Effective Selling Is a Sequence Pt. 1: Opening
The essential parts of this cycle include: Introduction or greeting, establishing rapport, qualify, presentation, trial close, overcoming objections, and closing.
Often times, a trial close will become the actual close if the first three steps are done well. To maximize your opportunities, each step is critical and shouldn't be glossed over. For example, your first contact with a prospect will determine the direction of the rest of the dialog. Did they like you or were they uncomfortable? Are they likely to open up with information or will they be withdrawn? Your attitude, the tone of your voice, the expression on your face, and the words use, can help or hurt you... Start with a welcoming smile and a helpful demeanor. This will aid you and your customer on your journey to a pleasant experience.
What should I open with? It's probably easier to tell you what doesn't work as opposed to what does. If there were a perfect opener, everyone would use it. The standard "May I help you?" sets the right tone implying the customer must be looking for something and that it's your job to help them. Unfortunately, it seems old and worn out. Often it can come off as insincere, especially when it's said reluctantly. Open with a genuine helpful attitude. The words mean far less than the way they are conveyed. I personally prefer a sincere "Welcome" and I look for a response. Following it up with "I'm here to help, so let me know if there is anything I can do for you."
Make sure you stop back for Pt. 2: Building Rapport and Qualifying.