Everyone you’re trying to sell has different personality types, obviously. But it’s very important to be able to recognize what type of personality the person sitting across from you (or on the other end of the phone) has. There’s pretty much only two that matter: There’s the very direct, get to the point people, and then there’s basically everyone else.
You can’t sit there and try to talk about your personal life and how the weekend was with the direct people, you’ll lose their interest right away and they’ll think you don’t know what you’re doing. Conversely, you can’t just start to get right into your meeting if the person want to talk a little, they might actually be put off.
What I always do is just ask the simple question, “How’s the day going?” That’s a nice way if saying hello, but puts the ball in their court as to where they want to take the conversation. If they say just a one word answer and don’t ask you back, then you know you got a direct person and the next sentence you say should be, “well I appreciate your time, I’ll get right into it.”
There’s a great line from the movie Suicide Kings, staring Christopher Walken who plays a gangster. He said that the only reason he was still alive was his ability through his life to size up the person sitting across from him a half a second quicker than they could him. That’s the approach you have to take, not that you’re trying to extort them for money (I hope) but you need to be sizing that other person up as soon as you meet them.