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Intention versus impression

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During a conversation last week with a colleague and friend, we discussed the difference between how we intend to come across to new prospects and the impressions we actually make. Most salespeople have good intentions when they make a cold call to a new prospect. The goal is to open the call in a positive manner and to establish immediate rapport with the contact so they can move the conversation forward and get an appointment.

So, they start the dialogue with “Hi. How are you today?” In most cases, the prospect mutters something (“Fine”) and then asks a similar question, to which we reply with some personal information about how our day is going, what we did on the weekend or some other extraneous or irrelevant information. Unfortunately, this approach seldom gives the person we are calling the impression we had hoped for.

You see, as soon as you utter the words “Hi. How are you today?” your prospect automatically thinks “sales call,” goes on the defensive and starts looking for ways to quickly end the call. Your intention is good, however, the impression you create isn’t positive.

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It’s much more effective to launch into the reason for your call instead of wasting your time with trivial conversation. Your prospects are busy. They don’t want to engage in meaningless chitchat.

There are other situations when you might unintentionally create a less-than-positive impression, such as:

  • Giving your customer all the details about your product to ensure they have the information they need to make an educated buying decision.
  • Contacting your prospect too frequently without adding any value to the sales equation.
  • Telling jokes or using humor to create a bond.
  • Calling a customer to “check in” or “touch base.”

I could go on but I trust you get the idea. In today’s ultra-competitive business world, you need to ensure you’re making the impression you desire to make with both new prospects and existing customers.

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