The fate of your deal rests in the first four seconds of the sales call. That’s it. If you can nail the first 4 seconds, often the deal is as good as yours. Why is that? It’s because of the importance of first impressions…
Sales rep Sam, for example, always botched his first impressions. So, even though he was selling a solid product, buyers never stayed interested long enough to hear about it.
But Walter knew the importance of a strong first impression. He knew by immediately playing the three specific roles we’re talking about in this video, he’d always win over his prospects.
And guess what? If you implement the 3 roles we’re going to cover, you can do the same too.
Now, first impressions. They set the foundation for the rest of your sales call. If you come off as a commission-hungry sleaze, good luck earning trust with your buyer.
First impressions count. And they form almost instantly, as soon as 33 milliseconds according to some studies.
For sales reps like you, they’re even more important than people in an average job. Because your buyers are busy. And in the short time they give you, you need to build up rapport especially quickly.
So the question is, how do you do it? How can you win over prospects in the first four seconds of a sales call?
It all comes down to playing three key roles. And the first role you need to play is that of…
1. Be the Expert
The expert. If you’re coming off unprofessional or unknowledgeable right off the bat, a buyer isn’t going to waste their time listening to anything you have to say. And if they do, they’re probably just waiting for their chance to leave.
So how do you prove to them that you do, in fact, know what you’re talking about here? Two words—Social. Proof.
Social proof is key to demonstrating your expertise before you ever even get on the call. And there are three specific ways to show that social proof.
First up is LinkedIn. The LinkedIn platform is fantastic for demoing social proof. Endorsements, testimonials, credentials—buyers can see all of it in just a few clicks. But beyond that, they can also get a look at the thought leadership content you should be creating.
So be sure you’ve created a complete profile here. Ask for endorsements. Put out original content regularly. And check in once a day or so to stay active. It doesn’t have to take more than 15 minutes.
Now if you’re social selling, buyers coming through the platform should see your page immediately. But if you’re not, I’ve got a tip coming up that’ll boost the odds of your prospects checking out your LinkedIn page.
Network. Who you associate with says a lot about who you are. Are you connected with big names in the industry? Have you worked with top players before? What brands have you sold for and to?
A smart buyer will do their homework before setting up a call with you. And they’re sure to check out who you’re connected with, most likely through LinkedIn.
But if you’re especially savvy, you’ll have your own website set up that prospects can look through. Here you can house all your thought leadership content as well as your experience, testimonials from clients, and endorsements.
So make sure you’re doing the work of collecting this kind of social proof from your clients. Because they can do wonders for trust-building before you hop on the sales call.
C) Setup Email
Setup Email. This is the sales call confirmation email that buyers will get after booking a time with you.
Typically this email will include all the basic info. We’re talking time and date, agenda, and a few words on what else buyers can expect.
But this email is the perfect place to include some pieces of social proof to start the trust-building process. A testimonial here. A success stat there. Nothing too over the top. You don’t want to come in too strong.
Your signature line is also a great place to include links to your website, testimonials, and LinkedIn profile.
And finally, you could even point them to a piece of content you created within the email.
2. Be the Equal
The equal. A successful relationship is one that’s built on equality. Each member needs to give and take equally. And if your buyer is the one with all the power, they’ll never give you the respect and consideration you deserve.
That’s why you need to be the equal here.
A) You Are Serious
You are serious. You aren’t some second-rate sales rep that’s pestering prospects into buying. And you aren’t sending hordes of desperate emails or calling five times a day.
Nope, you’re a professional. And to make sure that comes through, there are a few things you can do.
First, put some effort into your appearance. Clean, smart clothing. Impeccable hygiene—comb that hair. And equipment and a camera background that says, “Hey, I do this for a living. And I take this seriously.”
Second, come prepared. Sending out an agenda beforehand is a must. And showing up on time, with all your necessary materials in-hand, is key.
And finally, get to the point. A bit of small talk is fine. But don’t let things go on for too long. Your buyer’s time is valuable. And so is yours.
2. You Aren’t a Crook
You aren’t a crook. And you don’t have to trick prospects into buying from you. That’s because you have real value to exchange here. A lot of the work being done here comes from the social proof you’ve shared before the call.
But you can also tweak your language to build trust. Stay away from getting too personal or friendly early on in the relationship. Keep communication professional—no swears or inappropriate stories. And don’t badmouth your competition. It might be tempting to bring a competitor down to boost yourself up. But doing so makes your own business come off shady.
And the third way to show you’re an equal is by proving…
B) You Are Assertive
You are assertive. You don’t let the prospect walk all over you. You can start by taking control of the call at the outset. Be the first to show up, the first to talk, and the one to set the agenda.
Depending on the buyer, you may hit a bit of resistance. But don’t give up control here.
For instance, when clients try to take hold of the conversation or steer away from the agenda, simply say, “This is the way these things normally work,” and redirect the conversation. If they do it again, pause, and then repeat. They’ll get the point.
This is your show here. So act like it.
Now, the final role you’ve got to play on calls is
3. Be of Value
A rep that has value. You’re an expert so you’re not wasting their time. You’re an equal so you’re worth listening to. And you have value, so you have what it takes to make your buyer’s life easier. They just have to listen up.
A) Your Product Is Solid
Your product is solid. Testimonials, credentials, awards, referrals, and other social proof nuggets are powerful here. Your product works! And here’s the info to prove it.
But you may want to take things a step further too. In the agenda confirmation email, try pointing them to a bit of light reading on your product before they jump on the call. It could be product details, case studies, even blog posts. Whatever it is, you want your buyer to come into the call confident that what you’re selling isn’t a sham. And in fact, it might be the exact solution they’re looking for.
B) You Are Knowledgeable
You are knowledgeable. The old “It practically sells itself!” saying is bull. Any sale, no matter how great the product, can be completely ruined by an unknowledgeable sales rep. Because even in the high-logic world of B2B sales, buyers still need to work with someone who knows what they’re talking about.
And if they catch even a whiff of you fudging numbers, getting product details wrong, misunderstanding use cases, or generally not knowing what it is your product does, they’re going to head for the hills. And fast.
So make sure you’re doing your due diligence beforehand. Or else you might end up looking like a fool.
C) You’ve Done Your Research
You’ve done your research. You need to show that you know you can specifically help the person you’re talking to.
What problems is their business currently facing? What issues are cropping up across the industry? How are their competitors handling these changes? These are all must-knows here.
Because the more specifically you can cater your product’s benefits to your buyer’s exact needs, the closer to closing you’ll be.
LinkedIn is a great research tool here. Dive into what types of content the buyer’s been sharing, creating, and commenting on. Get a feel for what they’re focusing on before the call.
And if you’ve helped a business like them in the past, send over case studies or some numbers beforehand. That way they’re getting on the call knowing you’ve helped someone similar in the past.
So, to win over your prospects in the first 4 seconds of your sales calls you need to –
1. Be the Expert
First, be the expert. LinkedIn, networking, and including social proof in the call setup email are your friends here.
2. Be the Equal
Be the equal. Remember, that one, you are not another pesky salesperson chasing and pestering the prospect. Two, you’ve made it clear you have value to exchange. And three, you aren’t some sort of pushover.
3. Be of Value
Be of value. You’ve got a solid product. You’re knowledgeable. And you’ve done your research.
And when you’re able to play all three roles the instant you step on your sales call, you’ll immediately be building rapport, earning trust, and boosting your odds of closing.