Approach – 12 Techniques for a Successful Approach

Here are 12 techniques that can be used to make a successful approach:

  1. Identify the purpose of the meeting first.
  2. Ask a question that leads into the prospect’s interest.
  3. Get the prospect to participate.
  4. Promise a benefit.
  5. Offer a survey.
  6. Open with the product.
  7. Use a visual.
  8. Use “shock” treatment
  9. Tell a story.
  10. Use a referral.
  11. Give the prospect something.
  12. Use a gimmick.
  13. Pay a compliment.

Identify the purpose of the meeting first.

Most salespeople start the approach by introducing themselves. Now, if the first few seconds in front of the prospect are so important, isn’t the salesperson wasting them by greeting the prospect with the least interesting of facts? To get attention quickly, wouldn’t it be better to say something like: “Ed and Clara, I want to show you some fabulous new ______ that will generate excellent sales for you. I’m Sam Salesperson.”

Ask a question that leads into the prospect’s interest.

Questions are an excellent tool when used properly. But the salesperson must be very careful not to avoid questions that could be answered “No.”

“What types of ________ does your company use?”

“You probably are always on the alert for ways to get the most for your dollar; that’s right, isn’t it?”

Get the prospect to participate.

A person can pretend to listen, but he can’t continue with one line of thought and participate in another.

Promise a benefit.

“I think we have an idea that will save you money.”

“Ed and Clara, if I could show you how to save money on your ________, would you be interested?”

Remember – people buy benefits and solutions to problems, not products.

Offer a survey.

“Ed and Clara, we have a product that may be able to make you money, but I need to ask you a few questions first. Let’s sit down and go over a brief survey form, and then I will be able to tell you about what we have to offer.”

Open with the product.

______________ can stimulate plenty of interest simply by its appearance, so it can be used for the opener.

Use a visual.

Samples of work you have done for others and art work can all be used as a visual way to get attention.

Use shock treatment.

Open with a startling fact or a strong statistic.

Tell a story.

We all like to hear a story, provided it’s stimulating and told well. The story can be combined with the other approaches that have been mentioned.

Use a referral.

Use the name of another person as an introduction. “I believe you know Ed and Clara Customer. They suggested that you would be interested in hearing what they are doing to increase their sales with our __________ line.”

Give the prospect something.

Giving the prospect something of value can be used as an opener. We all love to get something for free.

This can be an especially good technique if the free gift is something that ties into the product. Then the salesperson can use the gift to stimulate interest.

Use a gimmick.

Salespeople have used thousands of stunts or gimmicks to get the prospects’ attention. While they are planned to lead into the presentation, the gimmick is primarily for attention. In attempting to sell T-shirts to Disney World, I got their attention by sending them a personal letter printed on a T-shirt. I recently used custom fortune cookies as a means to get the attention of prospects.

In using any stunt, remember the purpose must be to gain favorable attention. After gaining attention, the salesperson must quickly move into stimulating the prospect’s interest in satisfying a need.

Pay a compliment.

This is one of the simplest and easiest ways to get attention, yet it is difficult for many.

If you have difficulty giving a sincere compliment, use the What-Why-Question formula.  First, tell the person what it is you like; then tell why you like it; then ask him a question about it.


By planning your words and actions before you meet the prospect, your chances of carrying through a successful sales presentation are dramatically improved.

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