What’s a great opening on the phone?
In a selling situation, on the phone or in person, the first impression or the first 10 seconds is critical.
What are good first words for a salesperson to say
when they are answering an inbound sales call?
After analyzing thousands of recorded sales calls by salespeople throughout the country I have found there are four points they should cover in the first sentence.
- Their company’s name 2) Their own name 3) Their department 4) Offer to assist caller
Let’s look at the actual text of the call recording of five different salespeople’s greetings at a car dealership.
Note they each just missed one ingredient in their opening sentence; they left out their department but everything else was correct. Watch the callers response.
Salesperson #1: (says dealership name) (their name) (offered to assist)
Caller: I was trying to reach a salesperson please.
Salesperson: A salesperson?
Caller: Yes, someone who does sales.
Salesperson: Okay, yeah, I can help you with that
Salesperson #2: (says dealership name) (their name) (offered to assist)
Caller: I need to speak to someone about a (make) (model) that’s on your website.
Caller: Can you help me?
Salesperson: Yes ma’am, I can help you.
Salesperson #3: (says dealership name) (their name) (offered to assist)
Caller: May I speak to a salesperson?
Salesperson: Actually, I’m a salesperson I do the Internet sales. How can I help you?
Salesperson #4: (says dealership name) (their name) (offered to assist)
Caller: Yes, can I speak to someone in used cars?
Salesperson: Um, I work in used cars.
Salesperson #5: (says dealership name) (their name) (offered to assist)
Caller: Yeah, I’d like to speak to a salesperson.
Salesperson: Okay, is it is regarding a vehicle?
Salesperson: I can help you.
Although the above opening exchanges may sound innocent enough, it does create some initial confusion on the caller’s part regarding who they are speaking to and if they are even in the right department. Do you want your first impression with a potential customer to be one of confusion, or one of understanding and helpfulness?
This quote by Brian Tracy says it well: “When you first meet a person, he makes a judgment about you in approximately four seconds, and his judgment is finalized largely within 30 seconds of the initial contact.” I would have to agree with that statement and say it is every bit as true on the phones as it is in person.
Now, let’s listen to a more extreme example of how a poor opening can create a very confusing and frustrating first impression.
This is the actual text of the call recording. It’s the “Hello” opening that almost has the sound of the famous Abbott and Costello comedy routine, “Who’s on First?”
Salesperson: Hello, hello.
Caller: Not sure they just keep blindly transferring.
Salesperson: B.J.? Who is this? Hello.
Caller: Chris… I don’t know, they just keep transferring me around. (Pause) Just trying to buy a vehicle.
Salesperson: You’re trying to buy a what? I’m sorry.
Caller: I’m trying to buy a vehicle and I can’t get anyone to help me (frustrated sigh).
Salesperson: Okay, what kind of vehicle, what kind of vehicle? I’ll help you if I can.
Caller: Okay, the cargo van.
Salesperson: That’s me! You got the right person finally.
Caller: Okay, but you keep saying hello and I keep saying hello (frustrated sigh).
I wish you could hear the actual call. The text does not do justice to the confusion and frustration on the part of both parties. Now what if instead of just saying “Hello,” the salesperson had opened with, “XYZ Motors, fleet sales department, this is Bill, how may I assist you?”
Think about it. The caller would have known who answered the phone and that they were probably transferred to the right department. The caller would have also known the salesperson wanted to help.
All that could have happened in the first sentence with a strong possibility of avoiding all or most of the initial confusion and the very poor first impression it created.
Now, in fairness to the salesperson, it was an internally transferred call. But that should make no difference. Any internal call could be a customer being transferred.
Next time you answer a sales call include the four points of a greeting and make a good and clear first impression.
For more information on setting sales appointments by phone to gain a new level of sales success visit us at www.dealersalesfunnels.com
Director of Sales Appointment Traffic
Dealer Sales Funnels
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