Opening Statements

Posted in Sales Tools  |  79 Comments

Nothing is more important to prospecting (other than actually doing it) than the quality of your opening statement.

In person or over the phone, windows of attention are typically slammed shut in less than 10 seconds. This means you have to maximize the impact of every word, syllable, and pause in your lead off statements. They need to be works of art – compelling to the extreme degree. To minimize the importance of preparing a solid opening statement is to potentially short circuit your entire sales effort.

Fortunately, opening statements can be prepared and practiced before a sales opportunity is ever pursued. Below are some guidelines and thoughts for creating your opening statement(s) as well as some samples for you to rework into your particular sales world.

Remember, it’s likely the people you’re trying to reach are also being approached by many others each day (competitors of yours and not). A powerful, compelling, and practiced opening statement can launch many sales opportunities for you where a competitor’s lack of preparation can leave them standing still.

If you like this tool, you might also like the author’s message on commitment called Cross The Line. Use this link to watch the quick little video.

____________________

Your opening statement

(how to build one, what to avoid and samples of good ones)

Objective: create immediate interest for further discussion – engage the prospect (be sure to work through this using pen to paper or fingers to keyboard)

What do I sell?

Answer this using as few words as possible. Avoid words or phrases that mean nothing to outsiders (e.g., industry acronyms, fluffy corporate communication language, etc.).

How do my customers benefit when they buy my product/ service?

If you sell to consumers, include the potential emotional added benefits of being liked, respected, more attractive, etc. (if they exist).

If you sell to businesses, be sure to include the emotional benefits to the buyer/ decision maker in addition to the more specific benefits realized by the company (a good buy or product implementation can be the road to promotion or status within an organization). You’re looking for several true benefits, not simply features.

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COMMENTS


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  3. Cesar says:

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    5 April 2014



  4. Jeffrey says:

    Its like you read my mind! You appear to know so much about this,
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    29 March 2014



  5. Mike Kinney says:

    Any suggestions for business email templates? I would like ideas on short email best practices.

    10 March 2014



  6. oritbbb@aol.com says:

    I am looking for a “Killer” opening line for high end jewelry . The letters will be send to end fashion magazines, celebrities and so on any idea?

    22 January 2014



  7. romould.allen.naval05@gmail.com says:

    i just need some help for an opening script.. we are a news website. and we offer services such as banner advertising, classified ads, and business directory…. any help will be much appreciated..thanks…

    19 January 2014



  8. Varun says:

    Need a little help could anyone suggest the best opening Script that would attract a prospects’s attention for a telecommunication industry where we sell connections at a competitive price as opposed to the current providers.

    6 December 2013



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    4 December 2013



  10. oochepatrick@yahoo.com says:

    Everything is very open and very
    clear explanation of issues.

    31 May 2013



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  12. Peter says:

    If you are going to suggest a time for a telephone chat (or a visit), never make it on the hour or the half hour. Request a telephone appointent for 2-40pm, 11-10am or similar.. This implies subtly to the prospect that you are also a busy professional who values his time as much as the prospect does.
    If you do this and make the telephone appointment for say 2-10pm, then MAKE SURE YOU CALL BANG ON THE DOT.
    If you get the gatekeeper, tell him/her that you have a telephone appointment with Mr X and to please put you through right now. Mr X will check his diary AND HE WILL BE BLOWN AWAY.
    I would bet a gold pig and nine little ones that not a single caller that year will has been viewed as so professional as you.

    Also when selling using features and benefits, don’t shoot them all scatter gun fashion at the prospect – ask some open ended questions (who, what, where, when, how) and try and find the prospects “hot button” – the thing that causes him the most grief.
    Then talk features and benefits around this. You might then get the sale on just one feature/benefit and close the sale quickly without having to bore the guy witless with stuff that isn’t relevant to his/her problem

    20 November 2012



  13. Abdullah says:

    i strongly agree with Lauren Edwards …

    Thanks to all..

    5 October 2012



  14. patrick says:

    nice topic that really helps. keep it up peeps…!!

    13 September 2012



  15. lisa says:

    Everything is very open and very clear explanation of issues.

