll risk inclusion there, and exercise my Socratic Choice to say that I accept WobblyBox's suggestion, Wheelerian malt shop examples notwithstanding. - by Ace Coldiron
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