In an article I wrote on my LinkedIn profile last week, I talked about the importance of qualifying the new leads that you find. Without qualifying properly, you will waste an incredible amount of time in sales and get frustrated. Follow the link to read the article and whilst you’re doing that, why don’t we connect on LinkedIn so that I can get to know more about you?
I had lunch with a great friend of mine yesterday who built an incredibly successful business which he sold last year. We have been friends for over 20 years and we joked about the time when he was new into a sales role early in his career and he had his infamous ‘7-minute meeting’.
He always smiles now about the story of driving for a couple of hours to a meeting which he hadn’t qualified properly. The person he was meeting was not the person he thought and didn’t have the responsibility to buy the services he was offering.
It became clear after just a few minutes that the meeting was not going anywhere and so 7 minutes after starting the meeting, it ended. All the time wasted as a result of not qualifying effectively!
My friend certainly learned the lesson but if you are to succeed then you have to be precious about the time you spend. Have a look at a video I shared a few weeks ago about how to avoid wasting time in sales.
There is no doubt that if you are to qualify effectively then you need to build an affinity with your prospects initially in order to get good answers to your questions.
At this early stage in the process, both sides are trying to understand if there could be a fit to work together. The prospect wants to get a sense of who you are and whether you’re someone that can be trusted, and you should be wanting to see if they are a person you would feel comfortable in working with.
I always believe that you won’t always win the deal in a first meeting or call with a prospect, but you can certainly lose it by not approaching it in the right way!
Use questions to ask what is important. This is the final point but probably the key element of any early engagement to build an affinity with your prospects. The first meeting is not about you. It is about them and what is key for them. The first meeting is about listening and not talking. Find out about the prospect, how long they have been in their role, what is key for them. People love to talk about themselves and not only will they warm to you but they will also share snippets which will be vital in the longer term sales process.
I have found that these 6 methods work well for me and allow me to at least get to a point where I can build on the initial meeting.
If, following your initial meeting, your prospect thinks you’re only interested in you or were not a particularly nice person then it’s an uphill struggle to do business with them in the future. Build an affinity with your prospects, qualify effectively and see if there is a fit to work together!
Have a look at my video on what not to do on the first call with a prospect for some further ideas on how to ensure you build a great first impression.
What has worked for you in the past? Share with me the key methods and ways of working you have used to get prospects to love you and what you do!
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