Opening the Call!
Opening a Call with a customer is an A.A.R.T.!
This isn’t a typo, but a method for mastering a critical juncture in sales communications. One area where strong salespeople have the upper hand is in how they transition effectively from rapport building into discussing business.
A.A.R.T. is an easy set of steps that lay the groundwork and sets the tone for a smooth and productive call. There are four steps: Appreciate, Achieve, Relate the Value, and Time. Let’s look at A.A.R.T. in conversation:
Chris Rainmaker has been building rapport with Susan Client for about 5 minutes. He is now ready to transition to the business segment of the call:
- APPRECIATE: Thank your customer for his or her time.
Chris: “Thank you, Susan, for agreeing to meet. Everyone’s time is valuable and I have been looking forward to our conversation.”
Susan: “No problem.”
- ACHIEVE: List what you want to achieve and ask for customer input.
Chris: “I would like to cover three topics today. I want to revisit issue B from our previous call, share our new product C, and get your feedback on our new policy D. Are there other areas that are important for us to cover?”
Susan: “Let’s leave a few minutes for a quick question E.”
- RELATE THE VALUE: Explain how you hope the call will benefit the customer.
Chris: “Susan, I believe that by the end of the call, you will be pleased on how we have approached these topics and that they will alleviate the concerns you had expressed earlier.”
- Time: Reaffirm the amount of time needed to cover the topics.
Chris: “In our email, we agreed to set aside 30 minutes. Is that still good with you?”
Susan: “I really only have about 15 minutes, right now.”
Chris: “I see. It must be a busy day. I think our topics will take the full 30 minutes to cover properly, so can we pick a time to reschedule?”
Susan: “No, let’s continue. You’re right, there’s no point in not covering all our business. I can get my assistant to cover a few calls, so please proceed. You have the full 30 minutes.”
Notice how Chris maintains a conversational tone and offers to reschedule the call rather than compromise the agenda.
Remember to use A.A.R.T. with every call, in person or over the phone. It sets the stage for what both you and the customer want to accomplish, while ensuring the customer feels heard and appreciated!