When you first approach a prospective client you never really know where the conversation will head, or if they have a need or an interest in your offering. This is particularly the case when it comes to cold calling and basic drop in canvassing.
For this very reason you need to be very flexible and conversational in getting the connection going. If you sell a service as opposed to a product, it is better to be biased towards building trust before you get to the real point of the approach. In a few words I can summarise this as ‘reducing the pressure’.
In business today, most clients and prospects do not like to be ‘sold or closed’. The days of manipulative selling are well gone. Information and trust are the keys to moving the conversation forward. Today, it could be called ‘relationship’ selling. As to how long the relationship should be, really depends on the product and the service that you offer; the relationship required can be from a few minutes to months or even years.
Get to the Facts
To qualify a client or prospect you need to know the right things relative to their business or personal situation. Here are a few tips to do that:
- Check to see if you are talking with the decision maker. There is no point talking with a person that has no relevance to your product or service. Asking questions will help you here.
- Find out what the prospect has now or if they have used similar products or services over the years. Do they actually understand what you are about to talk about? This is really important in a complex product or service offering.
- If the prospect has used that product or service before, was it helpful in their business or personal life? Working from a base of previous experience will help you connect with the situation for them today. Be aware that the situation may have changed for them; there is no point selling a concept, product or service if they have a changed business situation or circumstances.
- Could the prospect see the same solution occurring again or will it be helpful for them today or in the future? Previous experiences that the client may have had with your product or service help you relating to the situation today.
These questions will lead you to information that can help you proceed with moving the conversation forward. From all of these concepts, take the time to really listen to the facts and responses from the other person.