Of course it can! Although a majority of sales training is concentrated on developing a rep’s presentation skills and their questioning and listening skill set, the opening is the foundation of a sales interaction. The opening sets the stage for the rep to be able to identify a client’s needs. It is critical to “earn the right” to advance the sales process. As a result, it is vitally important not to minimize the far-reaching effect of a compelling initial sales interaction.
To make sure that you as a sales rep are on the top of your game, don’t overlook the importance of an initial impression and the opening interaction with your customers. Regardless of whether it’s a long-term client or a first-time meeting with a prospect, what you say and how you say it are both critical. This impression sets the stage for your entire exchange with the client. Here are a few points to keep in mind for that first interaction:
Do Your Homework
There has never been a time when preparation hasn’t played an essential part in a sales interaction. “Due diligence within reason” is a good guideline and is never a futile exercise. This work includes investigating the trends within the industry; the health and performance of the company; and the background of your client contact and the decision-makers of the company.
A sales rep must have a clear and obtainable objective for the interaction with the client. More precisely, you need to have both a primary and a secondary objective for the interaction. The primary objective is your optimal outcome for the interaction; that is, the ideal result of your plan. The secondary objective is what you would settle for—a result that advances the relationship.
Remember That Perception Is Reality
It doesn’t matter if, “You thought that ….” or “What you meant was…” It’s what the client is thinking that is the determining force of where the interaction will lead. Earn the right to advance the process by taking the time to reflect on your preparation, your objectives, and your impressions for that first interaction. By doing so, you will advance the sales process and always put yourself in the best position to win the business.