I recently had a birthday (certainly I’m not admitting which one…). I reflected a bit about my personal and business life. Being a trainer, I’m amazed that as much as the world of business has changed, business-development professionals are still making some of the same mistakes.
- Searching for customers is different. Networking is the true key to finding and keeping customers, but most people do it wrong.
Networking is not for direct prospecting. Instead, go to an event and look to make strategic alliances. Do this with people with whom you can refer business back and forth. Take this approach instead of hitting your prospects hard.
We all know building business on referrals is the best way to achieve success, so let’s network for good alliances.
- Tell the prospect it’s OK to break up. Rejection is a result of trying to sell someone your product or service. As opposed to telling them what you are calling about, let them know it seems that, because of what they do, you could work together. But you don’t want to assume that you are a good fit. What you’d like to do is ask a few questions to see if the two of you are a fit. If not, then you’ve wasted only a few minutes.
This allows you to give a no as an option upfront. You have asked for it, as opposed to a prospect pushing you away.
- Be a reporter. An example of the best salespeople today are reporters. They don’t have a specific agenda besides learning as much as they possibly can about a person, subject or situation. They do their research, ask open-ended questions and always listen for what’s between the lines. They’re digging up all the information they can to recreate it in a great story.
Salespeople fall short because when they hear something, they want to jump on it and try to solve it with their solution. When you stop someone from telling you more about their situation in order to sell them, it’s usually too early, and you lose the sale.
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