Classic Opening Techniques for Expertpreneurs®
As an ExpertPreneur®, the better you are at selling, the better your business will be.
Whether it's giving a presentation at an event, during a webinar, or even selling over the phone… Your ultimate goal is to compel your audience to listen to what you have to say, and hopefully make a purchase.
Many sales books and articles focus on “closing sales.” And, admittedly, that's a huge part of the sales process. Understanding how and when to close, what strategies and techniques work in various situations, and what to do when faced with objections, are crucial to your success.
Yet, very few of these experts focus on how to open a sales presentation. And without a strong, effective opening, you'll never get to a point where you can attempt a close.
That's why I decided to take five classic, tried-and-true opening strategies and specially design them for Expertpreneurs®. Priming you with tools to attack each and every situation you come across.
So today I'll show you the undeniable power of a story…
Why honesty is always the best policy…
And why cold, hard facts can be the most direct route to your prospect's heart…
I have talked at length about the extreme value of telling a story to engage prospects and get them feeling a connection to you. It's hard-wired into our culture to listen to stories and share our experiences and knowledge through them.
If you want to hook your listeners or your readers right away, there's no better method than starting with a story. However, which story you tell will make a difference in whether it resonates or falls on deaf ears.
As an ExpertPreneur®, you should know your audience better than anyone. After all, prospect research is the cornerstone to your success in business.
So, when you are preparing a sales presentation, you should already know their hopes, dreams, and aspirations, as well as fears, frustrations, and problems. Understanding this is key to choosing the right story that resonates with them.
Let's say you are giving a live presentation to a brand new audience. In this case, a story would be a great way to break the ice.
The first step would be to research the event at which you're speaking and get to know the audience beforehand. Then choose a story based on their deepest reasons for being there.
For example, if it's a crowd of business owners hoping to break into the alternative medicine niche, and that's your specialty, you might talk about your “breaking in” story. A particular anecdote from when you were starting out, or maybe an obstacle you overcame (one that resonates with a fear/frustration/problem they have) to get where you are today (appealing to their hopes/dreams/aspirations).
Keep it honest, relatable, and most importantly, believable, and they will get on board with you right away. Opening up an opportunity to give your presentation to an attentive audience and potentially land sales.
Pain or Pleasure
A classic copywriting technique is opening up a piece with a big, bold statement.
This statement could be a huge benefit (appealing to their hopes, dreams, and aspirations) or a huge pain point (digging into their fears, frustrations, and problems). Which, by the way, will be the crux of every sales presentation you ever give, no matter what the medium.
If you read an email or listen to a webinar, and the headline or theme pushes a huge emotional button, it will get your attention. It happens every day.
Your sales presentations should do the same. If you know your audience inside out, you can tap into what keeps them up at night. And they'll want to engage with whatever you're saying.
For example, if you're giving a webinar presentation, you have to create a title. That title could very well be the difference between drawing in an audience or sending them away.
“The Five Stress-Free Exercises to Achieve a Flat Stomach”, would be engaging. Start with that, and then you could talk about the difficulty of going through life feeling uncomfortable with your body, trying hard to lose weight, but never getting anywhere.
Then bring in the “big picture” of what life is like with a flat stomach. Everybody stopping to ask about your secret. Or getting more hits on your Match.com profile. You name it!
If you lead with those emotional feelings that really connect with how they are feeling, you can bet that the audience would want to hear more.
Honesty is the Best Policy
If there's one thing expert business owners must do for our clients it is to instill a feeling of trust.
Consumers are jaded. That's not to say they are completely resistant to everything and refuse to trust anyone. They just need to believe that you are who you say you are, and can fulfill your promises.
This is one of the reasons why big benefits have been getting a bad rap recently. Marketers believe consumers won't respond to them.
If you're concerned about your audience not believing what you are selling or where you are coming from, a great classic opening is to be completely and utterly honest. Just as Joe Sugarman would have wanted.
Think about it: you're running a marketing campaign selling a group coaching event with 50 select clients. It's a high-priced event, filled with valuable and actionable strategies for your clients.
However, it's your first event and there's a risk people won't trust you. So part of the application process is a short phone interview with you to discern if they are right for your event. Much like the application process for a niche workshop.
A great way to start out that phone call, aside from typical pleasantries, would be to launch into an explanation of everything your event is not. Bursting potential myths about your event.
