The First 15 Seconds of a Sales Call: How to Get it Right

The most important part of a sales call, and one that you can never stop improving, is the first 15 seconds.

If your first 15 seconds on the phone is anything less than great, gatekeepers aren’t going to put you through to decision makers.  Decision makers won’t stay on the line long if your first 15 seconds doesn’t resonate with them.  Every word counts, so you’ve got to get it right.

At Natural Training we don’t believe in scripts, but it’s worth honing your first 15 seconds to perfection. A great daily habit is to practise it with a colleague. Listen to each other’s first 15 seconds and make little improvements. A word here and a pause there can significantly increase your chances of success.

On our Natural LIVE! training and live-calling events, we always practice the first 15 seconds. It sharpens brains, puts everyone in the right frame of mind and gets people fluent and polished with their opening line.

So what makes for a great first 15 seconds? There are five key components:

1) Who you are.

2) Where you are calling from.

3) The purpose of your call, which is essential.  This must be razor sharp to have any chance of getting you anywhere. Use the word ‘specific’ to show that you’re focussed. For example: “Mr. Prospect, there is a specific purpose for my call.”

4) An effective first question. This should portray you as a highly credible person with insight, and make the prospect think. For example, a reseller of security software might say to a prospect, “Ms. Prospect, many of my clients are currently concerned about the risk a large remote workforce represents for their data security. What’s your roadmap for protecting vulnerable endpoints whilst improving always-on access to the documents your remote workers need?”

5) Permission to proceedin other words checking that it’s OK to talk now.  This is optional, but can be very effective if it’s done well. My favourite version is, “Mr. Prospect, have you got 30 seconds?” It’s hard for the prospect to say “no” to this, and it’s a much better question than, “Is now a good time?”  Ask the latter, and 95% of the time you’ll be thrown off the call, even if all the other person is doing is playing with a desk gadget.

In summary, perfecting your first 15 seconds is an excellent and important exercise. It limbers you up and gets you thinking about the right message for your prospect. With practice, your opening sentence will sound natural, warm and believable. When you speak to prospects, wonderful things will start to happen.

If you want to make more progress with decision-makers, make a habit of practising it every day, starting right now.

The First 15 Seconds is one of our most popular and effective ShortBurst sessions in our Natural Live training programme. Sometimes we will spend a whole day just getting that right with a team by practicing it in the training room, putting it to immediate use on the phone with trainer support and coaching followed by further coaching in the training room and then back on the phones to get it right!

Every month we hold a free Breakfast Roundtable for you to learn from our CEO Matt Drought on how to create phenomenal energy on your Inside Sales floor.  Call us on 020 7043 1582 or email to register your interest.


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