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First dates

Sales Calls Are Like A First Date

You want to work with people who you like and have an easy rapport with.

White, M. (n.d.)

During my recent holidays, I came across an article written by Erica Stritch, Vice-President, RAIN Group, comparing first sales calls to dating. This comparison raised my curiosity, and I read the article and found it interesting, so I decided to share my thoughts with you.

Erica reveals that the first time you meet a potential customer, your goal should be building a rapport. She meant to say that first impressions matter. And guess what, she’s right. According to research, we take seven (7) seconds to evaluate a person is likeable, influential and competent. So do take the time to prepare appropriately to look and sound professional and skilled. Before the meeting, do a quick search about the person you are about to meet (e.g. Facebook, LinkedIn are useful tools) and look for the company websites and annual reports to see their top priorities.

So for a successful first meeting:

  1. Start building a rapport by getting to the point of meeting right away, use versatility and social styles to improve communication. Communicate the purpose and what you, both, expect to take out of the meeting (win-win).
  2. Ask exciting questions about their company and their business or area of responsibility. Explore task and personal motives so that you can lower relationship tension and increase task tension for a positive outcome.
  3. Set up your plan, don’t let the purchasing department drive meeting. Remember this is your meeting, “… buyers today don’t want to have to tell providers what to do. They want trusted advisors who will recommend, not react,” according to Erica Stritch.
  4. Sell the vision of the future, sell how you are going to work together to increase productivity, competitiveness, get them enthusiastic about working with us – excitement with the new reality, remember the GAP model (haves and wants).
  5. But never forget to deliver your promise. Whatever the context of the meeting is, be sure to deliver on that promise. Often, we, salespeople, tend to oversell our capabilities, then we fail to deliver, so think carefully about what you are going to propose to the customer and be sure that you deliver that promise.

A first sales meeting is like your first date. Your first conversation aims to engage the prospect enough to agree to a second conversation with you. If you follow these five steps in your meeting, you’ll have a good chance of continuing the conversation and getting that second date.

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DISCLAIMERThe views and opinions expressed in this blog are those of the author, and they are not intended to malign any religion, ethnic group, club, organisation, company, individual or anyone or anything.

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