Making Every Contact Count!
Networking… I’m sure you’ve all heard the expression, “It’s not what you know it’s who you know.” It’s surprising just how true that is. Networking is simply a matter of meeting and greeting as many people as you can that will help your business grow.
However, there is a trick to it all. When you meet someone who is in a position to share information about you with other people, it is your responsibility to provide them a simple, concise and easily understood description of how you help your clients. Hence – the elevator speech. The elevator speech is a two to three line description of the benefits that you provide your client. It’s called the elevator speech because if you’re riding up in the elevator and meet someone for the first time you need to be ready to competently explain what you do and how you help people in a matter of a few words.
- What is the single most important thing you want people to know, think or believe about your product, service or company? Focus your message on that one thing.
- When it’s all said and done what do you want them to feel? Your goal is to make that individual feel special-like a V.I.P. Self confidence, delivery and style all play a role in how you make someone feel.
Your goal is to develop a relationship with these new referral sources that can actually bring you clients and therefore revenue. Your goal is to increase the visibility and the awareness of yourself, your products and your services. Remember that your goal is to help the client. Try to create the perception that you are an expert in your field.
I’m a strong believer that when you focus on one given field or target market that your referrals become much easier. So follow these easy steps.
Determine Your Niche
- What market can you help the very most?
- What group of individuals would truly benefit from your services, expertise or knowledge?
- What problems do they have? How can you help them?
- What products would work for them?
- Now, the biggie… What is your plan of action? Remember follow up separates the amateurs from the professionals.
Connect Before You Convince
Before you can convince someone you are the right choice you have to connect to something that they care about. This is all about relationship building. The number one activity is asking questions about them that will determine how you can help their growth and solve their needs. ASK VERSUS TELL. All too many people get excited about their product or service and begin what I call “Spray and Pray” which is to lay out everything they know about the product or service and then sit back and ask “Do you have any questions? Is there something that seems to suit your needs?”
Smart selling is to ask the questions and then present only those products and services that truly benefit that one individual. You need to connect before you can convince. Many times the best investment is simply asking questions about them, their family, and their personal interests without focusing on the product or service you are trying to sell. When the client feels that you are genuinely interested in them as a human being they are much more apt to trust you and rely on the recommendation that you make. This recommendation should only be made once you determine how you can help their particular needs.
All of these traits add up to trustworthiness. It is trust and mutual respect that is the foundation of building any long-term relationship.
Best Practices for Successful Salespeople
- Ask the right questions. Asking questions that develop rapport and determine needs is indeed a talent. They need to be open-ended in nature to encourage the client to give you expansive answers about themselves, their personal interests and needs. Your job is a simple one, listen. Listen intently for the clues that will either develop a relationship or identify products or services that can help them.
- Selling is leading. You are the professional. You are the leader. You lead by asking questions that direct the client to their own decision to purchase your product service. Leading them demonstrates confidence, shows clarity and vision, and provides direction as to the next step.
- Be a consultant. Solving the client’s problem is simply your job. Listen for the clues before you try and come up with the solution.
- Take notes. Taking notes during your meeting with a prospect helps you listen, shows your genuine interest in them and puts you in a position of authority. It encourages your prospect to open up and sends positive signals. Always start your interview with the question “Do you mind if I ask you a few questions so that I might be able to identify the best way to assist you? I’d like to take notes so that I can follow up with you.”
- Ask for the next appointment while you’re on the first visit. This may sound odd but from the time you start working for the client you should be positioning yourself for a future relationship. It is only through relationship building that we can truly be a professional and look towards all of the clients needs.
- Provide resources from other companies that will also help your client. A true sales professional is well connected in their community and able to give numerous referrals of supporting resources that will help their client. Please don’t think of this as a competition but a way of making you even more valuable to your client. It also establishes an automatic referral base from them to you in the future.
- Be enthusiastic. If you believe in your product or service, they will too. Talk up your company and remember that there is a difference between enthusiasm and idle chatter. Your enthusiasm is based on your belief in your product or service.
- Create a plan with each new prospect. Create a customized written plan based on your notes from earlier meetings. The sale should never be through; we should always be positioning ourselves for the future.
- Give back. Give speeches and time to community and civic groups. Be a specialist in your field and offer to give back to the community that gives you so very much. The more you network, get your name out in the public and demonstrate by your actions that you are the consummate professional, the larger your business will grow.
- Be knowledgeable about your industry, your company and its competitors. How can you in good conscience recommend your product or service unless you know how it compares with the competition? Be a professional. Learn as much as you can. Read industry publications, trade journals, and newsletters. Every moment that you spend deepening the knowledge of your industry is an investment in your future.
- Keep your sense of humor. Selling can be very challenging job. Every sales person faces rejection every single day. When you keep a positive attitude and a good sense of humor and have the opportunity to laugh at everyday trials and tribulations you become a better sales person. Lighten up… and remember success couldn’t happen to a nicer person!
- The most important part of any business is the customer. People buy from people… people they like, trust, respect; no one buys from an enemy. Self-esteem is a quiet sense of self-respect and self-worth. You are feeling the self-worth impact on every part of your life including your ability to relate to your colleagues and your customers or clients.
- We have to continually demonstrate and display a constant, efficient, and concerned awareness of the customer’s needs – a willingness effectively communicated to help the customer be more successful.
- Learn to see obstacles as stepping stones to success. Your most important goal is to satisfy the customer and your ATTITUDE will play a major role in developing this satisfaction. You are the company as far as the customer is concerned.
A UCLA study showed that 4 minutes is all you have to make an impression on another person. 7% of the impact comes from the words you say, 38% relates to your body language and 55% of the impact is related to the way you say your words or your voice tones. People will forget what you say and what you do but they will always remember how you made them feel.
There is little traffic on the extra mile! Ladies and gentlemen, start your engines!!!
Lynn Giuliani is the President and founder of Progressions Inc. a consulting company specializing in Sales, Service and Leadership Training for Community Banks. She has over 30 years of experience in the Financial Industry. Lynn’s thorough knowledge of banking helps her to create a personal rapport with her participants, as they know” she’s been there”!
Throughout Lynn’s career she has personally designed five different Business Development programs, managed a group of commissioned paid loan officers, worked as a trainer for two International Training Companies, and was one of the first commissioned paid calling officers in the U.S. Lynn exudes confidence and enthusiasm as she walks the talk of sales and service excellence.
Lynn works with Community Banks to create a more proactive sales culture. Her focus is on teaching new behaviors and skill sets through ongoing coaching and mentoring, and essentially “walking them through change”. She prides herself in tailoring her materials and programs specifically to the client’s needs, and is always willing to go the extra mile! With Lynn’s knowledge, and sense of humor, her training skills are always in great demand. Lynn Giuliani can be reached at (360) 733-6557