A good initial approach to a prospective customer is a crucial part of the sales presentation. All the selling skills in the world won’t matter if you don’t get your foot in the door.
Up front you should state your name, the company you represent, and the particular transportation services you’re there to sell. Unlike a lot of salesmen and saleswomen, you shouldn’t beat around the bush. You should work on concept selling, tell the prospect, “I’d like to share an idea with you. I’m in the transportation business. I’m assuming that you’re always looking for ideas that will help your company ship or receive goods in a way that will make your company more efficient, improve customer service, and increase profitability. I’d like to run some ideas by you.”
This statement opens the door and informs the customer that you’re there to add value. It’s intended to create interest, but of course, you have to substantiate your statement in your presentation.
The first moments of your sales call should create initial interest by making a statement. “My company is in the business of providing solutions for a variety of different transportation needs. Technology is moving very fast, and I deal with many companies similar to yours. You need a transportation provider which can handle, not only your current needs, but is also working on your needs for the future.” Another great opener is, “My main goal is to enhance your productivity.”
Early in your initial meeting, be sure to mention the names of several of your satisfied customers. This is done to establish credibility, as it lets the prospect know that your shipping solutions have benefited leading logistics decision-makers that came to the well-informed decision to trust you and your ideas. You should always make it a point to discuss other customers in their industry who are working in similar environments. For example, mentioning how your company handles shipping needs for a company like Microsoft to a small locally owned computer software company won’t necessarily be helpful. Their needs are so different that the prospect won’t be able to relate to an organization that is so vastly different from their own. Speaking about familiar customers who have found the solutions to similar shipping problems through your company will get the prospect’s immediate attention.
When you use a prospect’s competitors or companies in similar industries as examples, it creates an opportunity to use another great opening approach…the referral. Even if you don’t have a referral, you can mention the name of one of the prospect’s competitors who’s a client of yours. Now, it’s highly unlikely that their competition would have to talked them about you, but it is still an excellent way to break the ice. And you can bet that the prospect is interested in all of the transportation services that are available to their competition.
Breaking the ice, gaining credibility, and earning enough trust to ensure the prospective client will listen to the benefits of doing business with you is a must. These represent just a few of the many ways you can get a customer’s attention in a short period of time. Getting your foot in the door is the first step in building a long-term, profitable relationship with a new customer.