Let's say you're showing people great ways to earn money on the side. You're a life coach specializing in helping people live within their budgets and get more money. Prospects will probably be concerned that you're just scamming them.
So, how do you combat that and get their attention? Tell them right off the bat, “You will not become rich just by participating in this coaching. You will not be able to just sit back and listen, either. ” Continue to tell them everything they won't get by just being a part of this event.
This will not only grab them, because it's so disarming… It'll also position you to say everything you will be offering, and everything they will gain from participating. And you can pin it on them to put the work in to get results.
Oddly enough, being honest acts almost like playing mind games – no one is ever expecting it, so it knocks their walls of resistance right down.
Curiosity is yet another cornerstone of good sales. You always want to keep your readers intrigued by what you're saying, and always guessing about what comes next. Once you become predictable, you risk losing their interest.
A professor at Carnegie Mellon developed the “information gap theory of curiosity.” Essentially, he defined curiosity as “an innate human behavior triggered when a person believes there is a gap between what they know and what they want to know.”
This sensation inspires action. And for ExpertPreneur®, action means potentially downloading a lead magnet, subscribing to a newsletter, or buying a product and service.
Curiosity is best exemplified by “click bait” websites like upworthy.com, viralnova.com, etc… At their core, they share mildly interesting videos about a variety of topics. However, the crux of their traffic is due to the curiosity-based headlines they generate.
For example, “Mother Harassed While Walking Her Baby. Find Out the 3 Unlikely Words that Stopped It.”
Now, I don't know about you, but I'm wondering what three words she could have said. A lot of options are running through my mind.
This is the reaction you want to get from the get-go. You want to stir them into thinking about what you could possibly be talking about. Or to see if you really mean what you say. Or wonder if your claim is really possible.
For marketing purposes, there are a few different types of openings to stir these emotions. You could ask an open ended question, like “Are You Missing This Golden Opportunity?”
That's fairly general, but it definitely gets you thinking – am I missing out on something? What opportunity? I had no idea!
Another option would be, “Ever Wonder How Exercise Can Make You Richer?” Those two things don't really go together, right? That makes it intriguing.
If you are a fitness coach or a life coach, and incorporate these two elements into your signature solution (perhaps have a confidence-building 10 minute workout you do that will improve your client's wealth attraction) … that would certainly make a prospect stop and take notice.
And, of course, there's incorporating big benefits and pain points with the wonder of how to achieve or avoid them. Like, “The Key to a Life of Financial Freedom is Knowing How to Say No.”
This could apply if you are a time management coach, or a business coach, who can show the client how to delegate and get high value from their time. Most people think you have to do more to make money. This is contrary and interesting.
There's nothing more fun than reading articles about crazy studies that disprove a fact you always thought to be true. Or show statistics on a slice of culture you never knew about.
You've probably been drawn in by an infographic or two, if you spend any time online. These apply colorful graphs and charts to fascinating statistics. For ExpertPreneur®, typically those stats are related to their business.
Advertisements for health and wellness companies, financial newsletters, and even fitness coaches tend to use statistics to grab attention. After all, those industries rely on the intrigue and fear that come from those numbers.
For example, an alternative medicine coach and author might start a presentation with a statistic about modern medicine. Perhaps a shocking number of diseases related to certain prescription medication, or perhaps a number of extremely sick people who have been cured by your type of practice.
Obviously you want to choose statistics relevant to your target audience. Hitting close to home with a shocking number will absolutely jar your prospects into listening to you. Positioning you to offer a solution to the problem (your product or service!)
To effectively use this technique, you need to keep up with current events in your industry. Stay on top of what is trending in the news, social media, and in scientific circles. Inevitably you'll come across a great piece you can use to lead your sales presentations.
Start Out With a Bang
With these five approaches, you can easily get started developing effective sales presentations that will hit your prospects over the head and keep their attention.
Each one offers a different way for you to reach out to your audience. No matter your style, there is an option for you.
If you're the outgoing sort, you can go for the big promises and stories. If you're more introverted, you can make good use of curiosity-based questions and let statistics do the talking for you.
The next time you are putting together a sales presentation, whether it be for the stage, through a webinar, or over the phone, try to incorporate one of these five opening techniques. You will be amazed by how effective they can be. And you'll become much more successful in your business.
You will discover that you get a bigger response from your audience for it. And improve your bottom line.