If you really want to capture your prospects’ attention, you need a sales message that piques their curiosity and gets them to sit up and take notice. And, if you’re selling to a senior executive, you’ve got only 30 seconds to make that happen before you are dismissed as not worth talking to.

But what are those attention grabbers that will get you noticed? The best ones are industry or marketplace statistics relevant to your prospect and related to what you sell.

For example, for many years I used this one to initiate conversations with sales VPs: “Are you aware that 75 percent of people in your position say the root cause of a new product failing is a weak value proposition?”

Today I might say “Did you know that a prospect is more than 60 percent of the way through his decision-making process before he contacts your company?” or “Research shows your salespeople are 5 times more likely to get a call returned if they have a personal connection.” My prospects are interested in these things, and I provide services in these areas.

How about you? Do you have any pertinent industry research you can use? Do you make use of it as much as you should? If not, get online right away and start looking. Using data from an objective, external source will not only validate what you do, it’ll grab your prospect’s attention—the first step toward any sale.

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Jill Konrath is the author of SNAP Selling and Selling to Big Companies. If you’re struggling to set up meetings, click here to get a free Prospecting Tool Kit.