Monday, 22 August 2011

Don't be frightened to take the lead

We all know that trust is the key word to building a successful and meaningful relationship with both clients and prospects. However, just because you want to build trust, does not mean you can't be forceful and proactive in defining the way forward.

Too often we let the sales process meander without any agreed direction or timeline. Suggest to your prospect that you should agree what the steps are that they need to go through in order to make a decision and then don't be shy in telling them what you need to do! People appreciate having the opportunity to clearly explain what it is that they have to do.

Maybe even think about agreeing a 'Milestone Letter' that defines what both sides need to get done against specific dates. It does not mean that things won't slip, but at least you have a shared document that both parties can use to measure progress and re-set actions and timelines as appropriate.

Monday, 1 August 2011

Don't do what your parents told you to do!

If your folks were anything like mine when you were growing up, then you were told never to talk about yourself. "It's for others to decide what they think of you, so don't talk about yourself - it will sound like boasting". Now I had a brilliant childhood, so on balance the "Don't talk about yourself" mantra probably had a positive contribution to my development.

But in sales it is a different matter. There are occasions when you should be willing to talk about yourself - but be humble.

The point is that any prospect or client will want to know that they are dealing with someone who has 'achieved'. They want to have a level of confidence that you can do what you say. Often we talk about a prospect's reluctance to be a guinea pig when it comes to buying a new product or service. The same is true when it comes to you. They want to understand that you have been successful in the past with other clients.

I am not suggesting the you boast (or lie). But practice introducing into your conversation some background about your previous achievements. Mention your involvement with other projects. Often it is best to talk about being part of a team that helped certain client/s achieve specific objectives (related to your prospect's goals). This approach helps to build your credibility, providing you do it subtly.

Try talking about yourself (a little) - you don't have to worry, your parents won't be listening.