Five Ways to Blow a Sales Call in the First Five Minutes

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Posted: June 21, 2018

You finally land an appointment with that coveted, ideal-fit prospect. Congratulations. Now the real work begins. 

We’ve all heard phrases such as, “You only get one chance to make a good impression.” Psychologists call it "thin slicing." You meet someone and within seconds, you make a decision about their trustworthiness, status, intelligence and who knows what else.  

As a former vice president of sales and as a sales trainer for many years, I have observed a lot of sales calls. And too many times, the salesperson blew the call within the first five minutes by not bringing their Sales EQ or Sales IQ to the meeting.

Here are some examples of selling behaviors to avoid. If you practice any of these behaviors, there’s a good chance you will lose the prospect in the first five minutes of the meeting.   

  1. Don’t pay attention to your prospect’s preferred mode of communication. Instead, take the easy path and communicate in your style rather than theirs. Talk fast instead of slow. Speak slowly instead of fast. Be intense with a low-key prospect. Engage in endless small talk with a high driver. You will establish zero rapport and there’ll be no second meeting.
  2. Show up with a canned, one-size-fits-all value proposition that you haven’t memorized. Or worse, deliver a value proposition that is focused on your company, rather than on the business problems you solve for prospects. “We are the oldest … We are the biggest. … We have cutting-edge products and services.” Meanwhile, your prospect is asking himself, “How does that help me?
  3. Bring your cellphone to the appointment and set it on the table. Send a clear message to your prospect that he is No. 1 -- until your phone vibrates. Remember: Your cellphone is not your adult binkie. Leave it in your briefcase.
  4. Act like you are Dr. Phil. When your prospect shares a concern, ask, “How does that make you feel?” Really, how do you think your prospect feels about not achieving goals? If you ask this question, your prospect will start “feeling” like she made a mistake agreeing to meet with you.
  5. Show up late. Oh, I know you ran into traffic -- for the 10th time this month. Plant that seed of doubt with your prospect, who’s going to ask herself, “If she can’t be on time to a first appointment, what else is going to be late if I choose to do business with her?”

First impressions are important. How are you showing up at sales meetings?

Good Selling!

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