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Your Prospect’s Attention Span is Short

It is super easy to lose your prospect’s attention on a cold call. When you do, click . . . the call is abruptly over.

When you make contact with a new prospect-either by telephone or in a face-to-face meeting-you have an extremely short window of time to grab their attention. If you don’t, they will quickly tune you out.

Seven Ways to Lose Your Prospect’s Attention

Unfortunately, most sales people fail to effectively open the call with a new prospect. Here’s how they typically blow it in the first five seconds of the cold call:

  1. Start a telephone conversation with, “Hi, how are you?”
  2. Open your conversation by introducing yourself, your company and what you do.
  3. Make small talk
  4. Give them an overview of your products and services.
  5. Explain how your product or service will benefit them.
  6. Tell them what other companies you have worked with.
  7. Show them the awards and accolades your company product has received.

The moment your prospect senses that you are trying to sell them something that they don’t need or want they will tune you out and look for a way to disengage or disconnect from the call.

  • They don’t care about you.
  • They don’t want to know about your company.
  • They don’t want to listen to you talk about your products or service.

Instead, they are interested in relevant information that helps them solve a problem and improve their unique situation.

Step Into Your Prospect’s Shoes

It may sound simple but most sales people don’t get it. They still believe that selling means talking at great length about their company, their product or their service.

However, it’s really about asking the prospect the right questions and demonstrating that you can help them solve a particular problem or issue. That means you need to direct ALL of your attention on their situation and resist the opportunity to talk about your company or your offering.

If you are making cold calls you can accomplish this by modifying your opening statement or voice mail message. State a specific problem they are likely facing (based on your experience or research).

For example:

“Mr. Big, if you’re like other companies in ABC industry, I suspect that you (fill in the blank with the problem). If this is the case, call me at 800-555-1212 and I might be able to suggest a solution. By the way, it’s Kelley calling and my number is 800-555-1212.”

This also applies to face-to-face meetings as well. When you meet with a new prospect for the first time, the last thing you want to do is to start blathering away about your product or service.

Instead, open the conversation by asking, “Mrs. Prospect, many of our clients are currently experiencing (insert the problem here). How does that compare to your company’s situation?”

This demonstrates that you are knowledgeable of their business and/or the industry and it gives your prospect the opportunity to tell you about their chief concerns.

The Right Questions Matter

Over my career, I have learned that most people will tell you anything you want to know providing you give them a reason to do so. Launching into a product demo does not achieve this but showing interest in their business does. Therefore, key is to develop and ask high-quality questions.

Several years ago I worked with a company who regularly participated in industry trade shows. I observed them at one show and noticed that their sales reps simply talked about the products that people showed interest in.

Not surprisingly, their closing ratio was low because in most cases they gave information that was not relevant to that prospect’s situation.

After some training, they began asking people a few high-quality questions to determine the people who had problems, challenges, and were seriously interested in their products. The result, sales went up!

Grab Attention by Being Relevant

Here’s the bottom line. The more time you spend talking about your product, the less inclined a prospect will want to continue that conversation. The more you focus your attention on their situation, their problems and demonstrating how you can help them improve their business, the more you differentiate yourself from the competition.

You only have few moments to connect with a prospect so keep it brief. Keep it focused. Keep it about them. And you will keep their attention.


Did you know that Sales Gravy teaches sales team across the globe how to be more effective on prospecting calls? Explore our powerful Fanatical Prospecting Bootcamp and learn why a who’s who of sales organizations trust Sales Gravy to help them build better sales teams, fast!

About the author

Kelley Robertson

Kelley Robertson

As President of The Robertson Training Group, Kelley has helped thousands of sales professionals…

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