Opening is the New Closing: “You Had Me at Hello” 1


“Always be closing” is a sales mantra from back in the day.  I haven’t checked, but I would be surprised if it is not in “Death of a Salesman.”  Now, with the ability to be super-prepared for a sales call, the most advanced understanding of advertising sales processes is that “opening” to achieve engagement is what wins client attention, engagement and ultimately closing.

Opening is the New Closing

Consider the a famous scene from Jerry Magurie when Renee Zellweger said:  “You had me at hello.”  Tom Cruise had the opening right when he said “Hello, I’m looking for my wife.”

I can say with confidence that in today’s sales environment, opening your sales conversation with a show of care, preparation and knowledge of the prospect’s situation is what wins attention.  Without attention you can’t close the sale.

When you go on a sales call tomorrow, the first challenge will be to engage your prospective client so that he is paying attention.  Too many sales calls feature the prospect thinking, “I’ll listen nicely and get this person out of my office ASAP, because I already know what I think of their property and I am very busy.”

Prepare to Open and Close

You have the advantage of incredible availability of information on your prospect’s industry and company.  But your prospect, too, has the ability to know far more about your media than in the past.

When you arrive at your next sales call the prospect will already have formed an opinion.  They may have looked up your site traffic on Compete or Quantcast, or if you’re a bigger site on ComScore.  They’ve seen demographic information — right or wrong — and traffic estimates and a list of comparable sites.  Perhaps they looked up your profile on Linkedin.

You simply must find a way to earn engagement at the open to show you deserve to be in the room, taking up their time.  When you’ve done the research and preparation, you’ll win attention, respect and eventually the business.


About Daniel M. Ambrose

Ambrose, launched ambro.com, corp. in 1994 to provide sophisticated strategy consulting and advertising sales training to advertising-driven media clients in the U.S. and abroad. Starting with the founding of About.com and iVillage in 1995, ambro.com has worked with hundreds of clients to help accelerate advertising revenue growth.


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