What do you do when your prospect says, “Okay, I’ll listen – but I can only give you five minutes?”

Your sales objective is simple: At the end of the five minutes, you want the person to say, “Please continue.”

Talking faster won’t do it. Reeling off features and benefits is a shot in the dark at best. Your best chance of winning that invitation is to zero in on what’s most important to the prospect and suggest that you might be able to help achieve it.

Try this approach:

In the first few seconds, acknowledge the time frame and suggest you’ll be finished in four and a half minutes.

In the next 45 seconds, deliver a brief infomercial on who you are and what you do, highlighting the distinctive benefits: “Alex, we help companies improve their cash flow by outsourcing their customer service and collections functions. Because this is all we do, we’re usually more effective and less costly than in-house programs. We’ve worked with XYZ Co. and ABC Inc., so we know your industry well.”

Use three and a half minutes to ask probing questions and identify the customer’s hot buttons. Don’t try to explain your solution. Simply indicate that you have one. “Alex, you said your biggest challenge is solving customers’ problems on the first call. We’ve reduced callbacks 37% for companies like yours.”

Use the last 30 seconds to acknowledge that your time is up and ask for another appointment.

If you strike the right chord, it’s amazing how many times a five-minute appointment will turn into a one-hour conversation.

Source: Tim Breithaupt is the founder of Spectrum Training Solutions and author of “10 Steps to Sales Success.” Info: www.spectrain.com

Bonus: I’m happy to be featured as a guest blogger on David Masover’s Process Selling Blog. You can check out my post on stepping outside The Comfort Zone here. Thanks to David for the opportunity.

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