The Art of Selling: The "ICR"

I was in sales for over 30 years. Today I am semi-retired and have found that writing articles like these is a good way to educate the public. I learned many tricks of the trade over those three decades and will attempt to pass on a few over the time of several of these articles. The first deals with the very beginning of the sales approach. Assuming you have made an appointment to see the client or customer, or you are about to try to make a sale over the phone, you must begin with an ICR or “interest creating remark.”

It’s the very first thing you say after you’ve introduced yourself and your company. Often times, its sets the mood for the complete structure of the sales call. Depending on what you’re selling, the ICR can be very powerful. The following is a short list of typical ICR’s that have been used by myself and others quite effectively in the past:

  • How would you like to save a lot of money today?
  • I have an amazing new product to show you that could change your life.
  • Do you know the one thing that most business owners neglect?
  • What if I told you that I have nothing to sell you today?
  • There is a secret marketing tool that only a few companies understand.
  • Can you spare five minutes to make $10,000?
  • I noticed that you firm is allowing it’s biggest competitor an unfair advantage.
  • Do you know where you are wasting money the fastest?
  • I have something free to give you that you are probably paying for right now.
  • Do you know which of your employees is costing you the most?
  • I’ve researched you business and uncovered something disturbing.
  • I have a way to stop one of your largest losses from occurring.
  • I will truly pay you for just one minute of your time.
  • I just had an experience with a similar company I’d like to proportion.
  • What is your biggest complaint about people like me?
  • I heard from your accountant that you hate saving money. Is it true?
  • Which would you prefer, going out of business this year or next?

That’s give you a general idea of what the ICR does. It gets the person on the receiving end to think and allow the sale to continue. It’s a far sight better than saying, “I have something to sell you, are you listening?”

It accounted for some pretty good sales in my time. It’s especially worthwhile when you have been delegated to an assistant or a second in command. When that would happen, I would casually remark, “It’s too bad that you are going to be the one to break the bad news to your boss.” Now that statement would always get their attention. Of course they would want to know more. But I would say that I needed to speak with the decision maker in person because of the importance of the message or something to that affect.

The ICR is designed to further the call and move it toward a positive outcome. If you are in sales, it should be the opening salvo of every call. And yes, feel free to use any of the ones I have listed.

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