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Favorite Openers

When making initial contact with a prospect do you have a favorite opener to 'gain the prospect's attention, holding interest, and secure approval to ask questions'? - by Houston
When I met people casually it sometimes becomes a prospecting moment that happens in an organic way notwithstanding my experience in listening and asking questions.

When I call a prospect what I say is a very concise statement about what I'm offering and if it's something the person wants or not. Sometimes there's a minute or so of conversation before that because of a unique situation.

My goal is not to gain the prospect's attention or do anything to hold it or secure approval to ask questions. The prospect will give me his/her attention and hold interest if my offer is what he/she wants. After that it's a matter of inquiry and seeing if there is a mutual reason for heading toward a finish - or beginning, if you will.

I also need to determine if the prospect is someone I can trust and not disqualify.

MitchM - by MitchM
You cannot know what their specific interest is. Therefore, opening with a specific benefit that a feature of your product or service might supply is a no-no, as it may be one of no or little interest to that prospect and lock you into; "I am not interested!"

This is hard or nearly impossible to recover from in an opening situation.

Professional prospectors use a general benefit statement (GBS) for this very reason. They need to have the chance to conduct a proper sales meeting to ask questions to uncover specific needs of interest to that prospect.

There is a completely different way to look at this; if you target a specific benefit that addresses one need, like weight loss, and the person is not interested, even though they may be slightly over weight, you may loose the opportunity to talk to them but what does the prospect loose? All this NEW AGE baloney misses out on this critical point ... if you blow it you would blow it for your prospect too!

Let's say, for sake of argument, that you are in the Health and Wellness industry (MLM) and what you could be showing them in terms of specific benefits from your products (not the opportunity) was one of the following;

Feature - Benefit

(A) Weight Loss - " ...you feel and look better!"
(B) Longevity - " ... believe it or not, you may actually live 15 years longer!
(C) Improved circulation - Diabetics; " ... you would not have to have your feet amputated!"

If you opened with the benefit for diabetics, and the prospect was not a diabetic, then you will have wasted their time. The same could be true for weight loss, if that person does not mind being 25 LBS overweight, then you may have wasted their opportunity - for instance to live longer!

Now, I used the Health and Wellness industry mostly for Mitch's benefit. Please understand, that I am not an expert in diabetes, life extension or the particular benefits of Mitch's products, just trying to put it in familiar terms without doing any research.

Applied to any B2B industry and the benefits to any business' these usually boil down to money or profit through various things like efficiency or reduced overhead. Many sales people think employee moral is a benefit, though it is actually an advantage that leads to increased profit, as happier people produce more (like through a profit sharing plan, for instance).

That is the trouble with this NEW AGE sales training. Some where along the line some sales people who became trainers got this notion that influence was bad, which is both a VALID and an INVALID statement (it can be used for both good and bad), so they recommend a selling system of avoiding influence. That is where you "just tell them what you got and they will be interested or not interested" ... concept comes from. However, in this insane desire to avoid selling, caused by a personal value system that tells them selling is bad, they forget that the prospect may be the big looser!

Incredibly, this same school goes on and on about the importance of telling the prospect everything in order not to get caught into inadvertently lying by omission, not realizing that once again the prospect's time was wasted!!!

How many times has a prospect been pissed off by a sales