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The Ice Breaker

Learn the secret to breaking the ice and making small talk with new prospects.

By
Jeb Blount
May 1, 2011

Page 1 of 3

In this article we explore a question from a Sales Professional who wants to know the best way to start a sales conversation with a new prospect.

Deon, a Sales Professional in the metals industry, wrote us with this question:

Do you have any advice on what I call the ‘Entry Line’, small talk, or introduction when meeting for the first time? I find it difficult to come up with something snappy every time I walk into a prospect’s door, and I also don't want to be remembered as ‘the cheesy sales guy.’ What is the best way of starting a conversation with a new prospect to get the juices flowing?

How to Make Small Talk

Well Deon, one of the hardest and scariest things to do in life is to make small talk with total strangers. Yet as sales professionals, we are forced to do this every day as a core part of our jobs. Every first-time appointment or meeting requires us to initiate a conversation or, in your words, “get the juices flowing,” with a stranger.  For some salespeople, this part of the sales call is so uncomfortable that they have a hard time even getting out of their car or picking up the phone. And this call reluctance has a debilitating impact on their career.

Small Talk is Hard for Both Sides

Of course, most of us don’t take the time to put ourselves in the prospect’s shoes either. Think about how uncomfortable prospects feel too. Like you, they are meeting a stranger and being forced to make small talk. They also have their guard up because

a) they don’t want to be sold and

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