How important is it to ‘nail’ your opening statement?

Hint: It’s not as important as you think.

Regardless of how good your opening is, over 90% of your targets still say no when you first ask them for an appointment, don’t they?

Many sales professionals and their managers who must set appointments with people they don’t know tell me they struggle getting to the ‘perfect’ opening that will get people to agree to an appointment with them. In my opinion, that is a waste of good time.

A UCLA study a number of years ago determined that only seven percent of effective communications is based on content. Then there are the two reasons why our targets don’t think they need or want to talk to us when we call. Combine those two facts and you begin to see why agonizing over perfecting your opening just isn’t worth the effort. Here’s what I recommend instead.

Start by listing the top reasons why your customers tell you they have bought from you and use the top reason in your opening. Couch it in terms of what your customers accomplished using what they bought from you. Don’t be presumptuous and make statements that say you know your target can experience the same thing, because you don’t really know that yet.

You will catch the few targets that do happen to be in the market for what you’re selling when you call with a good opening, so we don’t want to ignore this step in the process, but most will still say no, regardless of how good or creative you get. Instead, concentrate your efforts on coming up with a really good question to use after they say no, that will get them to stop thinking about how to get you off the phone and into an open-minded conversation about how you’ve helped others in their position accomplish something that they should be interested in.

We call these Bridge Questions™ and it is why our clients consistently set at least twice the number of appointments per dial than they did previously after going through one of our Prospector’s Academies™.

If you’d like more information on the topic of why no team of sales professionals has ever failed to at least double the number of Initial Appointments they were setting after going through one of our programs, give us a call or drop us a line. We love talking appointment making! Or, if you’d like a detailed ‘how to’ white paper on the topic, send me an email at the address below and I’ll get it right out to you.

The Caponi Performance Group and Contact Science jointly market the appointment setting solution called Coldcalling101™. It is the only comprehensive solution to solving the biggest barrier to success in most selling organizations—the inability to secure enough Initial Appointments to begin the selling process. We accomplish that through simultaneously addressing both the efficiency and effectiveness of the process.  We can be reached at 817 224-9900,, or at  You can also find answers to many of your challenges in our books: Contrary to Popular Belief, Cold Calling DOES Work! Volume I: Effectiveness, The Art of Appointment Making and Volume II: Efficiency, the Science of Appointment Making.

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