By John Holland, Chief Content Officer, CustomerCentric Selling® – The Sales Training Company

Image courtesy of Stuat Eman at

0-stopwatch-2Statistics from an AMA study found executives answer only 4% of prospecting calls. When buyers answer, sellers should have relevant content to share in the first 15 or 20 seconds. Unless mindshare is earned, prospects want to end calls at the earliest possible time. Mentioning product provides an easy out.

Imagine answering a call at home and the seller starting by asking: Would you consider replacing your old furnace with a more fuel efficient one? I’d venture to say the overwhelming majority of prospects would say they were not interested and end the call. Leading with product is seldom a good approach and usually starts a death spiral in the first seconds of prospecting calls.

With that in mind, what if the salesperson monitored sales of used homes and did some research on to find ones that were more than 20 years old? The call could begin as follows:

This is John Jones with ABC Energy. People buying older homes are often surprised by higher than expected energy costs. I’ve worked with homeowners for the last 14 years to help reduce energy costs. Would you be interested in learning more?

The early stages of buying cycles will be more successful if sellers create curiosity and incremental interest from prospects. Leading with issues in the first 20 seconds can earn the next 60 seconds to share results. From there, buyers may share a desired outcome that can be achieved with a seller’s offering, which starts buying cycles.

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