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Effective Introductions: Avoiding the Barf Factor.

by Corporate Logo on June 4, 2008

During a recent presentation, I was discussing the importance of being able to deliver a clear, concise message when you first meet with a prospect. The group and I agreed that a quick, 30-second introduction would be an effective approach. A participant challenged me, saying that an introduction of this nature sounded canned and rehearsed. As he recited his opening message, I fully agreed with him – it did sound canned. Not to mention, extremely difficult to understand.

Unfortunately, he made one of the fatal mistakes that many salespeople make when they first introduce themselves to a potential client. The mistake is to barf on them. Not figuratively, of course, but verbally. Too many salespeople mistakenly believe that they should open their conversation with a background and history of their companies or a complete description of their products, services, or solutions. It’s seems as if they can’t control what comes out of their mouths once opened. They puke. They barf. They spew all over themselves.

Instead, a great opening message or introduction follows a few key criteria:

• It focuses on the other person.
• It conveys how you help your clients and customers.
• It is easy to understand.
• It does not contain an excess of adverbs or adjectives.
• It intrigues the other person.
• It is delivered in a conversational tone.

Most salespeople start talking about their products or services instead of focusing their attention on the customers. The best way to focus on your customer is to state the benefit of your products and services and how they relate to your customer. Here is an example: “Mr. Adams, I’m Pat from Geeks R Us. We specialize in helping small businesses like yours fix computer problems. The reason I’m calling is to see if you ever have experienced computer problems, and, if so, how they have affected your business.”

Notice that this introduction briefly describes the salesperson’s business while clearly describing the problems he solves. It is brief – 42 words in total – and it takes less than 15 seconds to state. That means it is very easy to understand. You should script your introduction or opening; however, one of the challenges of creating a script is that it must sound like something you would actually say. I don’t know about you, but most of the people I know don’t use many descriptive words when they speak. And very few people write in the same tone in which they speak.

The individual in my workshop had memorized a written statement that described the services he provided. He wrote something that he thought looked good on paper, but it ended up sounding forced and stilted when spoken. Part of this was the number of adjectives and descriptive words he used. Limit your use of descriptive words. The shorter and more brief, the better. While I believe in the use of scripts, they cannot and must not sound like a script when you recite them. Your opening or introduction must be delivered in a conversational tone if you want it to achieve the intended results.

Consider the difference between a highly trained actor and a typical telemarketer who calls you in the evening. The actor portrays the emotion and feeling while the telemarketer simply reads the words. This means that you need to practice reciting your opening or introduction so it sounds natural, relaxed and conversational. If you’re not sure how your message sounds, ask someone you trust to evaluate it for you.

The barf factor also applies when you are delivering a presentation about your products and services. Instead of talking without taking a breath during your presentation, pause after a few moments and make sure that your customer is still following you and paying attention. It never ceases to amaze me how often a salesperson actually speeds up when they notice that their customer is tuning out or is no longer paying attention. As if that’s going to keep the other person’s attention!

Last, be careful not to barf on your customers when they expresses objections. It is far more effective to empathize with customers and check to make sure that you fully understand their concerns before you present a solution. I have watched hundreds, if not thousands, of salespeople in my workshops barf on their customers as they try to overcome objections. They ramble on and on trying to convince the customers why they should make a buying decision, instead of making one key point and checking to see if that makes sense to the customers.

Barfing shows a lack of control. What I mean is, you can’t usually control this bodily function when you are sick; and when you barf on someone during a sales conversation, it shows the same lack of control. Demonstrate your superior skill and ability by controlling what you say and how you say it.

This article was written by Mark Hunter for Corporate Logo Magazine.. Reprinted with permission.

Mark Hunter, The Sales Hunter, has been in sales for nearly 30 years. For the last 10 years, he has been a sales consultant helping individuals and companies identify better prospects, close more sales and profitably build long-term customer relationships. For more information, visit www.thesaleshunter.com or contact him at 402.598.6194.

 



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