Sales is Just Like Dating - How to Find "The One."
"One dance, one look, one kiss, that's all we get, Albert. Just 'one shot' to make the difference between happily-ever-after, and oh-he's-just-some-guy-I-went-to-some-thing-with-once."
If you haven't heard this before, this is a line from the movie Hitch during a scene where Will Smith (Hitch) is giving Kevin James (Albert) some dating advice. Just like dating, often times in sales we get just one shot to make something happen which leads to my first analogy.
First Impressions Matter
Psychologists at the University of Pennsylvania studied data from over 10,000 speed daters and found that most people make a decision regarding a person’s attraction within the first three seconds of meeting. It's no different in sales. If you come in 15 minutes late to a meeting; sweaty, stains on your shirt and a reach out with a weak handshake and little eye contact - you are going to face an uphill battle the rest of the meeting.
No Trust, No Relationship
Sandra Murray, is a psychologist who's research specializes in close relationships. According to Murray, trust comes in a couple forms. The main type of trust is what is referred to as reflective trust, which is the form that operates at the level of your conscious awareness and refers to the expectations you have about how much your partner is committed to, and cares, about you. In sales, prospects base a significant amount of their decision on reflective trust. If they feel like you and your company are not committed to making them successful, chances are you are not going to get a sale.
So, how do you build reflective trust?
Be honest about your product or service. Just like relationships, no girl or guy is going to want to date someone who claims they are someone who they really are not. It's highly unattractive. If there are features your product doesn't have, be forthright about it.
Don't bash the competition. A good way to turn your date off quickly is by talking bad about other people (vendors) they are or were involved with. This can be a sensitive subject for the other person. After all, they chose this person (product) for different reasons and had an emotional connection. When it comes to your prospects, it's no different. Instead of talking down on your competition, try asking them questions that probe for opportunity: "What are some of the things you like about __________." or "What are some of the reasons why you are looking elsewhere?" Check out: Don't Bash Your Competition: Try These 3 Tips Instead
Listen. Ever been on a date with someone where all they do is talk about themselves? In sales, I call this "Showing up and throwing up." If all you do is talk about how good your company is and how your product is the best at everything, soon your prospect is going to lose interest. Instead, try to apply the 80 / 20 rule. The idea here is to listen 80% of the conversation and talk 20%. You can achieve this by asking open-ended questions throughout the conversation.
Make the First Move
It's tough to know when to make the first move in the dating world. But one thing is for sure, someone has to do it in order for anything to ever happen. In sales, you are almost always the one making the first move (unless you get a "bluebird"). Prospecting is a necessary task that every sales professional must do in order to be successful. A study by The National Sales Executive Association states that 2% of sales are made on the first contact, 3% of sales are made on the second contact, 5% of sales are made on the third contact, 10% of sales are made on the fourth contact and 80% of sales are made on the fifth to twelfth contact.
Ask For a Second Date
A survey of 38,912 singles conducted by It’s Just Lunch found that the chances of a second date happening when a guy hasn’t got in touch in the first 24 hours is as low as 1 in 8. In sales, if you want a "second date" you need to follow up (and not just once) within a business day. According to The Marketing Donut, 80% of sales require at least 5 follow up calls. Because of stats like this, don't all sales reps follow up at least 5 times? Not so fast, the same study indicated that 44% of salespeople give up after the first attempt and 20% don't follow up at all!
"When you're wondering what to say or how you look, just remember, she's already out with you. That means she said yes when she could have said no. That means she made a plan when she could have just blown you off. So that means it's no longer your job to make her like you. It's your job not to mess it up." - Hitch
Remember, if you get the sales meeting, there is interest or else they would never meet with you in the first place! Go in there prepared, polished, and confident. You never know, this could be "The One."