Connecting with Prospects

20 Nov

 

jigsaw-puzzle-pieces

You finally got them on the phone – or finally got a chance to meet your prospect in person. Now you need to keep their attention.

I believe we over-complicate rapport building with prospects. We try too hard… talk too much… and often find ourselves nervous which causes us to step on our own feet.

The secret to developing rapport is being AUTHENTIC. If you don’t naturally have some of the skills and attributes I list below, then maybe you aren’t wired for sales. Because great salespeople don’t act in front of the prospect or customer. They follow a process – but don’t pretend or get flustered.

  1. Relax and begin informally. If you start by talking about your business solution, you might lose them immediately. Even though they may not have a lot of time, slow down and connect with the person on a human level. The first 30 seconds of the conversation is the most important and that is where the bond (or lack thereof) begins.
  2. Start with questions. You are a curious cat, no? Conversational questions should come naturally – but make sure to have a few questions prepared.
  3. Get them to talk. People like you better when you close your mouth and allow them to talk…. this means your questions are open-ended.
  4. Now they are talking – but are you really listening? People often ask questions and instead of listening to the response, they are thinking about two other things: (a) What is this person thinking about me? (which makes you nervous and keeps you off track) and (b) What is my next question? Be in the moment and don’t jump ahead!
  5. Great listening means being genuinely interested. If you don’t have this attribute, then I don’t think you can sell. You want to know about the customer’s hobbies, likes and dislikes – and you certainly want to learn more about their role and their business. Again, be curious!
  6. Tell stories. Instead of telling them why your product or service is SO wonderful, share examples of how you’ve helped your customers and give real life stories surrounding your solution. They are influential and more memorable than barking a generic value proposition.
  7. Reveal your interests and values. Sharing your passion and your values will resonate with the prospect and likely develop a stronger bond.
  8. Keep their best interest in mind. If you aren’t a fit for them, tell them and walk away. Don’t simply be a solution – but be the best partner and you will land the business and keep it for a long time to come.

I’m not suggesting that you walk into an appointment or take a call unprepared or too casual. Always have a list of prepared open-ended questions – and drive towards their challenges and how your solution can save/make them time and/or money. You need to have a specific outcome that you are driving towards during the interaction.

I think the rest is about being human. It’s about being authentic. Don’t be all things to all people. Be yourself.

It’s time to grow faster~ 
Drew Schmitz

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