Proof that what I am about to share with you is an effective concept occurred just the other day: My phone rang and, when I answered it, the first thing I heard were the words “University of Massachusetts.” The caller had instantly caught my attention. Since UMASS was indeed my alma mater, I continued to give the stranger a few more minutes of my time. He spoke. I listened. There seemed to be a mutual self-interest as he explained the method behind his madness. He came across as a gentleman.
Long story short: We will meet for a cup of coffee as two independent business professionals with no agenda, other than to get to know each other. His call worked.
But why did it work? He was a complete stranger and his call was unsolicited. His call caught me by surprise, and then something happened. The “hook” happened.
You can think of “the hook” as a statement of commonality. In other words, it is the common denominator. Something, somebody or some place that both the caller and the called can instantly identify with. I suppose you can think of it as an “ice breaker.”
What “the hook” provides is an opportunity to present your case to an otherwise unreceptive audience. It breaks down the barrier of entry… briefly. What follows the hook is the important part. You must be the bearer of interesting news or information.
Examples of “hooks” might include your alma mater, like it did in this instance. Home town, type of pet, hobby, field of study, vacation destinations, music, art, medical mishaps, tattoos, etc. You get the picture.
Do positive results happen every time? No, they don’t. But they do happen once in a while, and there is no apparent downside they don’t work.
Make no mistake about it. In my story above, it was hope that gave this conversation a chance in the first place.
Before your next sales call, take the time to identify the hook. You will improve your chance for success by 63.45%.
Mike Marchev is a down-to-earth motivating sales trainer, author and business coach who specializes in the travel industry. For a complimentary copy of Mike’s 12-Word Marketing Plan send him an email at firstname.lastname@example.org with the number “12” in the Subject Box. His daily column is made possible by AmaWaterways.