While waiting for friends one evening, a cute guy walked up to me and asked me if I “had a light” for his cigarette. I replied that I don’t smoke, and he said, “But you sure do have fire!”
I laughed and asked him if that pick-up line had worked with other women. The guy felt embarrassed and started to leave, then turned around and said, “It got you to laugh and talk to me.” Good point, Romeo!
Of course, this exchange got me thinking about selling. What do pick-up lines and sales opening lines have in common? Confidence, intuition, wit and a solid sense of timing. Remember that you only have about eight seconds of someone’s attention span to work with, according to a recent article in Time. In those eight seconds, the language you use matters. You need words that will hook that prospect, pique their curiosity and transform a short interaction into a longer conversation.
Here, we have compiled a list of great sales opening lines to help you land your next client. Take a look, then tell us: Do any of these lines work for you? Do you have other opening lines that you return to over and over again? Let us know in the comments below.
1. Use the unexpected pleasantry.
If you’re cold-calling a prospect, do you immediately introduce yourself and your company? According to an article in Entrepreneur, that’s a big don’t because you’re preemptively telling your prospect to hang up immediately.
Instead, be pleasant and thank the prospect on the other end of the line for their time, like so:
“It’s an honor to finally speak with you!”
“Thanks for picking up the phone!”
“Thanks for taking my call.”
“Your time is important. Let me cut to the chase.”
Language like this will not only be perceived as positive and enthusiastic, it will make your prospect feel appreciated. (Besides, going right in to who you are and who you work for isn’t interesting.) After the pleasantry, follow up with a benefit-driven hook that is likely to be of interest to this specific prospect. Then, finally, identify yourself, what you do, your business, etc.
See also: Follow-up call finesse
2. Name drop.
Using the name of one of your known clients creates credibility and can help catch your prospect’s attention, according to Actimizer, a company that specializes in call leads. All the better if you can accompany the name with a success story. Here are some examples of how to lead with this method:
“Other companies like [name] use our services for achieving/improving their …”
“We have helped [name] increase their revenue/become more cost-efficient by …”
“Industry leaders within [industry] use our product for …“
Remember to always get approval from previous clients or companies to use their names during your sales calls, and make sure that your usage is compliant.
See also: Closing the sale: an app for the iPad
3. Be honest.
Honesty ranks high on the list of attributes today’s consumers demand from a saleseperson, and it helps establish trust with your prospect from the get-go, notes EngageSelling.com. Here’s how to show your honesty from the very start: