The Worst Way to Start a Sales Call

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The way most salespeople start a prospect meeting sets them up to lose the deal. Learn why in this episode of the Sales Management Minute.

Most traditional sales training programs teach salespeople to begin sales calls by saying, “What I want (or would like) to do today is…” While that may sound pleasant, it makes an awful first impression on the person sitting on the other side of the desk. Think about the perception people have of those in sales. Most would say salespeople only care about making the sale. By beginning a meeting by saying, “what I want to do…” reinforces that the salesperson’s agenda is more important than the prospect’s objectives? Taking a step back, other than Mom, no one cares what you want. It’s sad, but true. Every time a salesperson conveys “I want,” they are one step closer to losing the deal. Too bad there isn’t a way to make it illegal for salespeople to ever utter “I want” to a prospect. So what would be a better starter? How about something like… “For this to be a good use of your time, what are you hoping to take away from this meeting?” This subtle, but powerful, shift in communication style sends a very different message than the “I want” one. Not only does the prospect hear that you are primarily focused on helping her, but you’ve also differentiated yourself…putting you one step closer to winning the account. This approach doesn’t mean that salespeople shouldn’t have a call strategy. They absolutely need one, but it shouldn’t appear that their needs are superior to those of their prospects. See you next time on the Sales Management Minute.

Lee B. Salz is a leading sales management strategist specializing in helping companies build scalable, high-performance sales organizations through hiring the right salespeople, effectively onboarding them, and aligning their sales activities with business objectives through process, metrics and compensation. He is the Founder and CEO of Sales Architects, Business Expert Webinars and The Revenue Accelerator. Lee has authored several books including award-winning,  best-seller “Hire Right, Higher Profits.” He is a results-driven sales management consultant and a passionate, dynamic speaker . Lee can be reached at lsalz@SalesArchitects.net or 763.416.4321.