Making friends is easy, but the same can’t always be said for converting customers. Many people are defensive when they first start dealing with salespeople. In order turn a stranger into a customer, you must build a positive rapport and ongoing relationship tailored to their specific needs.
These five steps will have you closing leads (and making friends) in no time:
Get to Know Them
First, get to know the person you are talking to. Don’t dive into products, pricing and services – dive into who they are, what drives them and even what they like to do on the weekend. Rather than jumping immediately into sales mode, break the barriers down and get to know the prospect on a personal level like you would any other stranger.
Get to Know Their Needs
Once you’ve established a preliminary relationship, you can begin to dive into a prospect’s needs and pain points. Start to learn how you can make their life or job easier and potentially enhance the tools or processes they are already using.
Provide Resources Tailored to Them
Here is where you begin to build on the foundational trust you have built in your relationship. Now that you understand who you are working with and where their pain points lie, identify resources you can provide them that can assist their need. Whether you have blog posts, videos and infographics you can share, or simply providing them a free trial, you can prove to be a reliable and useful contact whether they are a customer or not.
Build a Consistent Cadence
Keeping a prospect relationship healthy is no different from any other personal relationship. It takes time and energy to check in and see how your client is doing. While you don’t want to allow a prospect to sit for too long before converting them to a customer, knowing how not to be too pushy is also important. By establishing a friendly and consistent cadence of check ins, or shooting them a helpful blog post or news article once in a while to keep you top of mind, you can show them that you are invested in them and not just pushing products.
Make the Sale
When your prospect is no longer a stranger, and you have gotten to know them, their pain points and even their dog’s name, it’s time to make the sale. By developing that consistent cadence of communication, you’ve allowed yourself to collect information which should provide any salesperson the sense of what products or services can truly help them. You should also know if the timing is right to sell to them. Use your best judgement to determine if it is time to make the sale. If the time isn’t right, don’t be afraid to shoot them a note saying, “Hey, I realize this might not be the right time for XYZ now, but I’d love to touch base in 3 months when it might be.” Knowing when to push a sale and when to back off can make the difference between a good salesperson and a great one. Putting the relationship first will keep a prospect coming back almost every time.
Using these five simple steps with new prospects will help any sales representative build meaningful relationships. Relationships, after all, are what sales are really about.