One of the biggest principles we learn as children is that everyone is different. This is true with people at different stages in their lives, in different industries, and with different personalities.
When you have a conversation with your elderly mother, you probably try to choose your words a little differently than you would when you’re talking to your teenage daughter who is always watching TikTok videos. Maybe you speak a little bit softer, or you avoid using any type of slang with your mother, but with your daughter, you try to get on her level by choosing more up-to-date language she’ll understand.
If you wouldn’t talk to your elderly mother the same way you’d talk to your teenage daughter, why would you talk to all of your clients the same way?
You can’t take a cookie-cutter approach to sales. If I approach a tech company the same way that I approach a building supply company, chances are that one of those companies will not get the full opportunity to gain and grow. A sales professional must approach every customer independently and individually to build strong, meaningful relationships. You must identify each person's strengths, weaknesses, and obstacles to truly put the right system in place.
Knowing each customer's needs is crucial because most customers are typically afraid to tell you what is going wrong. Employees within a company do not like to admit a weakness, but when you pay attention to each person individually, it gives them the trust to open up.
A great approach is to get them out of the office. Many people try to build relationships within the office but that is hard to do when others might be listening and judging.
Yes, it is an extra step getting them out of the office. It doesn't always have to be lunch or coffee but have a conversation with them. Figure out a way to get on a personal level. Meaningful relationships are about getting personal. Ask them a simple question. "Do you have kids? How many kids do you have? Oh, great." It's a simple question that that breaks a barrier down and humanizes the relationship and the conversation.
It can be anything. It's about finding that point of commonality. When you walk into an office building, check out what's in their office. If the first thing I notice is that they have football and LA Dodger hats everywhere, what do you think my first question is going to be? "Hey, do you want to buy my product or service?" Or "Man, did you see the Dodgers game last week? What an unbelievable game. I see you're a big Dodgers fan."
Even if you're not a sports fan, ask questions. Simple things like that break the barrier down and start to develop a human connection between you and your potential client. That's how meaningful relationships begin. People do business with people they know, like, and trust.
Sales and personal relationships go hand in hand. Understanding how to talk to people will help you take the sniper approach and target an individual client on their own level. Don’t put your clients and prospective clients in a box.
With so many industries saturated with competition, the key to standing out and closing those deals is to create that bond with your customer. If they don’t feel comfortable with you, they won’t hesitate to take their business elsewhere.
Throw me a note if you want to hear more!
Jon Kronemeyer (JK)