By Tammy Shaw
As a sales professional, you’re focused on numbers. They rule your career, but the most successful salespeople learned early to treat prospects as people, not numbers.
During each “touch” – whether an email, handwritten note, text, phone call or meeting, focus on the prospect and let them know you care about the challenges they face.
Has your prospect turned into a ghost, not returning calls, texts, emails? Learn from your past. Understand what worked and what didn’t and evaluate why.
Look at your approach. Are you being too aggressive, going in for the kill before you even learn what the prospect actually needs?
When you charge ahead and expect the prospect to fall for your commanding presence, you forget the first rule of sales: relationships. Taking the time to learn the client’s needs and nurturing the relationship builds trust.
It’s like asking someone to marry you after you just met.
Some prospects will view you from the onset as a used car salesman type. Prove them wrong. Take time to grow the relationship and communicate in the right way.
- Review your approach and watch for the following signs:
- Talking too much – you need to listen to your prospect
- Asking rapid-fire questions, one after another
- Coming across as desperate for the sale
- Forgetting to prepare for the meeting
- Failing to take the time to learn your prospect’s needs
Build trust – surveys show only 3 percent of prospects trust salespeople. With that statistic, you already have an uphill climb ahead. Don’t make it worse by treating a prospect as a dollar sign. You know when that’s the case in your personal life; so does the prospect.
Forget about the sale at first and get to know the prospect. Forming a relationship allows the prospect to trust you and tell you what they need.
When the time in right, you can jump in with solutions for the prospect’s needs that they willingly shared with you during the “courtship.”
How to improve trust
Connect – Ask open-ended questions and just let the prospect talk. However, know your prospect as much as possible before first contact.
Listen – Find out what the prospect needs, even if you learn it’s not your product. Better to lose a prospect that you cannot help instead of keeping a non-productive prospect in the pipeline.
A light touch – after you get to know your prospect better, approach sales talk carefully.
Identify – Meet the prospect’s need with your product or service.
Create a positive experience for your prospect at each step and listen to their needs. Soon you’ll know if you can help. But if you can’t, tell them so and move on.