A Marketing Secret That Everyone Should Know
When you are prospecting new clients, you’re really selling yourself and your expertise. You may have the education, experience, and skillset that set you apart from other experts in your field, but how can you be sure to convince a prospective client of that without sounding salesy and pushy? It isn’t a secret that prospecting new clients is essential to business growth and future prosperity. But no one wants to feel like the numbers they represent.
We’ve all been on the receiving end of sales pitches and telemarketing calls where our eyes glaze over and all interest is lost in the first sentence. Why is that? It’s because all they’re doing is telling you why you need their goods or services, without even bothering to find out if you are a good fit for what they are selling. It’s a cold, one-way conversation. Cultivating authentic relationships is what transforms these exchanges into lasting partnerships. Relatability is where it all starts.
"The key to this business is personal relationships." —Jerry Maguire
You need to find relatability to develop authentic client relationships. No matter how small it is, the sales process needs to begin with a relationship. Why? Because relationships sell. Get someone talking about themselves. It can be the weather, where they went to school, their kids, hobbies, sports, etc. How do you know the right questions to ask? Do your homework. If you’ve already connected with the prospect on social media, do a little digging and find points of interest that can be topics of conversation.
Ask specific, open-ended questions using the words “tell” and “describe.” Most people will open up about themselves if someone is showing genuine interest. Show your sincerity and respect by actively listening. Taking notes is also helpful. Parroting, or repeating back what you've heard, to be sure you are understanding correctly, shows that you are fully engaged.
Once you get the ball rolling and you understand your new contact's background and interests, you can more easily speak to them from a perspective of relevance. Perspective is at the core of effective communication, and relaying information your prospective client will find essential is easier when you understand their needs. Finding the right message for your prospect is a matter of understanding what part of your story and services align with what is important to them.
What You Want to Say + What They Want to Hear = Relevance
Relevance = Genuine interest
Once relevance and relatability are established, that doesn't necessarily immediately translate into a sale. People usually aren’t ready to “sign on the dotted line” after a first conversation. Most of us want business relationships built on authenticity and trust, and that is something that has to be cultivated over time. Your sincere and steadfast relationship will make you the one someone wants to turn to when needs arise. Not every contact will quickly turn into a new client, but you are carefully planting seeds of a sincere desire to provide services because you care—not because you're only after increasing your bottom line. Some of the best accounts with longevity originate from patiently developing relationships over time. Patience and persistence set you apart as someone who cares about people rather than numbers.
How to Establish Relatability with a Prospective Client in 5 Steps
Here is a simple 5-step formula to establish relatability with a prospective client:
- Connect: Connect on social media, confirm their indication of interest, and schedule an introductory call
- Homework: Search for points of relatability in their social media profile. Things like where they went to school current and past employment, family, sports, hobbies, etc.
- Ask Open-Ended Questions: Ask specific open-ended questions using the words "describe" and "tell." You want to encourage them to open up and share their story.
- Listen & Engage: Take a back seat in the conversation at this point. Your role now is to actively listen to your new contact and understand where they're coming from. This is how you learn the best ways your relationship will work moving forward. Taking notes is helpful!
- Follow Up: Either before ending the call or in a follow-up message or email, thank your contact for their time and the opportunity to get to know them. Schedule your next call.
Developing real relationships based on authenticity is key to your long-term success. Your extra care and concern established with a first introduction will set you apart as the reliable professional your contacts will want to turn to when their needs arise.
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