    26 July 2012



  16. Lauren Edwards says:

    Sorry, I have to disagree with your suggestions. Your opening statement must grab attention, that’s a given. However your suggestion is 100% focused on ‘Me” and what ‘I” do. It is so much more important to build a relationship first. People want to know, like and trust you, before they buy form you. The only way you do that is to be interested in them.
    If you constantly try to be ‘interesting’ instead of ‘interested’ you will burn lots of people!
    Always ask if it’s the right time to speak, that way you get their undivided attention.
    Always ask about them first – only then will you know if you have a solution for them.
    Ask leading questions to really find out their BAP (Big Ass Pain)
    Then offer a way out of this pain and you don’t even have to sell them anything – they will ask you for it.
    Have a look at Michael Olivers Natural Selling techniques: http://www.naturalselling.com/
    My tip – be a Go-Giver (give with no expectation of receiving anything) and you will not only have lots of customers, you will have long lasting relationships with a whole bunch of new friends.

    18 July 2012



  17. chris says:

    Great post love this

    If you have met the person before hand (eg. at a networking event briefly) do you still avoid “how are you?”

    or in this case it would better to use “how are you”?

    Thanks

    27 June 2012



  18. Lisa says:

    An insightful post I can truly see the value in the multiple approach

    21 June 2012



  19. Jeni W says:

    Love it!

    17 June 2012



  20. Sam Parker says:

    Jacques… On the follow-up voice mail I recommend leading with something similar to…

    “Hi, Bob. I’m following up on my message last week/ a few days ago…” and then going right to what you left on the first voice mail.

    Obviously… Be sure that your message is focused on how you can help them.

    I hope that’s helpful.

    6 March 2012



  21. Jacques says:

    Sam, What about email follow up to a cold call voicemail? Any do/don’ts? I’m guessing you should add to what you said in the voicemail, but still keep it short, sweet and targeted. Comments welcome!

    6 March 2012



  22. Siddarth Jain says:

    Great comments. But could someone arrange opening statements for corporate sourcing (corporate gifting). I usually start with, Hi, this is (name) calling from (company name), we provide corporate gifting solutions. We provide award & reward options for your clients & ur employees. Is this the right time to talk regarding this ?

    13 February 2012



  23. Ducks in a Row: How Marketing Wins Sales | says:

    [...] Opening Statements – Just Sell®… it’s all about sales® [...]

    12 February 2012



  24. behavioural selling ireland says:

    Good Post.. love to read the described instructions

    26 January 2012



  25. Abhijit says:

    Can any one guide me through c sales n marketg throuh proper light!

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    need insights n lots of lights…

    14 December 2011



  26. Monica says:

    Helpful techniques…! thanks a lot. I love th fact that these tips are practical, and at th end of th day its about rendering a professional service.

    14 October 2011



  27. Marty says:

    The big problem with “how are you doing” is everybody says it. If they have never seen you before, or in the case of telemarketing, it is a cold call, when you ask how are you doing, they think salesperson. You need to be different than all the others calling.
    This is a fantastic site. Right now, that’s what I needed was opening statements. I’m selling a highly competitive product, merchant processing and haven’t gone out yet. I thought I might todya, but I like the advice to practice it before going out.
    I agree with everyone who says this site is fantastic. Keep it going.

    29 September 2011



  28. zoneofsilence says:

    Great insight. Thank you very much

    28 September 2011



  29. Tricia says:

    “stumbled” upon this site. Really great articles.

    19 September 2011



  30. Rami says:

    Good article but there is one problem with your examples. They all end with close ended questions! Which is a big NO for any salesman. I work in recruitment and here’s an example of one of our open statements :

    Hello, my name is [salesman] and I am calling you from [Recruitment Agency]. We are the largest executive search firm in the region, serving over [number of job seekers] and working with over [number of employers]. The reason for my call today is to learn more about your company’s recruitment needs to see how we can best serve you. So Mr. Prospect, what are the current vacancies that you are seeking to fill at the moment?

    The introduction is more important than most sales people think like mentioned above. So grabbing the prospects attention is essential for a successful sales call in the first 10 seconds. We do that by Exciting the prospects with features ( and benefits as well ) in the first 10 seconds of the conversation and make a smooth transition to the qualifying stage using the open ended question used above, where we proceed to understand their needs.

    Love your website! Keep up the great work.

