Calling myself a sales professional used to freak me out.
I mean, really, I loved communications and connecting with others – I even have a degree in it!
But like most of us, I didn’t learn sales from college courses or a certified program. It wasn’t until I started working for my first small company outside of school that I learned some of the foundational pieces as to how to actually sell and market to people.
Back then it felt more like a numbers game though. You know the whole expression,” smile and dial?” If you know me, you know I had the smiling thing down, but wasn’t sure what to do after that. My supervisors taught to make a list of companies and just start cold-calling people to get in the door. Fun right?
Um, no. It wasn’t fun at all! It was exhausting.
Every day, I got hung up on, yelled at, and occasionally, I was surprised by a polite “no thank you.”
Nothing changed for me in that realm until I practiced connecting with people from a personal level first. I have always loved people and getting to know them better, so for me, applying that to my job at hand made a difference. That is, understanding their role at their company, what was important to them, and how could I help them fulfill their desires around what they wanted for themselves.
That’s when the push back stopped, and the selling began. My work became more like building connections with others and seeing how I could help them – now THIS was something I could relate to.
I lived in Chicago at the time and would go to large conferences at McCormick place to walk booth-to-booth getting to know people and asking about what they did. Once I felt that rapport with someone, I would ask about their training for their products and employees within their company. At the time I was selling custom online training solutions (most commonly known now as e-learning). Back in 2002, custom e-learning was new to many companies. So I was not only educating companies about what it is, I was also asking questions to see how I might be able to help each company I came into contact with.
Why am I telling you this story? Because what I found was important 16 years ago in sales, is just as important right now. The way in which you connect with someone upfront is EVERYTHING. If that initial connection weren’t there, it would be difficult to move forward with someone or that company.
How are you able to identify this initial connection or if someone would be interested in working with you and your company? The biggest thing I’ve found is that there is an instant comfort level with this person and the conversation flowed.
Think about a time you met someone and felt that instant comfort level with him or her. Maybe you felt like you have met them before. You enjoyed talking to them or being around them. You felt so comfortable you just started sharing about yourself. It was easy, natural, they were open to the connection. It felt simple, right?
People don’t know what they don’t know. When they are open to hearing about a new technology or something that may improve their workplace or life, you know they may be a good client in the long run. People who are open to learning about how you can help them or their company are interested in growth and expansion. They are probably open to new ideas, and because of this, they would probably be a great client down the line.
They may want to schedule a follow-up conversation to understand more about how your company can help them. They introduce you to others in their company or on their team. They show you how their products help others or what they do to help others and you are genially interested as well.
We all know the saying that people do business with others they know, like, and trust. I’m here to say that this is best achievable when you feel that instant connection with someone. As indicated above, their actions will show you how they feel about you.
If you trust your own inner intuitive guidance and observe their actions, you will quickly know whether this would be a good client in the long run.
Theses were some important skills I’ve learned over the years when prospecting new business. And that small company I worked for, let’s just say the CEO was happy because I brought in hundreds of thousands of dollars of new business from Fortune 500 clients like Harley-Davidson, Cardinal Health, and AVSC.
One of my intentions is to save you time and a whole lot of headaches when you engage with new potential clients.
In fact, I have added a special cheat sheet for you to access so you know whether someone is a Sure-Fire Fit for you right away upon taking with them in person or via phone. Click here to get your sheet of 10 Surefire Ways to Sniff Out Troublesome Clients BEFORE you Agree to Work With Them.