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Sales Consulting and Training:

Getting Things Started on the Right Foot – Part One:

Setting the Direction of the Call – Part One

Consulting Sales, Sales, Consulting, Sales consulting training, Sales management consulting, Sales and marketing consulting, Sales process consulting, Inside sales consulting, Small business sales consulting In most cases, even if a customer provides you with a second chance, a certain level of skepticism (even miniscule) will always be in the back of their head. Therefore, it is important to know how to effectively set the direction of a call to ensure future success.

This stage is broad in that it begins with the usual pleasantries that accompany the initial interaction with a client and then takes you from the use of benefit statements to questioning to uncover client needs. It is during this time when you can determine a great deal about your client’s priorities and where they are in the buying process. In part one of this section, we will take you from the initial interaction to the use of an introductory benefit statement.

Building Rapport and Gaining Trust

As we always say, people do business with people they like and this is where you will begin to establish a relationship with your client. Given that different behavioral types have different needs, it is important to get a good feel for the person you are dealing with in order to establish rapport and find common ground. A doer will be more open to talking about common business interests or shared associations. A talker will be more willing to talk about shared interests. Oftentimes, they way a person’s office is laid out and decorated can tell you a lot about what is most important to them. 

For example, the General Manager of a division of a large energy trading company that we worked with was known for his love for auto racing. His office was covered with Ferrari paraphernalia and a great way to get on his good side was to talk about his passion. Learn what is of interest to your client and use this to establish rapport. Equally crucial is to be sincere in your interest.  People can see right through insincerity. Also, read your client to understand when it is time to finish the initial pleasantries and move into the business discussion. With some people, this may be after ten seconds. Watch for verbal and visual cues.


Now that you’ve had a chance to connect with your client, it is important to be able to transition smoothly into the reason for your call. Prospective and existing clients will appreciate your concern for their time. It shows respect and conveys the message that you are serious about the way you handle yourself and your business.

Client: “…and that’s why we’ll definitely go back to Palm Springs. We had a wonderful time there.”

Sales Rep: “That sounds great! Speaking of time, I want to make sure that we maximize your time by getting down to business.”

Another example of how to bridge could be:

Client: “I’m proud of my work with the association and the way I’ve been able to help our membership over the years.”

Sales Rep: “I can see you’re serious about what you do and take pride in your work. To ensure that our time today reinforces your goals, I’d like to start by talking about why I wanted to meet today.”

Benefit Statements

We’ve already talked about benefit statements and why they’re important. Now is the point when you can use an initial benefit statement to kick things off on the right foot. What is most important is to ensure that your benefit statement provides what it implies… benefit. Not benefit for you but benefit for your client. Remember, clients always want to know, “what’s in it for me?” This is the point when you position your company and yourself in a way that sets the tone for the rest of the sales call

An introductory benefit statement is made up of four parts and is very similar to the FAB statements we have discussed:

1.       A recap or Reminder of previous discussions, part successes or a general need found with other companies in the client’s sector, industry, etc. This is where you express a concern for your client’s needs.

2.       A characteristic of your product or service – this is the Feature in FAB

3.       Information or recommendations – the Advantage in FAB

4.       The value and ultimate benefit received by the client. This is “what’s in it for you” or the Benefit in FAB.

An example from our industry includes:

R – “During our last meeting, we had talked about your team’s need to find a time management system that could be rolled out across all departments to increase productivity.”

F – “One of the things I wanted to discuss with you today was the portability of our time management system and the fact that it can be incorporated into any planner, PDA or existing tool used by your employees.”

A – “This allows your team to take advantage of our methodology without scrapping their existing tools.”

B – “This enables them to quickly integrate our system and with less resistance to increase productivity across all departments.

Can you think of some introductory benefit statements that will enable you to make a successful transition to the heart of your meeting? Think about what will make your client’s ears perk up with interest. Remember that you need to “show” them why they should care about your product or service. 

In part two, we will build off of benefit statements and how you can use positive client feedback to strengthen and reinforce the value you bring to the table.

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