The title of today’s episode is “Time Frame” Opening Pitch. But this isn’t a complete opening pitch, just something to add into your opening. It will help you grab prospects’ attention right up front. Prospects will be much happier to hear what you have to say when they know you respect their time. Let me explain what a “time frame” pitch is and how it sounds. This strategy of giving a time frame at the beginning of your pitch will put a smooth close within your reach.
An example of giving a time frame immediately would sound like this. “Hi, my name is James Shepherd. I’m a local business owner here in the area. Could I take thirty seconds of your time to tell you a little more about what my business does? And I’d like to learn more about what you do, as well.”
To use it further into your pitch: “Hi, my name is James Shepherd. The reason I stopped by today is I’ve got a local company doing payment processing. Now, I know you probably get called non-stop all day long from people about credit card processing. This person can save you money and all that. I’m sure you get that, right?” [Merchant responds, and you continue.] “Here is the deal. I don’t want to waste any of your time or mine. All I want is one minute to show you an app on my phone.” [Go to instantquotetool.com.] “I have this app which I can use to give you a quote in literally thirty seconds. May I take thirty seconds of your time to show you why I’m different than everybody who has ever called you before? I can give you a quote without even asking for a statement.”
You may substitute your own prospecting strategy. But the idea is to make sure you’re asking prospects for a certain amount of time early in your opening pitch. This is similar to an old school sales technique called “reducing to the ridiculous.” Tom Hopkins talks about it, but I’m not sure who invented it. Here is an example. The prospect’s objection is, “I don’t want to do that because it’s going to cost me $20 more per month.” Your response is, “Well, let’s think about this for a second. Twenty dollars a month is $0.70 a day. Then divide that by the number of hours your business is open per day. How many is that? Okay – twelve hours. That would be $0.07 cents an hour. Are you really going to choose a solution worse than the one I’m offering because of $0.07 an hour? That’s just ridiculous, right?” I just reduced to the ridiculous.
The “time frame” pitch is comparable to that concept. When you walk in, the merchant thinks, “I don’t want to spend a lot of time with this person. I have a lot of things going on.” You need to reduce your prospecting pitch to the ridiculous amount of time. Thus, you ask, “May I have thirty seconds of your time?”
To truly take thirty seconds or one minute of time, make sure you have practiced, memorized, rehearsed, and/or role played what you plan to say during that short time frame! If you’re going to grab prospects’ attention for that amount of time, you’ve got to use it wisely.
This strategy is related to the great idea of permission close. I have found that I sell so much more effectively when I ask for permission to do everything in the pitch. I ask very assumptively, but I am asking for their permission. Especially is this helpful at the beginning, “I totally appreciate you’re really busy today. I was just visiting my friend, Bill, at XYZ hardware shop. He’s been processing with me for a while. I know you probably get people calling you all the time, so I don’t want to waste a lot of your time. Could I literally take one minute? I promise I won’t take longer than sixty seconds. I just want to show you what I can do for you by using my phone. I’ll email you a little PDF proposal. If it looks like something which would interest you, we can schedule a time later to talk. If not, no hard feelings. I’ll leave my business card and move on. Is that fair enough? Could I have sixty seconds of your time, Mr. Jones?”
That pitch is difficult to refuse. If you are one who complains that merchants kick you out, ask them for thirty or sixty seconds. Then be sure you are using that sixty seconds to the best of your ability. Once you pass the sixty seconds, though, continue using the time frame pitch by saying, “Oh, wow! We are going to be able to save you $3,000 a year, Mr. Jones. That is a very significant amount of savings. If I can actually pull off $3,000 a year in savings, do you have five more minutes right now? I could review some more of the paperwork and make sure this is a good fit for your company. I’m sure you’d agree $3,000 is a good return on investment of five minutes, right?” Keep using the time frame pitch.
After you do the presentation for five minutes, the merchant says, “Yeah, that makes sense. I think this would be good.” Then you respond, “Well, you know I actually have the paperwork with me right now. It’s going to take me about ten minutes. I’m sure you can tell I’m trying to be very respectful of your time. At this point, we both seem to agree you’ll be saving thousands of dollars a year. So hopefully, I can take another ten to fifteen minutes of your time right now. Let’s just get the paperwork done, so I can get the process started. Then I’ll give you a call back in a couple days once I have everything approved and ready to go. Does that sound fair?” Continue in this manner using time frame pitch, time frame pitch, time frame pitch. You can us it throughout your whole presentation.
I’m going to share a personal story where I used this strategy. I know you’ll enjoy this humorous experience. One prospect kept blowing me off. He’d say, “I’m too busy. I’m too busy. I’m too busy.” One day I walked in looking at my phone. I stood typing on it, totally quiet for a few seconds. Then I said, “Hey, George, hold on one second.” Of course, he’s wondering what’s going on! Then I said, “Okay, George, it is now 9:10 a.m. I just set my alarm for 9:15 a.m. When this alarm goes off, I promise you I will already be walking out the door. That is five minutes. May I have five minutes of your time, so I can go through this proposal? I promise I won’t take more than five minutes. May I have five minutes?” I set the phone down, and he responded, “Sure.” Then I went through the proposal. That is a rather extreme example of time frame pitch. But if you have someone really blowing you off, try that sometime. If you get kicked out, at that point who cares? You weren’t going to get the sale anyway.
You may choose to use the time frame pitch at different parts of your presentation. Maybe you don’t use it in the opening but in your close. Think about how you can best use the time frame to grab prospects’ attention. They’ll be much more excited to spend time with you if they know how much time they’re going to spend! Using this strategy will often put a smooth close within your reach.
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