    28 August 2011



  31. Twitted by DanekS says:

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  32. Margarita Roberts says:

    This article was really helpful! I’ll be sure to forward this along.

    Margarita R.

    Sales Statement

    11 July 2011



  33. B.Eager says:

    I agree with B.Hammer, talking to a prospect when they have time and you have their undivided attention can often be of great value… but many of the other tips are spot on and good reminders of things I had forgotten…

    18 April 2011



  34. Jawaid Aziz Adenwalla says:

    I just got it through email . Me from Pakistan , will test the opening sentences .

    31 March 2011



  35. B. Hammer says:

    In 15 years of selling, I regularly asked customers if it was a convenient time to talk before I continued. Most of my customers were small business owners who acted as head cook and bottle washer and they would tell me that they were waiting on a customer or finishing up with the shipping guy but that I could call back in x minutes. I was consistently thanked for valuing their time and I found that I would often get MORE of their time when I called back for showing common courtesy.
    Too many sales people call me now and are busy throwing up their script to see if I can even listen to what they have to say.
    I know most selling sites advise against it but I just can’t shake plain ‘ol manners.

    29 March 2011



  36. richard says:

    good tips i will try them

    1 March 2011



  37. Katrin says:

    I am in a hospitality industry for 4 years as sales coordinator and i could say that i am ready to become sales executive now. Luckily as part of my preparations i saw this site so whenever i have time, i always visit justsell.com to enhance my knowledge and soon when im in the field will use all that ia m learning here!

    Thanks a lot

    Write more and please give advise on how to be more efficient and effective during sales call.

    cheers

    15 February 2011



  38. MK says:

    what a great article! very helpful – I’m going to test these ideas out on my calls today!

    21 January 2011



  39. Hasan says:

    Kindly tell some opening statements in relation to pharma drug selling…

    19 January 2011



  40. Dan says:

    Thanks for bringing us together Sam. Knowing we are not alone helps too.

    Sincerely,

    Dan

    P.S. Pray for executives…it get can get lonely at the top.

    18 January 2011



  41. Wilmar says:

    thank you for posting this phrases, it’s very helpful.

    13 January 2011



  42. Steven says:

    All of the information you are supplying is very valuable and neccessary to experince all the rewards of a sales career. Of course the customer comes first and they should never feel anything different than that. To show this I understand that a canned introduction with the typical statements “a little of your time” or “just a moment” send a message that what you have to offer is not that important so why should they give any of their “valuable” time to you?

    I look forward to these receiving these helful ideas everyday! Thanks for providing them.

    22 October 2010



  43. Sarah L says:

    Hi, this article is very helpful, practical and informative!
    I truly appreciate it and profoundly grateful for your insightful advices.
    More power to your site and keep up the good work.

    14 October 2010



  44. Greg says:

    Does anybody know a good opening statement for selling tools? Automotive repair shops and so on. It must be urgency and liquidation type of opening. Thank you in advance.

    8 September 2010



  45. Keith says:

    Also, in response to establishing rapport,

    If you are having first contact with a Fortune 500 companies or large local/regional businesses, stick to the opening statement. If it’s a small local business, feel free to engage in rapport development. That has been my experience. Once you meet, then have at it with the rapport.

    8 July 2010



  46. Keith says:

    For the past 15 years I have always used the trial close question, “Is there any reason why….” in my opening statement (in person, not on voicemail)

    So, in your examples, I would use it as the ending question.

    Hi, John. This is Keith with XYZ Company. We provide sales training and insurance products that help your business make more money and retain more of the money it makes by teaching customer focused selling techniques coupled with industry specific compliance training. Is there any reason why we can’t set an appointment to talk more about your business?

    8 July 2010



  47. Dain Rudolph says:

    You have to build report. If you go right into your pitch, your going to get shut down 9 times out of ten. You should ask how they are doing, they are human, give em a one liner. Talk to them about the weather if you have to whatever it takes. Keep it brief, and try to make em laugh. I usually say, oh its my favorite day of the week, if its monday they usually laugh at that even though its cheesy, it works. Sometimes you might find yourself talking to em for another 30 seconds to a minute before you get into the pitch.

