When meeting a potential prospect for the first time, be nice, predictable, similar, and seek to be liked, not hired or bought.
If you requested the meeting, it is your meeting and your objective is to allow your guest to feel comfortable and to leave the meeting thinking well of you. The goal is for them to like you and think warmly of you.
As a rule people think well of those they like. We like people for many different reasons, but one simple thing to remember is we like people who are like us; similar to us. This is not always true and not the only reason, but it is a simple and fairly common condition.
Getting to know someone, building a relationship is a matter of discovery and a good question to initiate this journey is, “Where are you from?”
And then, actively listen.
She doesn’t work hard for the sales she produces. She makes it look easy. Her numbers are great. She doesn’t put in the hours we do. She never complains. And her numbers are great every month. She’s just an order taker.
Oh, but if I could be like her…
Two things:  applaud the order takers. Embrace the idea. It’s a good one. Stop belittling it.  In most cases the secret ingredient is trust. Her clients trust her. They know who she is, what she can and can’t do and how to do business with her. She has earned their trust. She likes them. She wants to help them.
Earning trust has little to do with closing the sale. It has everything to do with mutual respect, care and concern. It starts with getting to know the people her clients are. It is always about individual people and what is in it for them.
Even though we are all created equal and endowed with certain inalienable rights, often it is not the case and / or we think it is not the case.
When we feel the lesser, we are in an “underdog position”, so says author Amy Showalter in her book The Underdog Edge: How ordinary people change the minds of the powerful and Live to tell about it.
She cites many real life stories of how people in underdog positions have in fact influenced their big dog opponents and won the day. She writes about the strategies, tactics and mindsets that these ordinary / extraordinary people used.
Ordinary / extraordinary. That is the essence of underdog. When the game begins, the field is most unlevel and in the end, thanks to the cleverness, persistence and actions of these underdogs, it is nicely leveled.
The world is full of unlevel playing fields. We need more underdogs.
Be defiant. Outwit the giant.
In general the purchase decision boils down to a solution and a problem as quantified by a person, or group of. Someone or some business needs something fixed or built and then a search for solution begins. Most sales people are looking for these people who are looking for a solution. The most traveled sales path is a game of GO FISH. Every so often, the sales person needs to contact their prospect and ask if they are yet in search mode. You know, “just touching base”. Checking to see if you have any kings? There are others playing against you. And like the card game, this sales game is about being the lucky one to call at just the right time? The less traveled path is to build a relationship with the person based on how you approach problems. Examples of what you have done are helpful but more helpful, is the process by which you assessed the problem that led to a solution. The fundamental difference between the two paths is that the path less traveled focuses on the prospect and the process by which problems are defined. The more traveled approach is focusing on solutions. On the less traveled path, we speak with prospects and discuss the process by which we approach and appreciate problems. This path is that of the trusted adviser.
People are crazy and we are turning Linkedin recommendations and endorsements into a mixed bag of good, bad and ugly. Here are 11 bullet points for your consideration: Recommendations are only valuable if somebody reads them.  Most recommendations are of very little substance or value; little more than an endorsement.  Most hiring managers do NOT read recommendations posted on Linkedin.  Recommendations (given or received) are people that we truly know. They can be considered another level of Linkedin connection, even closer than 1st level.  Think of endorsements as votes.  But how do you know if an endorsement, recommendation or testimonial is true? You don’t, but 99 votes is significant.  Why not respond to those who endorse you?  When considering an invitation from someone you don’t know, look at their endorsements as an indicator of what others think of them.  Helpful to your connections is knowing exactly what you would like to be endorsed for.  The “skills and expertise” section on Linkedin – the skills you are endorsed for – is a brilliant tool to help you find your keywords.  Don’t trade recommendations or endorsements. If you ask for such, don’t bribe them with a “return the favor”.
When reading the paper, I skim headlines, sometimes read lead paragraphs and sometimes read the article.
Is this selection process similar to the purchase decision?
The articles I read, like the things I buy, are interesting to me; and ”interesting” is that which is similar (or non-threatening) to what I already think and believe.
I will not read the entire article if it is disagreeable or contrary to my thinking. Reading the full article is akin to buying the product.
May I propose that people buy that which interests them, is similar to them, fits their current mindset and or situation. And people will not buy that which is too far from their current mindset.
People prefer to serve their current position and will not be open to something too different.
This seems congruent with the proposition that people do not like change, big change. Big change is disagreeable or contrary.
But, we all want, or at least have an interest in, better. And so, the change we want is small and gradual.
And so when bringing something to market pay attention to each prospective buyer as the individual they are. Understand their current position because where they are now is most critical to their decision to change (buy your offer.)
Do you know your prospective buyer’s mindset? Your product value remains constant, the difference in the likelihood of sale is the buyer and how close are they to your product value.
That which is for sale is somewhere between near and far from the buyer’s mindset; that which is purchased is near.
I base this proposition on my reading selectivity. I think it a similar decision.
SMALL: A small, very well-defined and identified niche will yield better results than a large and vaguely defined mass market; especially true for we who have very little advertising budget.
Are sales made or are they found? Perhaps both, but if we find better prospects, shouldn’t we make more sales?
SLOW: A sales process that has more steps would be considered slower, right? Adding a meeting to your sales process would take more time — slower.
The case for slower: What do you call someone you have never met?
Stranger. What did your mother tell you about strangers?
Don’t talk to them and for goodness sakes, don’t buy something from them! Thus, the first time we meet a prospect, let’s remove the issue of being a stranger.
Take this first meeting, the entire first meeting, and build rapport and perhaps some trust, so our next meeting can be all about business .
Adding this one step will make your process slower and it will make your next meeting better.
Small and Slow … the way to go … for more sales.
Perhaps the most often asked question in human existence is, “What do you do?”
The answer is frequently called an elevator pitch.There are many different formats and strategies to crafting this answer. And we seldom stay with the same one for very long. Therefore, we might be better served to have several different answers.
Here are 5 different takes on your “quick pitch”:[1 – Exceed Help] Don’t use the verb “help”. Do something more meaningful. [2 – They hire me to] In one sentence mention one of your niche markets and the reason they hire you.
Small business owners in Charlotte hire me to rewrite their Linkedin profiles.[3 – I Solve] State boldly, “I solve this”, after a brief statement of the problem you solve.
You know how business people tend to delay and avoid their bookkeeping and accounting responsibilities? I solve this Problem. I solve it by ….[4 – The Lean Couplet] There is much written today about the Lean Start-up and the Lean canvas. When this methodology is focused on a business, it begins with 2 questions that must always be answered in tandem:  What is the problem that your business solves? And  Who specifically has this problem?
One person businesses (solo-preneurs) wear many hats and have constant issues with time. Finding and meeting with new prospects is a time-consuming, inefficient and important exercise. I teach them how to use Linkedin to meet with a steady and planned number of prospects every week, spending little time.[5 – Glorious Result] After the problem has been determined and you have been hired and did your thing, what did the customer then experience?
My customers are business owners who now know for sure that their sales people are well paid and that their company bottom line is and will be as forecast.
Too many times our “quick pitches” are not quick and not memorable.Next time, be armed with several answers and use the one that might best suit the person who asked.
PS — 2 extra thoughts on differentiation: Avoid superlative adjectives. They are over-used. Simple unadorned sentences are more professional.  Being “passionate” is over-used today. Just because you really really enjoy doing something does not add anything to the customer’s decision to hire you.