The Shutdown Window: Three Strikes and You’re Out

In generating sales leads, like baseball, you want a home run. But in order to get home, you have to make it to third, which means you have to round second, which means you have to get to first. Once you’re on first, making the rounds is pretty straightforward, if you pay attention and the right opportunity presents itself.But when you’re at bat, it’s a different ballgame. Someone is actively trying to prevent you from getting to first. And, given that .400 is an exceptional success rate, getting a hit is a lot of work.

 

When doing B2B cold calling, you are at bat during your first 12 seconds–the dreaded “Shut Down Window”. How you open your call can make or break your chance of even talking about the sale. But In baseball, you only have to connect on one of three good pitches thrown at you. In lead generation, there are three objections you must overcome in order to live through the Shut Down Window.

 

1. How long is this going to take? – Your prospect is busy and facing myriad pressures from both his customers, his employees and his boss. Every second you use is a second he loses in his struggle to keep up. Keep your opening lines short and to the point.

 

2. Is this person wasting my time? – It’s bad enough to lose time in a busy schedule. Even worse if that person is simply throwing that time away for something of little or no consequence.

 

3. What’s in it for me? – If you aren’t wasting your prospects time–that is, if you actually have something worthwhile to offer–how does your offer apply directly to your prospects job? If that seems like an awful lot to communicate in your first 12 seconds…it is. But it is essential if you want a chance at a successful script run-through. Miss any one of these, and you’ve struck out.

 

It’s important to be concise and clear in your into. No fumbling and stumbling over your words. Also, avoid sounding like you’re reading from a script, or that you’re simply rattling of something you have memorized. Make sure you’re taking TO your prospect, and not at him. Be sure to work yourself into their business category (“we do systems integration of the manufacturing industry”). Finally, make it clear that you don’t want to take up too much time.Once the client understands that your call is relevant and that you get that his or her time is important, you are much more likely to at least get onto first base.


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