‘Bless my cotton socks I’m in the news.’ – Julian Cope of Teardrop Explodes.
The best opening line to a song ever, in my opinion. Hold that thought – it is relevant.
Whilst walking along The Promenade in Cheltenham, a stranger stopped, turned round to look at me and asked ‘am I going the right way?’ She looked to be a pleasant enough elderly lady, albeit a slightly confused one, so I couldn’t help but smile and reply, with tongue in cheek, ‘I don’t know, where are you going?’ I tell you all this for a reason.
When we meet people for the first time we size them up. We’re not necessarily aware of this process but we do. We form an impression of someone within the first twenty seconds of meeting them. And our prime impressions or formed on how they’re dressed and what they say. Thus I formed an instant impression of the lady that addressed me in Cheltenham deciding I’d be safe to respond with a bit of gentle humour.
But here’s the thing. In business we all dress pretty much the same. Yes, even you Mr quirky tie or Mr snazzy socks. And you Ms brightly coloured scarf. What’s more, should you be “working from home” you could be making those phone calls in your PJs. In which case what you say matters even more because you’ve got neither your professional ‘uniform’ or even your body language to help you along.
So yes. Making a good first impression in business pays. But, as we know, or you should if you’ve been reading my blogs, nothing happens in any business until someone makes a sale. You did know that, right? Which is why a good first impression, a good opening line, in sales is vital.
Yet so many sales people lose any chance of a sale with their first impression. Here are just two toe curling examples:
- A female client of mine told me that she picked up the phone, to hear a male voice tell her that ‘he had seen her picture on LinkedIn and was “reaching out” (toe curling in itself, what good does reaching out ever do) to her because she had a nice smile.’ YUK! That’s plain creepy!
- I myself answered a call recently to be told ‘it’s ok I’m not selling you anything.’ Really? Please! Firstly, do even you know what it is I do? Secondly, you are. Because guess what? My Mum calls me most weeks and to date she has never started any call by saying ‘it’s okay I’m not selling anything.’ Because she isn’t!
I could fill a book with examples such as these. Mmmm, now there’s an idea.
Anyway, as I was saying. What first impression are you making when you meet or speak with a customer? Is it killing your sales process stone dead right there and then?
Try considering what you want to know when you stop what you were in the middle of doing to pick up the phone. Who is this and what do they want?
Then, in the first instance introduce yourself. Your name and the name of your company will suffice. Your opening line doesn’t have to be as notable as Julian Cope’s – he who is responsible for the heading of this blog post.
The next thing you say has to be something of value. For the recipient, how you might be able to solve their problem. About them – not about you!
Working on your opening line will make a huge difference to your sales process. Give it a go and be sure to let me know how you get on.
Cotton socks aside it’s time for you to make you the news and claim your reward.
If you need help with your opening line/first impression, converting more sales and growing your business then it’s time for some new ideas. Ask about my sales mentoring service.
Work with me for 6 months. Give me six months and I’ll give you the tools, skills and the process to change your business forever. Even if, especially if you hate selling. Guaranteed.
PS It seems more than just a little rude at this point not to take you back to 1981 and introduce you to the wonderful Julian Cope and Teardrop Explodes, Reward and that opening line. Enjoy.