Earning a prospect’s or customer’s respect is something that top sales people consistently manage to achieve. But earning that respect can be difficult and is difficult for many sales people.
However, when you achieve that goal, the likelihood of capturing a sale from that prospect increases substantially.
Here are 5 ways you can earn a prospect’s respect and start increasing your sales.
Respect their time
Every person you call upon is busy, just like you are. Demonstrate that you respect their time by asking, “Is this still a good time to talk?” or “We scheduled 60 minutes for today’s meeting; does that still work for you?”
You can also achieve this by limiting the amount of time you spend on social chit-chat or rapport-building conversation. You may want to spend time talking about non-sales related stuff, but there’s a strong likelihood that your prospect wants to get down to business.
Call or show up on time
Sounds simple, doesn’t it? Yet, I’m constantly surprised how many times a customer or prospect says, “Thanks for calling on time.” Surprisingly, many sales people fail to connect with prospects when they say they will.
A participant in one of my sales training workshops said, “But being 5 minutes late isn’t a big deal. Besides, all kinds of things can cause me to be late.” He went on to list every excuse and possible reason he would arrive late at a scheduled appointment.
Your excuses don’t matter. If you say you’re going to show up or call someone at a specific time, then do it.
Offer a solution that is relevant
You may have the best solution in the world but if you don’t show your prospect exactly how they will benefit from it, you will struggle to capture the sale.
On the opposite side of the coin, If you attempt to sell your prospect something this is not relevant to his or her business or a problem they are facing, you automatically lose respect and credibility.
This is where proper research and/or effective discovery comes into play.
Before you start making suggestions or talking about your product, service or solution, make sure you have a comprehensive understanding of their situation, their problem, and the payoff of correcting or solving that issue(s).
Decision makers are subjected to countless sales pitches by sales people who are desperate to sell them their product or service.
Unfortunately, most pitches are a one-way presentation and they do little to compel or motivate someone to take action.
A more effective approach is to engage your prospect in a conversation. People don’t want to listen to a sales pitch; they want to know how your product, service or solution is going to help them solve a particular problem.
You need to have your presentation ready and well-rehearsed. But…and this is a big but…you also need to throw it away just before you walk into your prospect’s office. I mean this figuratively, of course.
Use that presentation to outline the key points of your solution and how the prospect will benefit. But, more importantly use it to open up a dialogue and create a two-way conversation with your prospect.
Turn down the sale
The other day I was meeting with a new prospect who had contacted me about conducting a sales training workshop for his sales team. As he explained his situation, I realized that training was not the right solution.
Although I could have created and delivered a program that would satisfy him I knew it wasn’t the appropriate approach to take so I said, “Robert, I don’t think training is going to solve your problem and here’s why…”
I directed him to a colleague whom I felt could help him solve the actual problem rather than the problem he perceived he had. Before I left his office, he said, “I really appreciate your suggestion. Once I get this sorted out I will definitely call you and we’ll do some training that works for out team.”
Sometimes it makes sense to turn away business even if your solution or offering may solve part of their problem. If your product or service doesn’t solve the ENTIRE problem, you run the risk of winning the initial business but losing future opportunities.
Business people remember sales people who go out of their way to ensure that they receive the best solution, even if it isn’t the sales person’s product or service.
Earning a prospect’s trust is easy IF you use the right approach. Implement these five strategies into your routine and I guarantee that you will notice a difference in your results.
By Kelley Robertson
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