A friend of mine has a small business selling blinds to homes and workplaces. He said a few weeks ago that he’d had a new colour brochure done and was going to post it out to around 200 of his past customers.
I told him he would multiply his hit-rate maybe 10-fold if he followed up with chaser phone calls, and he set about his campaign.
I met him again over the weekend and asked him how things were going.
“Waste of time!” he blurted. “Something wrong with the post!” he continued. “Hardly anybody got their brochures!”
He’d sent them out as planned, and then starting calling around, using the opening line – “It’s Craig here from Acme Blinds” (names changed to protect the stupid) “Just wondered if you got the brochure we sent out last week”
NOT CRAIG, YESTERDAY
Hmmm…Craig, you just used the most useless opening line in the history of useless opening lines! Here’s why, mate –
1- The only people who need to know whether a piece of post has arrived or not are customer service researchers at the Royal Mail.
2 – If the customer answers no (he hasn’t received it) he’s either lying to stall any further conversation (most likely), or you have his address wrong. Either way, it leaves you with next-to-no chance of recovering to a selling situation.
3 – If the customer answers yes, where does that leave you? You’ve then got to hit him with another question to move the call forward; usually “so…was it of interest then?” He’s probably already rehearsed the answer to that one, and it’s the one you’re expecting.
4 – Asking a “yes-or-no” question as an opening line is, always has been and always will be a pretty lame idea.
“Craig” could have supercharged his chances of success with this kind of pitch –
“…as you’ve been a customer of ours before, I wanted to let you know about a great deal we’ve got on at the moment: [Insert short, sharp, sexy info-hook] I can pop over Tuesday morning or Thursday afternoon to work out some prices for you…which would be better?”
An either/or question with an assumptive close built-in is a really powerful way to get what you want – in this case, a face-to-face appointment with the prospect.
And about that brochure – they definitely received it; it had either warmed them up nicely or they’d already thrown it away!
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