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Foundation for Sales Success

Terry M. Sullivan
T M S Consulting

Have you ever faced a prospect who has told you..."Cut to the chase, just get to the bottom line, gimme your spiel"? Did you give in to panic and answer the question? Did you leave the office convinced you would never get the order? If so, then understanding the importance of the warm-up is critical. FORM is an acronym for a great formula to ensure that you will create trust, establish credibility, and set the stage for effective problem solving conversations with your prospect.

The "F" stands for family: Take a look around the office. Do you see signs of proud parenting? Remember, that most people work because they have responsibilities to others. This is a great way to find common ground.

The "O" stands for occupation: This is vital to your success. Everyone likes to talk about themselves. Always be sure to ask questions about their experience before your begin your transition into the fact-finding part of your conversation:

How did you get into this type of work?
How long have you been doing this?
What do you like best about what you're doing now?
What kind of work were you involved with before joining .....(current company)?

The successful salesperson wants to find out where the prospect gained his or her Depending on the prospect's background, you will want to tailor your approach.

The "R" stands for recreation... Many times common ground is the playing field, be it golf or tennis. Finding out how someone relaxes and spends free time allows you to connect on a person to person basis even if you don't share exactly the same interests.

The "M" stands for motivators... Are there any clues as to what gets this person excited about what he or she does? Are there any signs of community involvement like the Chamber, a non-profit association (a t-shirt from a fun run for a health organization is a good example).

Whether the "hello" feels as though you have known one another for years or if it feels too cool for comfort, using FORM will help you to connect. Don't limit yourself to the amount of time that you spend in this part of the process. It is probably the most valuable time you can invest. Remember to return your focus back to the prospect even when they ask you questions about yourself. Your job is to learn about them, not get entangled in your own interests or activities.

Terry M. Sullivan, founder of TMS Consulting specializes in sales and marketing support and offers a wide range of business training. For more information about T M S Consulting, call 770-448-2117 or visit her website at