Note from the Editors: Our humble request is to not take the advice in the title of this article literally 🙂 Just kidding Dia’s article talks about building a relationship step-by-step.

Date_Your_Prospects_Marry_Your_Clients

Well, not exactly, but you get my drift… How drawing the parallel between the sales process and courtship can build a lasting relationship that will change your results and surpass the competition.

Dating is fun, right? We all strive for a fulfilling relationship in our lives, right? So it’s natural to understand that prospecting is also about developing a significant relationship in our life with a business twist. So why not enjoy the process! Just for fun, let’s explore the dating mindset.

DATING & THE COURTSHIP
Would you ask a woman to marry you on the first date or even the second? Conversely, if a guy asked you to marry him on the first few dates, what would you think? “He doesn’t even know who I am, what i want or even need”! Right? This concept hit me one day and I realized the process of courtship is directly in alignment with the ‘sales process’ whereas we are creating an important ‘business’ relationship that has so many attributes of a successful ‘personal’ relationship. So enjoy the process and don’t go for the close too soon!

The first date (or initial introduction) is a prime opportunity to make a lasting impression, to pre-qualify, check for compatibility and strategize the opportunity. Like dating, prospecting is about mutual discovery which shouldn’t be rushed. This time should be a discovery of evaluating their needs to what you offer and if it is congruent for all parties involved. 

Prospects expect to be courted to be asked out on a series of dates to learn about each other and more. Treat your prospects like you would a first date! Be polite, listen attentively and learn about what they want and need. Otherwise, get them talking and listen.

Create opportunities to meet, have authentic conversations and probe into the critical elements of who they are, what their needs are their ‘likes’ and ‘dislikes’ what they’ve done in the past and what would they ‘change or improve’. What are their expectations? This is the stage in the courtship to listen for valuable clues of those selling points.

Creatively strategize some of the details of the information gleaned from your conversations to create opportunities to show them you are listening and have their best interest in mind. For example, send them pieces of information they would find of value with a personal note showing you were listening. Connect with them and others on their team on LinkedIn and other professional organizations. It’s a relationship where you’re constantly looking for opportunities to tell them “they’re pretty” so to speak!

Research has never been so easy with the internet, so use it. Think outside the box and find opportunities to get their attention that is focused on meeting their needs without shoving your products or services in their face. Send a handwritten thank you for their time or stop by with their favorite coffee drink or seasonal goody. Stand out from the crowd. Be present without being a pest.

Think about ‘layers of communication’ with your budding relationship. Finding ways to engage them serves to differentiate you from the competition, making you appear special, which dramatically increases your chance for success.

THE PROPOSAL
This is a special time to take things to another level. There is mutual interest and things are getting serious. It’s time to lean in and go for the close. If you get a YES it’s time to seal the deal. 

If it’s a NO, then overcome any objections and try for the close again!

THE ENGAGEMENT
Once you’ve resolved any objections or issues standing in your way and you’ve popped the question it’s time to get serious and further the relationship for a collaborative future.

Now is the time to get beyond the ‘mask’ we sometimes wear to deepen the relationship for both parties exposing any missing details to finalize what the future holds for the relationship. This is a great time to negotiate the terms and conditions as well as evaluate the future for a solid and successful marriage that will transcend any challenges that will come.

Some closing advice on your marriage:
– Keep the flame burning that was ignited during the courtship!
– Never take each other for granted!
– Keep it fresh, keep it alive and keep it real!

If you don’t, the competition will!

About Dia Matteson Oliveira
Dia is CEO and founder of My Forté International mentoring companies, executives and entrepreneurs in maximizing results. Her success spans more than 27 years as a top performing award winning sales executive in Fortune 500 companies as well as 11 of her own business ventures. Dia specializes in transforming her client’s careers and businesses…. to succeed with measurable results. Dia recently co-authored a book on success named “25 Brilliant Business Mentors Their Top Tips To Catapult You To Success”. To learn more visit: www.MyForteInternational.com


prospecting tips

Topics: sales prospects, client relationship

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