It seems getting the attention of prospective customers can be one of the hardest thing in sales. Once you've broken the ice things often seem to flow much better. The trouble is that people have night club bouncers guarding their brain – protecting it from unnecessary information. There's an almost automatic defence reaction - “Whatever you're selling, we dont need it”.
Why is that?
Interestingly you may think people are highly rational but the reality is the reptilian brain (the oldest part of the brain which is separate from the left and right brain - it's job is to keep you alive) is usually in control. It's busy filtering out all the irrelevant messages. You might think getting past the over zealous secretary is hard – reptile brain can be far worse.
On the first encounter, the prospects' reptile brain is evaluating your opening message and deciding – fight, flight or ignore. If you're pitch looks like something else that's been rejected then guess where you're headed.
How do you get past security then? Just like stage hypnosis, you need a mechanism to get past this zealous protector of the brain. Stage hypnosis works by using shock or confusion – if your sales pitch causes shock or confusion , the reptile brain needs some help from the more intelligent brain since your confusing message is beyond the processing power of the dinosaur relic.
Examples of how to cause confusion. “We don't need xyz?”. “Abolutely. That's exactly why we should meet to discuss”. Here they are expecting you to argue but instead you agree! OK this was a simple example but it will throw them off guard for a couple of seconds. You need to use those couple of seconds before the defensive shutters come down again.
Other ways to get past security are to not be seen as a threat. If you are asking too much of them then you are a threat. If you are simply asking for a few minutes of their time to ask a few question to see if you MIGHT be able to help then you are not making too big requests and not making wild claims so there is more willingness to have a short exploratory conversation.
In summary using confusion (in a positive way) can create openings and making sure you are not seen as a threat are the ways to be more successful in the opening approach.