6 Horrendous Ways To Begin Your Sales Call (And What To Do Instead)

Hi. I’m Lauren. I’m writing to introduce myself as your Sales Hacker guest blogger.

WAIT! Kidding!! Don’t go!

Seriously, this was a HORRIBLE intro – and one of the most common problems we hear on inside sales calls.

I’m here to explain what NOT to do on sales call intros.

Join me for a chuckle (and a cringe) over the rest:

The “Show Up and Throw up Intro”

Combine a nervous rep and dead air, and this is what you get – one of the worst sales call intros ever. 

I’ve heard folks pack in their full bio, a short company history, the obligatory value prop, and get a good 1/3 down their product list before taking a breath.

It’s like we recruited under-water divers for the position. You can guess what the Decision Maker said when he worked a word in right?

5 seconds is the target folks. And the goal is to get THEM talking ASAP, not the other way around. 

The “Get Out of Jail Free Card Intro”

Yes, I said get them talking right away, but your question should NEVER be…

“Are you the person in charge of purchasing IT equipment at Factor 8?”

Who actually says yes to this? You’ve announced yourself as a sales person, as disinterested in the human you did (finally) connect with on the phone, and given them the ultimate path to lying their way out of a sales call. Ouch.

The “Yeah, It’s My Value Prop Intro”

It sounds like this:

“Hi, I’m LB calling with Factor 8.  We’re the leading inside sales training firm known for getting reps live on the phones getting results during training.”

[Tweet “The intro is NOT the time to start selling. It’s the time to engage the DM and get THEM talking! – @Factor8Sales”]

Let’s all promise right now (so I have my hand up in the air for this solemn oath, do you?) to make sales call intros about THEM (your prospect), not about you – the self-centered salesperson. 

Value props are great tools, but if you do your intro right, their next question is, “Who are you with again?” NOW! Hit it! They’re actually listening to you too. Bonus.

I alluded to it above, but didn’t name it… The “Good for You Intro”

Really? You’re my new account rep!? I’ve been literally sitting here by the phone WAITING for you to call!  

It’s awesome – really! – that you’re excited about your new role, but your sales targets aren’t. And chances are good they’ve gotten five of these calls this quarter (hopefully not from your company). Instead, why not lead with what you want to do for THEM as their new account rep?

The “Set Up Intro”

Picture a beach volleyball scene. Ok, wait, come back. Too distracting.

Picture a ball lofted high up in the air and about to be spiked right down on you. The setup. When you’re just begging to be shut down (or spiked).

It sounds like this:

“If I could triple your ROI on your sales training you’d be interested right?”

This bad approach is typically favored by our most cocky reps.

And when they get the No, they’re right back up in the fight with defensiveness and indignation.  

“What?!  So you don’t like getting more value?!”

Frankly, not from you asshole. Yeah, that was a little harsh. But work with me here. Can we all agree that making people feel stupid and fighting with them in the first thirty seconds might not be the way to go?

“The Toucher Intro”

The best for last. The number one most-used horrible sales call intro.  

If you don’t have a compelling reason to call, please don’t waste my time.

And please don’t touch me or my base. Ever.

Sales leaders, you have my permission to chuck something at any rep you hear use this line in your office this week.  

(On a similar note, consider yourself informed that harming reps with bad intros is not a view expressed by Sales Hacker and is solely the view of your guest blogger LB.)

Now that we’ve had a laugh, here’s a killer formula to fix it.

fix sales and marketing alignment problems

Step 1 – Use Their Name (gets their attention faster).

Step 2 – Use Your Abbreviated Company Name (be “HP, not Hewlett-Packard  Eastern SMB division)

Step 3 – Use a “SWIIFT” Purpose statement (get them to pick their head ½ way up from typing by expressing your goal of the call and highlighting, So What’s In It For Them?)

Step 4 – Ask Two SWIIFT Questions (short, closed, rote-answer questions that get them talking before they realize they’re talking to a sales person.)

Bam. Done. 4 seconds or less and they’re actually TALKING to you!  

Does it work? Absolutely. After sales call intro training for 2 business development teams this year, we saw conversion rates double and even triple. And it makes sense right? If your intro can keep 3x the people on the phone longer, you get triple the at-bats to sell.  

If you want to give this a try on your team, download the free learning kit. Webinar, examples, intro graders, and even coaching videos. Go to www.factor8.com/fixyourintros. Yeah, it will cost you an email address where we’ll send more great tips about once a month, but you’ll get a recording of the touch-base montage and a step-by-step implementation guide! Together we’ll abolish bad intros!

Editor’s Note – This is a Sales Hacker partner guest post from Lauren Bailey, a 20-year sales veteran, and the president / founder of Factor 8.

Lauren “LB” Bailey is a 20-year sales veteran & a five-time recipient of the “Most Influential” designation for Inside Sales. President of award-winning training & consulting company Factor 8, LB and her team are best known for getting immediate revenue results by putting reps live on the phones during training.

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