How to Win Back the First 10 Minutes of Your Sales Calls
The first 10 minutes are key to setting yourself up for success in the second half of your call. Yet this opportunity often gets squandered. Connectivity issues, diverging expectations, and scripted icebreakers all take away from the only objective you should have in the initial stage of your call: roping your prospect into a conversation.
Why the first 10 minutes are your biggest untapped opportunity
The first 10 minutes of a typical sales are a no-man’s-land where customer engagement goes to die. Casual chit-chat, redundant agenda-setting, and waiting around means that if your prospect came into the call wanting to buy, their intent has already steeply decreased by the time you get to the actual demo. Used effectively, that time can allow you set up the pieces you need to lead the conversation where you want it to go. We’ve put together a few pointers to help you unlock the power of a compelling sales call opener:
#1 Start on time
The most common reason why meetings start late: the prospect can’t find the link or can’t open it. If the link to the call is hidden in the calendar invitation, if they need to install or login to join the call, if they can’t open the link on account of their company firewall, the first 10 minutes will pass by without you having had the opportunity to set your conversation on the right track. Sending a reminder with a clearly visible link just before the call is a surefire way to make sure your meeting stays on schedule, and your conversation stays on track.
We designed Bonjour to make buying easy. Bonjour tees you up for a strong opener by allowing you to send automated reminders to your prospect 5 minutes before your meeting with a link to the call. The Bonjour link will allow your prospect to join the call instantly from any device and any browser with no downloads, logins, or pesky firewall issues.
#2 Establish the agenda before the call
You only have half an hour with your prospect. You can’t afford to spend 10 of the 30 minutes you have defining the agenda for your meeting. As a rule of thumb: anything that can be defined ahead of time should be. And that includes first and foremost the agenda. Send it ahead of the meeting, and ask for an answer. Something as simple as “how does this sound?” will do. The objective: first, confirm the items on the agenda and, second, modify them if necessary. Second, establish that the prospect is engaged. Bonus: sending the agenda ahead of the meeting also helps decrease no-shows.
#3 Break the ice
The prospect is there. On time. Now what? Time to build rapport: start the call off with your camera on. The prospect will be more likely to reciprocate, and video is a powerful tool to build trust and close more deals. Then, bring your small talk A-game. The goal: make the prospect at ease and pick up on their mode of communication. Casual or formal, expansive or shy: take note of these cues and adjust your behavior accordingly. Lastly, establish a connection. Whether it’s through a memorable impression or just a a bit of small talk, you’re setting yourself up for a win if you’ve allowed the prospect to open up to you.
#4 Set expectations
Now that the formalities are out of the way, hit them with your first big question: “why are you here?”. The question can take different forms like “Can you help understand why you signed up?” or “what were you looking for by downloading our ebook?”, but the answer should allow you to get the prospect to express their objective for the meeting. Be specific: get the prospect to boil down their expectations to an actionable statement like “this meeting will be successful if _____”. Next, put your cards on the table, restate their expectations while introducing yours. For example: “by the end of this meeting, we should be clear as to whether our product can fit your needs” – their goal – “and set you up for a free trial” – your goal. Being upfront about your objectives is a great way to disarm potential doubts and suspicions your customer might have about your agenda for the meeting, and launch your conversation in the right direction.