In Part I, Do You “Show Up and Throw Up” on Your Prospects? we shared the importance of listening to your prospects instead of talking AT your prospects. Mastering the art of the buying/selling process is key to your success in sales. Here again, are the individual steps of this all-important process:
- Gaining Favorable Attention
- Discovering Wants & Needs
- Presenting Benefits & Consequences
- Getting Commitment
- Follow Up/Execution
Let’s combine the introduction and gaining favorable attention together. Usually, it’s a subtle move from one to the other. When you meet someone for the first time, do you take the time to think about your goal? Your only goal is to get permission to move to the next step and gain favorable attention.
Let’s talk about your introduction. There are two keys here. What is the one thing everyone wants to hear all the time? It’s their name! All individuals love to be called by name. Do you have a good technique for remembering names? If you don’t have a method, then you need to find one because it will differentiate you from the others.
You are probably saying to yourself right now, “I am LOUSY at remembering people’s names.” Go ahead, keep saying that, and you’ll keep proving yourself right. One technique to try is to actually pay attention the next time a server in a restaurant introduces him or herself to you. As your meal progresses, find at least one time when you can call this individual by name, even if it’s just to thank him or her for the service. Being conscious of remembering names is half the battle.
To polish your skills while meeting new prospects, ask them their name and repeat it immediately to make sure you have got it right. If it’s a common name, associate it with something or someone you know and “attach” that association with something distinguishing on the person’s face.
It doesn’t matter what technique you use … just use something! Do this all while maintaining eye contact. Have you ever tried to talk to someone who looks away from you? How about the person looking over your shoulder to find someone more interesting? At best, it’s distracting. At worst, it’s downright rude!
You will quickly move from the introduction stage to gaining favorable attention if you maintain eye contact and say their name. Another sure sign that you are allowed to move on in the sales process is to make them SMILE. You have established interest and identified yourself as a person of warmth. Shake hands firmly and be completely focused on them. You don’t know where this introduction will take you. Treat everyone the same, no matter their position.
Gaining favorable attention from the introduction is where you build up rapport. This could take place at a networking event, over the phone, at a cocktail party, or in an office. A word to the wise … focus on the prospect! Try to eliminate the use of the words “I,” “Me,” or “Mine!” It’s all about the prospect at this point.
Remember, you are listening for attention and something you can use in future meetings or conversations. This is the point in the process where you’ll be asked to describe what you do. These have been called many different things, but consider it your elevator pitch. In reality, it should only be a couple of sentences and should elicit more questions from the person you have just met.
Those who network regularly to build their businesses, meet a LOT of new people. How do you stand out from the crowd? The key is to say something as memorable as possible to everyone you meet. Have you ever tried telling a “Once upon a time” story?
We don’t necessarily mean “Once upon a time in a galaxy far, far away …” but you can use that concept in the way you describe yourself and your services. Fill in these blanks:
“Once upon a time there was (insert the name of someone who exemplifies your target customer, or maybe even the name of a past client). Every day he/she (insert his/her frustration or obstacle to overcome). One day we helped (insert the solution you provided). Until finally (insert what that solution helped your client do).”
Here’s a sample a consultant might consider:
“Once upon a time, there was a family-owned construction company that a father was getting ready to pass down to his son. Every day they struggled to find new customers because they were stuck in the 1950’s marketing mindset they used when the company was founded. One day we helped them create a strategic plan that had a heavy focus on updated marketing methods. Until finally they were able to double their revenue in 18 months to $6 million.”
Do you think your new prospect might remember you if you told a story like that? Do you think you’ll leave them with a better understanding of what you do and how you might be able to help them solve their problems?
He or she who tells the best story gets remembered AND gets to the next step in the buying/selling process. Tune in to our next post for the all-important Discovering Wants and Needs step.
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