Whether you’re choosing an accountant or buying an appliance, your decision around what to buy and who to buy it from hinges on one critical emotion: trust. When it comes to sales, trust is everything. It’s the key to turning a prospect into a lifelong customer. It’s also the key to losing customers, as once the trust is gone, so is the relationship.
Here’s how you can invest some time preparing your sales team to make the best possible first impression. Systemize these principles, and your effort here will pay off dramatically.
1. Call people by their names. It makes people feel good, and shows that you are tuned into them as individuals. Prepare in advance and learn the pronunciation.
2. Look and smell good. Make sure you look and smell clean and are dressed appropriately or people may avoid you because of the Caesar salad at lunch.
3. Listen more than you talk. When you listen, you learn, and the more you learn about your prospects, the more you can help them.
4. Create an optimal environment. Make sure your prospect is somewhere they feel comfortable.
5. Be on time. Missing your first promise by being late is not a good way to begin a relationship with your prospect.
6. Stay positive. No matter how negative your prospect may be they will appreciate you better if you maintain a positive outlook on life Find something positive to say without directly contradicting them.
7. Never “bad-mouth” your competition. This doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t demonstrate why your products or services will serve your prospect’s needs better than your competition’s will. Should your prospect bring up your competition, try saying something like, “they make a good product, but I think you’ll find that the additional features available with our product make it more suited to your needs.
8. Give genuine compliments. Look for something sincere to compliment your prospect on. If you know something about them (perhaps they are an outstanding tennis player), so much the better, but even if you have just met them you will likely be able to find something to compliment, even if it is just their taste in clothing. We all instinctively like people who make us feel good.
9. Focus on your prospect, not on yourself. People like to talk about themselves, so indulge them. Allow them to be the center of attention by asking open-ended questions about their hobbies, their work, or anything else they might enjoy. It is better to be interested than it is to be interesting.
10. Avoid controversial subjects. You can never be completely certain of someone’s political or religious beliefs, so it is best to stay away from these topics altogether.
11. Speak their language. Avoid technical jargon that your prospects may not understand.
12. Systemize your approach. Relationships are built on trust, and trust is a by-product of integrity. By systemizing your customer relations, you can ensure that your company is able to keep the promises you make to your customers.