How to Survive a First Date or Sales Call
The first question I ask whenever I start training is “How many of you have ever been on a first date?” As long as the room is not full of engineers everyone raises their hand (just kidding, engineers!!). Why do I ask this question? Simply put, because sales is just like dating.
In both situations, what you do in the first 5 minutes determines how successful you are in accomplishing your goal. Now, just because you do the right things in those 5 minutes does not mean you will be successful it just means you are more likely to be. So what is the secret? Listening.
Think about your best first dates. In the first 5 minutes of those dates you spent time trying to learn more about your companion. Asking them about themselves, their interests, their hopes, dreams and any other multitude of questions that showed that you were truly interested in who they were.
The best sales calls/meetings are reflective of this behavior. If you take the first few minutes to learn about the prospect your call will be much more successful. You can pick and choose what you highlight about whatever you are selling. Very much like on a first date when you choose to talk about your love of basketball to a hoops junkie and choose to ignore your love of Billy Madison to an Adam Sandler hater.
And just like dating, getting your prospect to open-up is as simple as asking open-ended questions. Open-ended questions allow prospects to answer in a narrative form as opposed to one-word answers. Another benefit of this approach is that it positions you as consultative guide as opposed to a salesperson.
So next time you get on the phone or sit down to meet a prospect remember: Sales is just like a dating. If you wouldn’t sit down on a first date and just start talking about yourself, you should not start a sales pitch by talking about how great your product is. Otherwise, you may not get that second date.