You are on the golf course. Or at a networking function. Or maybe you really are in an elevator. And there he or she is. The prospect. Now, what should you do? Instead of breaking out that polished elevator pitch Gitomer’s Toastmaster Sales 101 class taught you to rehearse in front of the mirror, breath deeply and take off your selling hat. Try to approach the opportunity differently. Stray from what all of those traditional sales books and seminars taught you. Handle the opportunity differently than your competitors.
Instead of droning on about yourself and asking for a business card or meeting, hold hands with your prospect before you start jamming your tongue in the prospect’s ear. Try tossing out some open-ended, gentle probing questions. Questions that will ultimately help determine if you are a good match.
Here are a handful to test drive:
- How did you get started in _______?
- What do you enjoy most about what you do?
- What is unique/special about your business?
- What significant changes have you seen in your industry throughout the past 5-10 years?
- What do you see as the coming trends in your industry?
- How can I know if someone I’m talking to is a good prospect for you?
It’s true: People like to talk about themselves and what is going on in their world. The questions above should get them talking. And they will like you more the less you actually talk. We all know that buyers must like and trust you in order for them to do business with you. For now, that like and trust may begin a bit superficially, but you will be opening a door so that over time you can show your true colors--and earn their trust.
And then, with the insights you receive from your prospect from genuinely LISTENING, you can follow up and begin creating the holy grail of business: Value.