Impact Statements – A Redefined Approach to Selling – Part 1

Prospects will decide in a matter of seconds if they want to continue to listen to you, so how you start the first sales conversation is important. The fact is, without the first conversation, nothing else can happen. This means your sales team needs to be equipped with a strategy that provides a step-by-step plan for finding, engaging, and connecting with prospects to create opportunities for conversations every day.

Whether you use cold calling, email, or social selling strategies, sellers need to immediately make a real connection with buyers and prove they can bring solutions to the challenges the prospect is experiencing. Trying to make a sales pitch first, will result in failure.

In the early days of IBM, a great deal of emphasis was put on learning and using the Structured Sales Call. It began with establishing rapport and moving into the initial benefit statement, both are still important – but not in the way we were taught.

Now you need a sales methodology that includes rapport, value, and a relevant call to action. There are several ways to do this, but we recommend starting with an impact statement. An impact statement does two things to help build rapport, trust, and understanding:

  1. Qualifies the prospect to see if they are a good fit for your services.
  2. Qualifies the salesperson in the prospect’s eyes.

The impact statement is not meant to do the selling, instead it should focus on the buyers’ issues. In the most basic form, an impact statement is a new elevator pitch – getting across the benefits of doing business with you. The impact statement should be about 45 seconds long, should speak to the buyer’s language not yours, address their needs not yours, and create opportunities to move forward.

In this first of a two-part series, we will describe how to use an impact statement as a tool early in the sales process to help get the prospect’s attention and establish your credibility.

The first step begins with researching the prospective customer and incorporate your findings into your impact statement by saying something like “I have done some initial research and noticed…” This shows you made an effort to learn about his/her company, and that it isn’t just another rehearsed sales pitch.

Second, if you want to keep the prospect engaged you need to talk about issues relevant to them and share what your customers have experienced when using your solutions. Incorporating relevant issues into your impact statement is a great way to establish your company as a problem solver and emphasize that you create value for your clients. The structure looks something like this:

  1. Include relevant pre-approach research information.
  2. Provide general benefit your company has provided to similar companies.
  3. Suggest similar benefits are possible for them.
  4. Use positive language focused on what they will get.
  5. Secure a meeting to advance the sale.
  6. Keep it brief.

When opening a sales call, you must be able to speak with impact and credibility. It took a lot of effort to get in front of this prospect – don’t waste it! Don’t start out on a fishing expedition or pitching your product. Instead, know how you’re going to work with this prospect and get his/her interests. Your goal is to have the prospect want to know more.

Check back next week for the second part of this series where we’ll share basic framework of an effective impact statement, some impact statement examples and six steps to sell with impact.

If you’d like more information about how to get started on creating your impact statement, we’d love to help! Contact our sales partner, Tom Heinmiller at or call 614.961.0088.

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