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Ice-Breakers

Does anyone have a few favorite "Ice Breakers"? - by SalesGuy
How about curiosity and interest When at a loss for words...ask questions. Everyone likes to talk about themselves to an interested listener. In my B2B sales, when I walk through the door, I am often introduced to all kinds of businesses I have never noticed before. I love to ask about the workings of their business: I learn, and we both feel more at ease. Also, everyone who walks through their door is a potential customer to them (even if they came in with a different motive). If they are smart, they will be nice and helpful to you because you may come back as a customer, and you talk to a lot of people in the course of your day. You may send someone their way. - by RainMaker
IMO, the key to "Ice Breakers" is "Involvement." Anything that gets your target involved in the discussion and interacting with you will fit the bill. For some situations well formed "questions" will do the trick while in other scenarios Ice Breaker "activities" are more in order. - by Jolly Roger
Ice-Breakers are so specific to situation and industry its hard just to post some....
I guess its like saying "give me your best pick-up lines that will be sure to get me a date"... Its best to use the tools/objects of the given situation.

But in the spirit of being vague and unhelpfull... here are some funny ones:
From Gittomer:
Hey my name is Jeff and you dont know me from a sack of potatoes but... (begin sales call)
(he also mentions a guy who brings a pig in with him to all his sales calls... ) he says "The pig is the real sales guy, im jsut the interpreter" etc...

If their office has a no soliciting sign:
Hey bob, i happened to not notice your no-soliciting sign out side... then smile real big! laugh and begin the meeting.

Ask your prospects for help. When i call to set up a meeting with a manager to schedule a sales presentation with a group of decision makers... i get them on the phone and ask "Hey bill, I dont know if im talking to the right person here... so im hoping you can help me out... who would i talk to in regards to ... (selling :
office products/printers: shrinking the size of your waste baskets?
insurance: making sure all of your working employees say healthy and working!
property investement/forclosure fishing: saving your CREDIT!

etc.... anything to get them to break what they are doing in their mind and give you their attention... along with thinking up of some benifit..

if they have golf trophies/magazines in office, talk to them about golf, baseball [=] baseball... this is all common sense stuff..

Like i said, breaking the ice is so specific to industry and situation its hard to pull anything out of my bum that will help everyone! but one thing is certain... no amount of technique/style overcomes a fantastic sense of overwhelming humor... That is my VERY humble oppinion and its opened to be changed if someone can proove a better one works :)

Cheers!

jasonc - by jasonc
(he also mentions a guy who brings a pig in with him to all his sales calls... ) he says "The pig is the real sales guy, im jsut the interpreter" etc...
Now, why didn't I think of that? :rolleyes:

I've always had a bit of an honest approach to things...I used to cold call people and start right out by saying: "I know you're busy, but before you hang up on me, I just want to tell you the two most important things I have to say..."

People would be caught off guard by my own acknowlegement that I knew they wanted to get rid of me, and that I was making light of it. Some even chuckled or outwardly denied it..."No...I wouldn't do that..." - by RainMaker

People would be caught off guard by my own acknowlegement that I knew they wanted to get rid of me, and that I was making light of it. Some even chuckled or outwardly denied it..."No...I wouldn't do that..."
On a serious note though... I always take the approach of the humble entreprenure...
This is what I say:

Hey John, Im a young entreprenure doing business here in the community, and I have something that i really think can benifit you and your team... can i just have a moment of your time?

If they say no... i CLOSE for a follow-up TIME... not a general thing. i pin down to the minute what time to call back, then send a follow up e-mail b4 I call them reminding them of my call.
I obtain their e-mail by saying im going to send them some info to look over b4 my next follow-up call.
usually its no big deal... or if it is, I call back and ask for the secretary for their e-mail addres They give it to me because i make it SOUND like im prospecting to build resistance to speaking with the DM on the phone, then i close for their e-mail address by saying "Ya know, i dont want to waste johns time on the phone, you understand that,... I have a PDF with my products brochure i just want to send him to look over..."
Objections: Mail it to us... Fax it to us...

But between both of those approaches I get e-mail addresses about 8 out of 10 times...

Or i'll use this approach...
Hey john, I dont know if what i have will make sense for you or your team, but i really feel like i have something that will benifit you guys, can i just borrow a moment from ya,,, i promise i'll give it right back!

and agin, pin down a time if they say no.

Hope that helps.
Jason - by jasonc
For me to Break the Ice would be just start talking and just go with the flow like you would start a converstation with a friend but im not gonna act like his my friend already. But just see how the person is and go with it. There is 2 ways to doing things simple and unsimple lol the simple is always nice instead of complicating something that doesnt need to be complicated. - by Sanddollar
For me, I would try to break the ice by making friend with him/her first. An informal business talk would make the follow up more easier. - by khunvi
I think the key to making lines like jasonc mentioned work is not to make them sound like lines per se - if they can flow naturally and not sound like you're trying too hard, then you'll definitely get attention. But if they sound robotic and don't fit your personality at all, then they sound like gimmicks. - by CarrieGee
Spoken naturally, not stilted, and mixed with a little enthusiasm I think Jason's lines would elicit positive responses. - by Jolly Roger
alot of times it helps to just act clueless and be as much of a down to earth person as possible. I get some ppl's gaurd down by telling them i'm a newbie and I'm just trying to learn the business so excuse me if I ask some stupid questions. Some ppl dont think that's the best approach b/c it may make you lose credability but I think it helps the prospect relax and not feel you are a sales machine ready to go in for the kill. I have a hard time with ice breakers though, especially when you first walk in and they ask you straight up, "what do you need?" It's tough to go in to an ice breaker right after that. - by halidon
From a merchant point of view though, thinking that your sales rep is "clueless" isn't very confidence-inspiring. I'd rather deal with someone who knows what they're doing, knows their service or product inside and out, and can give me solid details without too much flash or over-selling. - by CarrieGee
From a merchant point of view though, thinking that your sales rep is "clueless" isn't very confidence-inspiring. I'd rather deal with someone who knows what they're doing, knows their service or product inside and out, and can give me solid details without too much flash or over-selling.
well, i think it matters too if your Consciously incompetent or if your unconsciously incompetent. If you know you don't have all the answers to their questions, but you can get for them pretty quickly, I dont think that makes you lose too much credibility. They know your a hard worker and your willing to do your best for their account. If you dont know the answers, and you just make something up say you dont know and never follow up on it to get the answers, than that might be a bigger problem. Also, I think what I meant may have been more along the lines of asking them about their business and industry and acting clueless about that, not necessarily about your company and what you do. Maybe a question to start out like "you think you can help me out? I'm trying to find out ....etc... rather than walking up and saying, I'm with XYX corp, I need to talk to the owner of this company." Get my drift? - by halidon
I'm afraid that as a customer, the line about "I have something that I *really* think can benefit you...." would be the time I'd want to stop listening. Unless the salesperson actually DID know me or my business personally, I'd just feel (not say aloud unless it was a really bad day ;sm ) that they couldn't possibly know what would benefit me and I don't have time for a sales pitch.

I apologize for not remembering who said it here, but the honest approach and saying that you want to just tell me the two most important things before I get rid of you would make me at least want to take the time to listen.

- Des - by destiny
Maybe a question to start out like "you think you can help me out? I'm trying to find out ....etc... rather than walking up and saying, I'm with XYX corp, I need to talk to the owner of this company." Get my drift?
This I agree with, and being down-to-earth as well. Pretty much you have to be yourself, but confidence in whatever it is you're selling goes a long way. ;) - by CarrieGee
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