“No, no, no, no. You gotta listen to the way people talk. You don’t say ‘affirmative,’ or some shit like that. You say ‘no problemo.’ And if someone comes on to you with an attitude you say ‘eat me.’ And if you want to shine them on it’s ‘hasta la vista, baby’ .” -John Connor, Terminator 2: Judgement Day
As some of you know, I spent some time in a call center selling training solutions to companies in the Ohio Valley area. During that time, I had a chance to observe the behaviors of new sales reps as they developed their sales skills.
If you’ve read any of my past entries, you’ll know that my focus is on developing multiple communication strategies. I believe people should be have the resources, and be flexible enough, to use a communication strategy that fits the situation.
Now, from what I’ve seen in my travels, most people rely on a favored strategy for every situation. In particular, I saw this in the call center with college graduates who were just starting their professional careers. These new recruits relied heavily on the communication strategy they used in school. Now I’m sure part of this was attributed to ignorance – they didn’t know of a viable alternative. Also, a part of this was attributed to habit. Human beings typically fall into a rut from practice and take the path of least resistance.
Overall, however, I think the major reason for relying on a single communication strategy is rooted in common business wisdom. There’s a tendency to “follow the herd” because a business guru outlined the necessary steps to achieve success. Often in these instances, we give little thought to how these success practices apply to our specific situation. We simply perform the required steps and expect success.
That’s why in my training sessions, we focuses less on the “cookbook” methodologies. Instead, we spent time looking at the principles behind the patterns. We spent time reviewing processes. And we spent time examining our environment because, as Ra’s al Ghul told Bruce Wayne, we always mind our surroundings.
Don’t get me wrong. There’s wisdom in learning from someone who’s been there. But you also need to exercise your own wisdom in applying the proposed lessons.
Build your Communication Strategy for Opening a Sales Call
Here’s a post I did for PRSPX, focusing on four communication tactics new sales reps can use for opening a sales call. What we’re challenging here is the cookbook methodology and the common myths new sales reps typically bring with them when they enter into the profession. For example, take the phrase, “Let me tell you why I called.”
I heard this phrase constantly during my time selling in the call center. However, from my public speaking training, my training as an instructor, and my time in Toastmasters, I can confidently say that no one cares why you called. You made a cold call. Your prospect was working on something else when you called. This makes your call an interruption. This phrase, “let me tell you why I called” doesn’t move you any closer to your objective, provided you had an objective when you called.
The solution is to simply avoid the phrase. It’s a crutch phrase, used by sales reps in an uncomfortable situation. They’ve burned the first 20 or 30 seconds talking about irrelevant matters with their prospect. Now they need a quick bridge that gets them to the business phase of the call.
If you are a sales rep just starting out, a systems tech looking to promote your business, or you simply are a student of the communication process, give this post a review. See if you can use any of these tactics to improve your overall communication strategy for opening a sales call.
If you have any questions, feel free to leave a comment below. Your question may be the source for the next blog post.
P.S. Need additional ideas to build out additional communication strategies? Download my ebook Maximum Impact and add some additional firepower to your presentations.