Regardless of their politics, most people would agree that President Ronald Reagan was a great communicator.  When asked, he often said “I wasn’t a great communicator.  I communicated great things.”  I once heard someone say that the reason he was a successful communicator was that he had simple messages – endlessly repeated.  I suppose that is true in most things.

In yesterday’s blog, I talked about using structured improvisation as opposed to “canned” sales presentations in all of your sales process.  Then we dove a little deeper into handling objections in that manner.

Today, I want to visit the idea of using structured improvisation in your sales prospecting.

Regardless of what sales training system that you see today, there are some striking similarities when it comes to prospecting.  A prospecting model usually involves the following steps.


  • Introduction
  • Attention Getter
  • Benefit Statement
  • Action Step

Regardless of whether your chosen prospecting platform is electronic, telemarketing, face-to-face, or by referral – when you are speaking to the decision maker, you only have a short period of time to move through those steps and keep the attention of your prospect. So to be the most effective, you may improvise less in this part of the process than in others.

Structured Improvisation

  • Introduction – Improvised based on how you identified the prospect. Hello Bob, we haven’t met yet but we have a mutual friend in Jim. I’m Jeff West, founder of The Sales Tour Guide.
  • Attention Getter – Improvised based on your industry and your market.  I’ve recently been able to help companies in the area achieve double-digit increases in sales by directly coaching their sales and sales leadership teams.
  • Benefit Statement – The most important part of your contact. Improvise as to how you directly make their life better by being a part of their business.  I would like to get on your calendar for a few minutes to see if I can help you make more money by doing the same thing for your company.
  • Action Step – Closing for the appointment.  Do you have any time on your calendar next Tuesday, or would today be better for you?

Of course, the ways you may improvise your contact are limited only by your imagination.  However, staying within a planned structure can keep you from wandering off into an ineffective waste of your time and the time of your prospect.


How many different ways can you create that will improvise within the prospecting structure above?

What would be your best benefit statement to a prospect?