Good Conversation Stimulates Like Black Coffee

When was the last time you were really engaged in a conversation that was stimulating?  One thing is for sure; you were engaged in the conversation because the conversation was about something you were interested in.

Let’s face it there is nothing more boring than to be talking about something you feel is a waste of time.  With that in mind, how do you think your prospects feel when you are talking about something that is not of interest to them?

Conversations with prospects have to be crafted, planned, and well thought out to be stimulating.  One of the biggest challenges is to match the right conversation with the right person.

What I mean by that is a conversation with a CEO is going to be different than a conversation with a CFO, which is different than a conversation with a manager.  The reason these conversations are different is because the needs and interests of these people are different.

A one size fits all conversation about the value you bring to prospective clients will not work.   If you don’t tailor your conversation based on the needs and concerns (interests) of the person you are talking to, you won’t get very far.

For example, according to The Conference Board CEO Challenge 2010 Survey, the number one challenge CEOs say they are facing is excellence in execution followed closely by consistent execution of strategy by top management.  If you tailor your conversations to center around these points, you will be an instant hit.

It’s pretty easy to do.  You just simply state how your product or service will help with excellence in execution.   If you provide employee benefits you could discuss how execution is vital and what you and your firm are doing to address that.

Similarly, a recent study by IBM of over 1,900 CFOs and other senior financial executives revealed the top three priorities for CFOs are: reducing the cost base, making faster, more accurate decisions and providing more transparency to external stakeholders.

When you put yourself in the other person’s world and talk about things that are of interest to them you will increase receptivity to your message.  Your conversations will be engaging and you will develop relatedness at all levels in the prospect organization.

The best way to have stimulating conversations is to plan.  If you know you are going to be meeting with the CEO develop a few conversation topics of interest.  If you are going to a networking event and CFOs will be there, plan your conversations.

Taking a little time to plan and construct a conversation that is meaningful for your audience can pay huge dividends in the long run.  Always make your conversation stimulating.

Happy Selling

How To Establish Creditability With A Prospect

If you have been in sales for any length of time you know you need to establish creditability with a prospect early on in the sales process.  This is a common principle taught in most sales development training.  Establishing creditability earns you the right to move forward in the sales process.   If you try to move forward before you have established creditability, you are probably wasting your time because your prospect is not going to value any solution you bring to them.

To establish credibility you have to show that you have the prospect’s best interest in mind. The best way to demonstrate that you have the prospects best interest in mind is: first do some pre-sale research and then when you meet with your prospect ask questions that focus on their challenges and issues.

Pre-sale research is necessary to first of all determine if you even have a potential prospect.   When you do pre-sale research here are some of the things you want to find out:

  1. The history of the company
  2. Who are the key management people
  3. What are their main products and services
  4. Who are their customers
  5. What are the industry trends
  6. What challenges face the industry
  7. Who is their main competition
  8. Who do they currently use for the products or services you sell

There are more things you could find out, but this should get you started.

Use the pre-sale research information when you meet with your prospect to demonstrate that you care enough about them to find out information before you met with them.  You want to say something like “in preparation for our meeting I was doing some research about your industry and found out one of the challenges is……..How are you dealing with this challenge?”  Do you see how that will separate you from the 10 other sales people calling on the prospect?

Next time we will look at how to ask questions to establish creditability.

Be Adaptable In Communicating With Prospects

5,965 could be a large number for some things and a small number for other things. The number is just a number and the significance is relative to the subject matter. For the subject matter I’m speaking of. 5,965 is a large number. This is the number of text messages my youngest son Tyler had last month. It’s a good thing I have unlimited text messaging for his account! I said to myself, how could someone text that much in one month? In a 30 day period Tyler had to text on the average almost 200 text messages a day. Pretty impressive number isn’t’ it? This new way of communicating is actually fascinating. Both my sons would rather text than call. They’re both in college and very busy doing college stuff and the preferred method of communicating for them is texting.

For me texting does not come as naturally as it does for them. It seems it takes me a long time to scratch out a sentence on the phone. Maybe my fingers are too large or the key pad is too small. Either way, for me it just seems to take a long time to send even a three word text. I’m waiting for the voice recognition text technology to become widely available. But if I’m going to be in communication with my sons, I’d better get used to the idea texting.

Prospects and customers have a way they prefer to communicate too. If you are insistent on communicating the way you want to communicate and not the way they want to communicate, you are going to have communication breakdowns. It would be wise to check with your customers and prospects and ask what the preferred method of communication is. Some may prefer email, some telephone, some virtual meetings, and yes, some even texting.

Being adaptable to customer’s and prospect’s needs is what selling is all about. If you can’t be adaptable to communicate in the manner in which customers and prospects prefer, are you really the one they should partner with in a business relationship?

Be adaptable! For me, I’ve got to start exercising my thumbs. I want to get my fair share of the 5,965.