As the saying goes, you only have one chance for a great first impression. In truth, you only have about ten seconds. If you’re making cold calls to busy people, you need to deliver a powerful opener.

Working with experienced, professional telemarketing agents improves your chances of getting a prospect to take the next step, whether that’s booking a face-to-face meeting or making a sale. The best agents have perfected the art of the opener. In a matter of seconds, they can introduce themselves, set a positive tone for the call, and intrigue a person to listen to what they have to say next. 

But even professionals need your help. Because there are no magic phrases that open doors, agents need audience insight, product information, and a specific call to action. These are the raw materials they’ll use in their opening lines. And while it’s tempting to script telemarketers, it doesn’t work. Scripts, no matter how well written, sound canned and discourage agents from listening and engaging prospects in conversation.

Deconstructing the Opener

To help you understand the kind of information that will help agents get the best results, let’s deconstruct the critical components of the opener:

1. Make the Introduction

Tell the prospect who you are. “Good afternoon, Ms. Brown, I’m Steve Ross with ACME.” 

2. Establish Rapport

Make a positive emotional connection. “I hope you’re doing well today and that the Chicago trade show was a success for you.”

3. Use a Connection

Reference a mutual contact or some recent event to personalize the call. “I’m calling today because I read about your company’s recent acquisition of a growing technology company. Congratulations, and I have some information that may be useful to you.”

4. State Purpose/Advantage

Explain the purpose of your call and intrigue the prospect with a feature or service that is a proven advantage.“We’re a leader in marketing software, but more important we’ve helped companies similar to yours double their ROI. They’re saying that our software pays for itself in just a few months.”

5. Gain Agreement 

Show respect for a prospect’s time while setting him/her up to give you an affirmative response. “I know you’re busy, but if you have just a few minutes, I’d like to speak with you about our big data solutions and how we have helped companies boost the number of leads they generation.”

6. Confirm Contact

Verify you’re talking with the right person. “I understand that you’re the CMO. Is that correct? Do you also make purchase decisions for marketing technology?”

7. Transition to Uncovering Needs:

Listening to the prospect to understand their needs is critical. But before asking a lot of questions, set expectations for your call. “How are you using big data today?” 

Getting People to Yes

While these are the components of a good opener, you should use examples only to illustrate the process. You want to arm agents with the tools to express themselves naturally while setting a conversational tone that is respectful, non-threatening, and intriguing.

Above all, avoid vague openings like “I’m calling to check in with you,” or “I wanted to call and see if there’s anything you need.” They’re an invitation for a quick dismissal.

About the Author

FFrancesco Adamo, project manager at 3D2B, is an Italian educated at the Università degli Studi in Pavia, Italy, as well as Cambridge and the University of London in the UK. He began his career working as a marketing analyst in a global B2B communications and marketing services company in the UK before returning to Italy in 2005. Adamo then joined 3D2B where he has worked with clients such as SAP, MRO, Novell, VMWare, Akamai and Stratasys.

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