This is not about dropping food on the floor but dropping the ball on the phone. In a recent interview, the infamous Wolf of Wall Street who has apparently smoothed over his sharp teeth to become a good, ethical sales coach, stated that sales people have 4-5 seconds to capture attention.
“You have about four or five seconds to get across three things: that you are sharp as a tack and enthusiastic and an expert in your field”, he told Reuters.
It’s true that you only get one shot at a first impression but how long is that window of opportunity open for? How many impactful words can you muster up in a miniscule amount of time? As world class sales experts ourselves, we believe that the diction is merely one part of the equation.
If it’s the first time you’re contacting this person then you’ll begin by addressing them. Try using their first name and posing the query as a statement instead of a question which would smell of uncertainty. Confidence, directness and staying steadfast to your intentions are crucial components to capturing a client’s attention in 5 seconds.
Your opening sentence must include authority which is stamped with the ink of integrity. This could be the name of your organisation, your position or the work you are doing within the industry, or an accolade which sets the company above its competitors in an impressive way.
The credibility statement should grant you their attention and interest which you can leverage for more time. At this stage you may want to set a timeframe (“this will only take a few moments”) and frame the discussion like a conversation rather than a pitch; followed by an open question empowering them to talk about their work and themselves. The alternative would be to ignore the timeframe and go directly into a question about their position or their job which gives you dominance in the call. The risk with the latter is your lead gets spooked because it smells slightly more of a sales pitch than the former would.