sales hook

Sales Hook

As a salesperson you’ve probably heard the term Sales Hook, and you might see it as cheap and nasty. The stuff of Barrow Boys. It’s not cheap, and it’s not nasty; ignore the importance of sales hooks at your peril!

Sales hooks are a legitimate technique for grabbing the attention of your audience, so they have an opportunity to hear about your value proposition.

newspaper headlines






Sales hooks are nothing new; newspaper headline writers have been using this since the late 19th century, when increased competition led to the use of attention grabbing headlines. Headline writers of tabloid newspapers employ gimmicks or slang to raise a smile, broadsheets employ informative, factual and serious language!

Paid advertising and social media use it as click bate.

So where can the consultative salesperson employ the Sales Hook?

Sales Hook in Prospecting

sales hooks in prospecting






Weather your making a sales prospecting call, writing an introductory email or meeting someone at a networking event, a good sales hook is imperative. It’s simply a statement that grabs your audience’s attention, so they listen. You need to include your sales hook in your telephone script, email template or elevator pitch.

What Makes a Good Sales Hook

  1. It needs to be true – The statement first and foremost needs to be absolutely true
  2. It needs to resonate – The statement must correspond with the prospects pain point. Social Science tells us “that the pain of losing is psychologically about twice as powerful as the pleasure of gaining” (Kahneman & Tversky, 1979). If it isn’t a pain point from the prospects point of view, it isn’t a hook. So do your research
  3. Keep it short – People don’t have the time or the attention span. Know your audience and don’t use jargon!
  4. Make it sound exciting – People remember how you made them feel not everything you said (Maya Angelou)
  5. Try to make it a USP – If it’s unique to them; then you really gain people’s attention

Once you grab your audience’s attention, you have an opportunity for a conversation or to ask a question. If you can make it a USP or differentiator you grab their attention and tell them something they haven’t heard before.

Sales Hook in Discovery

sales hooks in discovery






Not only is a sales hook vital to grab attention but it’s essential at the sales discovery phase of the sales cycle.

Questions as Hooks Format

“Would you be interested if this could increase sales by 15%” or “would you be interested in saving 5 hours a week”.

Just make sure you can substantiate it. We explored this here The Challenger Sales Person here

In its basic form a Sales Hooks in a question follows this format “You know how (the problem) which (effect of problem)? Well, what we do is (solution to problem) which means that (benefit)”

Ultimately, there’s often an element of ‘trial and error’ and almost certainly refinement. Just make sure you don’t approach this in a ham-fisted way. Try to be professional and most of all; interesting.

For other references see Leadfeeder’s blog post on this topic here


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David Doyle

David has spent 30 years in sales successfully building business from zero to acquisition. Having studied Electronics and Computer Science at DIT and Enterprise Ireland's Export Sales Development Programme, he has spent most of his time in selling technology. He is founder and Managing Director of B2B Sell and leads a small team of experienced business and technology trained sales professionals.

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