Many sellers believe the sales conversation kicks off with the pitch. You know, a rehearsed description of the product/service and their associated benefits, topped off with a dash of pressure to “buy now” or “book an appointment.”
In this relationship era, selling is all about connecting. And that’s where the pitch-first strategy falls apart—you’re overwhelming the prospect with information and demanding a commitment.
Selling isn’t about pushing product. It’s about creating an emotional environment that gets a person to open up. Once you’ve set the psychological scene, you can gently lead the buyer from a friendly introduction to a signed contract.
Below, we’ll look at some conversation starters and best practices designed to improve your sales calls. And no, they don’t involve weather or the local sports team.
What conversation starters should accomplish:
The best sales calls are personable, yet professional. Often the challenge lies in striking a balance between the two. So long as the conversation stays within “safe for work” territory and doesn’t include a high-pressure pitch, you should be okay.
Ideally, your first interaction should help you identify your prospect’s goals and what you can do to help make reaching those goals a bit easier.
When you hang up the phone, you should have the following information:
Does the prospect need the product/service?
Does it fit their budget?
What factors affect their decision?
Is this person the decision-maker?
With that in mind, write down what you hope to get out of the conversation, so you can build your questions around a specific goal.
Research before you call.
This seems obvious, but you should never go into a sales call without knowing who you’ll be talking to. If someone picks up and they “have some time to talk,” you need to be prepared with a few personalized questions.
If this prospect is in your CRM, great—you’ll already have some information on hand, such as lead source, an initial email, or evidence they downloaded a lead magnet. Obviously, these CRM clues provide some context, but you’ll need to do some digging on your own to get a sense of who you’re talking to.
Google the company your prospect works for and learn more about what they do. This will give you some foundational knowledge to ask about the buyer’s role and where you can add value.
You can learn a lot from someone just by reviewing their LinkedIn page, too. Here, you’ll see things like connections and job experience, but also hobbies and passions. Do you have mutual connections? If so, bring that up to establish some familiarity right off the bat. It’s these extra steps that inform the questions you ask.
Prepare to ask open-ended questions.
There are questions you can quickly reply to with a simple yes or no: “Do you want to save time?” Or, “Do you want to make more money?” These don’t qualify as conversation starters.
How many questions should you ask?
Unfortunately, there’s no magic number when it comes to how many questions you should ask. We will say this, don’t approach your sales conversation like a checklist, otherwise, your prospect might feel like they’re being interrogated. A conversation is a back and forth, and the goal is to make this enjoyable for the prospect so that they want to talk to you again.

Make It A Champion Day!

From his success on the sales floor of an automotive dealership  to becoming a veteran trainer and then the adoption of technology for Internet-based marketing, his career has evolved to deliver the skills and tools needed to help consumers. Richie Bello combined his automotive expertise with his robust desire to “take care of the customer first” to become an automotive influencer, published author, and renowned trainer.  Bello absorbed the wants and needs of consumers as he worked up the ladder of the automotive industry.

Over the thirty-five years of his career, he developed strong Internet marketing skills, leading him to developing software solutions that create ease for consumers, and helps dealers improve relationships with customers. Innovation drives success. And, for Bello, it’s in his DNA. took years to come to consumers and arrived in a timely manner, during the 2020 Pandemic. With over 6 million vehicles on the site, features that help consumers deliver, finance and warranty, Bello has met the retail digital age head on.

Bello also is founder of Richie Bello Institute of Leadership and Management, a 501C3 not for profit, dedicated to the recruitment, education and employment of veterans into the automotive industry. Visit


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