    17 May 2010



  48. Andy says:

    I use to get daily sales leads from prospects@prospectsdaily.com which I dont get anymore. Please send the leads to the email address given below

    21 April 2010



  49. Greg B says:

    This web site it great!!! Love the quotes real help in the sales day,,,

    19 April 2010



  50. Lisa Maini, myMarketingManager says:

    Hello

    I advise clients to use statements that automatically have people saying yes (and nodding their heads ) before they even make the pitch. For example, if I was a pc/networking consultant I would start with, “Has your computer ever gone down in the middle of sending out an email?” Get your prospect’s attention by identifying a pain point then offering a solution. There is more to this presale buy-in approach that I cover in the neweconomybootcamp.com. I might start doing webinars.

    15 April 2010



  51. Sharon K says:

    I really like your web site. It encourages me every morning with a positive attitude.

    15 April 2010



  52. Clive says:

    Kori,
    I have found that using the phrase “open to” works really well. Nobody likes to admit they are not “open”.

    So as an example you quoted:
    I’m calling to see if you’d be interested in discussing how it might help your [whatever] efforts/ initiatives…

    I would change to:
    I’m calling to see if you’d be open to discussing how it will help your [whatever] efforts/ initiatives…

    12 April 2010



  53. Jorge G. says:

    I stumbled upon this site a few years ago and since then been hooked on all the great advise and help with continued selling techniques.

    My line of sales work requires a little more toughness when it comes to bringing on a new client as I deal with nothing but procrastinators. I have been selling the tax resolution industry for over 4 years, making great money and everyone has an opinion different than others on how to sell in this industry. Coming to this site puts me in a different place and I can utilize a lot of the tools found on this site to help close many of my sales.

    Keep up the great work and if you charge for premium content I would gladly pay for this type of resource.

    Thank again.

    8 March 2010



  54. Louise says:

    Excellent sales training material. You help make my job as a Sales Training professional so much easier and get results…not just today, but long term.

    Thank you for being so encouraging and supportive in the “what you can do and What you can’t do” section.

    Your website is a keeper!

    2 March 2010



  55. D says:

    as a recipient of sales calls, nothing irks me more than people not getting to the point. such as trying to get to the boss or getting the bosses name.

    also ‘when is a good time to call back?’ is not the next step after a “not available”.. first you need to establish if this is a good fit, if we will EVER BE IN THE MARKET for what you sell.

    People are smarter than you think, esp in a small business. They know what is going on.

    Then either delete me, or find a time when it is a good fit (ie, when our current contract is up). “when could I check in with you” or “I’d love to give you a reminder when the time is right for you”

    every single time i have to ask “what do you have”

    1. tell me what you have or offer in your first breath
    2. friendly is good, but we are both trying to figure out if this is a good fit. If this is not a receptionist, then you are most definitely interrupting.
    3. don’t hang up on the prospect… this happens a lot though not to me, but to my coworkers when they have a longer “No” reply

    in fact i have never received a nice sales call as I described above. it is a sad waste of energy all around.

    23 February 2010



  56. justin says:

    Oh, and I forgot to mention in my post below that I agree with Kori’s post on 7/30/09 about the ending questions use of “might help, might bring value, etc.” and changing it to, “will help, will bring value” etc. but when it comes to closing on a time, I always hate using the alternative time close as I don’t think it’s really that effective in a solution sell. I think if you are selling a commodity item to business or consumers it might be more effective but when it comes to solutions the alternative time close just isn’t that effective. any opinions??

    18 February 2010



  57. Justin says:

    Very good article. I sometimes struggle with this one. I’m always worried that I’m coming across too hard and will be targeted as a pushy salesman especially when i’m closing the opening statement with an alternative time close or something. I work for a company selling software solutions and I have found that this industry doesn’t really react well to pushy sales people. Can anybody offer any advice or helpful hints of how to end with a strong close without sounding too pushy?? Thanks and happy selling!

    18 February 2010



  58. Jennifer Schafer says:

    I am an owner and publisher and always train on how to overcome objections. I do validate and use JustSell.com for our team.

    11 February 2010



  59. Bill Bower says:

    Making a great impression is important, provided you get the chance. TIVO changed everything. Prospects now understand that it is fine to skip advertisements and pitches. Perhaps these pitches are yours and mine?

