Hello SOTGC community,
I was recently at a panel discussion where the topic was “How to Sell Into The C Suites.” It was a forum for small business owners who are NOT sales people but need to know how to access their potential clients. One of the panel members was talking about how networking can lead to clients, as long as you don’t try to “sell me on the first meeting.” I thought about the post I had written called “The Fine Nuances of Sales…It’s Like Dating?” and immediately started giggling when I compared it to someone trying to sleep with you on the first date.
I honestly believe that a good “salesperson” doesn’t sell…they probe…and no that does NOT need to go to HR for interpretation ..it means they ask a LOT of questions. 😉 A GOOD salesperson builds a relationship. They first get to know you, your business, and your needs. Then they educate you on the products or services that could potentially help solve those needs or help your business. The whole time, they are working on building a healthy relationship with you.
Have you ever been making a purchase and had this really yucky feeling when talking to the salesperson? Instead of learning about YOU and what you NEED, they were too busy shoving the most expensive product (or whatever product/service was part of their incentive package that month) down your throat. Instead of building a relationship with you, they made you feel like a walking dollar sign.
Have you ever been out at a restaurant or bar with your friends and met a guy who immediately gave you the creeps? It’s probably because their whole demeanor (from their comments to their body language) screamed “I am going to try and get you hammered, and then sleep with you tonight!” Both are situations where the salesperson (or strange man) let you know through their actions that you were a means to an end, and you would be forgotten as soon as the next sale (or lady) came along.
Lately I’ve been teaching classes on the intangibles for successful negotiations and will start teaching classes on how to increase revenue without being a salesperson. The core of these classes is about building a relationship with your client/vendor/etc. It’s about getting to a mutually beneficial outcome where the process is conducted with grace, integrity, and with the idea that this will be a LONG relationship for both of you. So next time you go meet with a potential client maybe keep this in mind. You’re there to get to know them, both their business as well as them personally. You are there to establish trust and start building a foundation that will lead to a long lasting relationship…so if you try and sell them on your business and services on the first meeting…it’s the same as sleeping with someone on the first date…on occasion that works out in the long run, but very rarely and not worth the risk.