Connecting with Prospects and Customers

After reading the previous blog you can now see that trust is a necessary part of building a successful relationship. Let’s explore that a little further, from a business standpoint.

img_0059One way to look at the sales situation is a simple analysis of price versus cost. Let’s define price as the dollar amount required to purchase a product or service, and cost as the price per unit of value. But remember, the customer is the one who defines value, not you or the company you represent. You might think that trust is only important when you’re selling a value proposition. This is not true. Even if you’re selling a product or service on price, the prospect must believe you can provide it at that low price and on time. That takes some level of trust. Selling on value is almost all trust driven. The customer must believe that the benefits your product or service delivers will provide them enough believable value to make choosing your company the smart choice.

img_0061This means whether you are selling on price or value it requires trust. Sounds simple, but where does trust come from? Trust is the product of connection. Continued trust deepens that connection.  Let’s circle back to out subject. How can we connect with our prospects and customers, making  the sale possible? As you may have guessed, most successful transactions can be traced back to successful relationships. The formula that works best is:

Build the relationship🔗Develop the connection🔗Deepen the trust🔗Make the commitment🔗Ask for the business

Oversimplifying the process? Yes, but I believe it is accurate. President Theodore Roosevelt once said “People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.”  To build a relationship you must show the prospect that you care about them as a person and not just as a decision maker.

A good friend of mine always says, “First make a friend and then make a sale.” This approach has always made sense to me. If I think of selling as just making new friends then the whole process seems a lot less stressful. In fact, it’s kind of amazing that a company would pay you just to go out and make new friends! That’s not my whole job description but it is certainly the most critical part.

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Before you can build a relationship with a prospect you have to get in front of the decision maker . Can you build that relationship over the phone or with email or even Twitter? I must admit, I am old school when it comes to relationship development. I might build some sort of relationship over these media avenues but it’s hard for me to believe it would be much more than superficial.img_0062A big part of building a relationship comes from face to face contact, body language, voice inflection, eye contact and so on. I don’t believe you can get that on social media. However, social media can play an important role and we can discus that later.img_0064Let’s assume you have gotten past all the gatekeepers that guard the decision maker’s time and here you are, face to face.  I believe you should first thank them for the opportunity to meet with them. Second, show them that you know their time is important. Let them know you recognize the time you have in this first call is limited.

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In a new call you probably don’t have a relationship established and therefore there is no trust established. Assure them you will be brief and to the point. You don’t build a relationship by starting a sales call talking about your products. Starting out by proclaiming the benefits of your product will probably fall on deaf ears. A good way to begin is by asking how long the decision maker has worked for the company and what they did before. Next, you can ask what areas fall under his supervision. This is a good opportunity to compliment the decision maker.

img_0058Now, find something you have in common. Share stories about your experiences. Practice active listening by paying close attention to the things the customer talks about and make comments that show you are really listening. Now you can briefly describe your company, your products or services, and the benefits they bring to the decision maker’s company.

Key phrases:

⚪ Thank you for meeting with me.

⚪ I know, in your position, the demands on your times are huge. That’s why I will only take a few minutes. If I am here longer, it’s because you have an interest and maybe some questions.
⚪ That’s a lot of responsibility. How do you manage it?
⚪ If you don’t mind me asking,what’s the most important thing in management that has made you successful?

⚪ I appreciate you telling me that. Maybe we can talk more about that next time I’m here, if that’s okay.
⚪ Did you catch that fish in the picture? I’ve never caught one that big. How did you do it?

⚪ I promised I would not take too much of your time so let me tell you why I’m here.

⚪ I’m glad you’re interested. To be sure this is a perfect fit with your needs, I’ll need to find out more about your process.

⚪ I’d like to meet the person in your group that can show me around and answer a few questions. Then I will get back with you and we can see if you want to go further. If not, then I still feel like I made a new friend and you could do me a great favor. In my next visit let’s talk some more about your management style and how it has made this company so successful.

⚪ I really think I could learn some valuable things from your experiences.

Make a friend and build a connection. It’s an old school formula but it still works. TRUST ME.

Steve Haberly

I think you will find the next blog challenging as well as interesting. I will explain how all jobs and professions have one thing in common. They are all sales jobs, every one of them!

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