    I have been looking for a way to get the attention of my prospects and simply to get them to pay attention to me for 60 seconds. I have been experimenting with an iPod-type device Videocoldcall player. Results have been pretty good but I am interested if anyone else has tried it?

    29 January 2010



  60. Wow ‘Em With Your Opening Statement : Media Sales Today says:

    [...] here to read the entire article. Do you agree with what a good opening statement should include or does [...]

    25 January 2010



  61. payday loans says:

    The author of http://www.justsell.com has written an excellent article. You have made your point and there is not much to argue about. It is like the following universal truth that you can not argue with: Youve never known if its ok to eat a green crisp. Thanks for the info.

    23 January 2010



  62. The Best Sales Tips and Sales Strategy Articles of the Week | New Sales Economy Blog says:

    [...] Opening Statements by Just Sell [...]

    19 January 2010



  63. Sam Parker says:

    Maybe, Dave. Sometimes though that can come off as fluff in the opening.

    Credibility is necessary but at this stage the only thing that matters is getting someone’s real atttention and then speaking to how you might be able to help them.

    11 January 2010



  64. Dave says:

    The glaring omission from these opening statements is credibility. Change it to something like this:

    We provide [product/ service] in order to help companies like [well known company in their industry] minimize their…

    ——————–
    Dave Barnhart
    SolomonRK.com

    10 January 2010



  65. Craig says:

    Thanks for the tools!

    6 January 2010



  66. sara sammour says:

    thanks for help
    there are good points here

    20 December 2009



  67. Raghav says:

    Its really a useful tool whole thing make sense when we implement in the right way…

    7 December 2009



  68. Opening Statements to Get the Sales Conversation Going says:

    [...] I stumbled into a great website and resource for improving your sales process: JustSell.com. Certainly, check out the entire site. I particularly liked this article on Opening Statements. [...]

    23 November 2009



  69. Kristene says:

    I’m in a new job and in day 2 of week 1. I’m using this tool AGAIN to help me crystalize the value of my company’s offerings. Thank you!

    3 November 2009



  70. Tom says:

    Great stuff. Thanks for the insight.

    13 October 2009



  71. Marc says:

    Obviously, you never ask someone how they’re doing? (Once a guy said: I was ok until you called) I agree, unless they are someone you’ve done business with, don’t ask them if they have time, just keep it short and ask if further communication and follow up can be arranged. (Your busy too!) Your pitching. They’re catching.

    9 October 2009



  72. Michael Pedone says:

    There are some good points here.

    21 September 2009



  73. Nae says:

    are there any blogs out there – that include strategies, etc for getting around opposition

    24 August 2009



  74. Sam Parker says:

    Capt… It’s not wrong to ask if the prospect has time to talk. It’s just that you don’t want to use that initial attention you might have on anything other than creating immediate interest for further discussion.

    Most (my opinion rather than a scientific study) people would likely respond to that question negatively (especially from someone they don’t know).

    Everything should be about how you can help them (your value proposition).

    13 August 2009



  75. Capt. James Dean says:

    in phrases to avoid why is it wrong to ask if the prospect has time to talk ?

    13 August 2009



  76. kori says:

    I think this article is great! The opening of your call or voicemail must be direct, intro who you are and compelling. The part that I have trouble digesting in all 4 examples is:
    1.I’m calling to see if this might be helpful to [you/ and of your clients].
    2.I’m calling to see if this might be valuable to you and your team.
    3.I’m calling to see if you’d be interested in discussing how it might help your [whatever] efforts/ initiatives…
    4.Would you be interested in discussing how it might fit into your environment?

    I find these questions to loose…the word “might” or if you’d be interested in discussing…You have to be confident that your product WILL bring value…that the sense of urgency is there…they need to talk to you because you will bring value!!!

    I usually go for…I am calling you specifically to set up a time for us to talk and to discuss the value our solutions can bring to your company….How does Thursday at 1pm or Monday at 2pm work?

    30 July 2009



  77. DM says:

    Very good…. but you have to take the time to sit down and do it.

    24 July 2009



  78. Jenn says:

    This was a well outlined article and having followed these tips I just wrote a fabulous intro.

    Thanks!

    14 July 2009



  79. PCPM says:

    Great Help!!!

    14 July 2009


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