1. Use the right approach: Don’t pounce
On a date, you wouldn’t block off a person’s exit or trap them in a corner, so don’t do this in business.
For example, when a customer comes to your stand at a business expo or trade fair, resist the urge to pounce on them, instead move casually alongside.
Don’t stand in front. Women often find this intimidating and men may feel like they’re being interrogated.
2. Smile, but not creepily
Smiling is important, but make sure it’s not in a “praying-mantis-I’m-about-to-devour-my-mate” smile.
Smiling genuinely on a date removes any seriousness and intensity you’re feeling, and relaxes the other person.
Likewise, in sales, a smile from you will often inspire the customer to smile back. A smile is a great way to relax your face and reduce your nervousness. It does the same for the customer.
3. No cheesy pickup lines please
On dates, as in business, try to engage in natural conversation. But beware of the closed question trap. If you ask a question that has a “yes” or “no” response, you risk hearing a “no”.
Asking, “Is it hot outside?” is a good question for us Perth dwellers.
Avoid the over-used Aussie standard of, “Can I help you?” It’s no wonder our automatic response is “No thanks I’m just browsing.”
Try to find something that you both have in common. For example, the customer might be wearing a great pair of shoes, so saying “I love your shoes, where did you find them?” might be a good way to start a conversation.
Our goal at this stage is to ask a question that gets a response longer than one word.
4. Don’t move too fast
Just as moving too fast on a date or relationship can create problems, so too can it create problems in business.
In fact, this is where I see most business owners or sales people make mistakes. They think an initial, brief introduction or conversation is an invitation to jump in with a monologue about their products or services. In sales we call this ‘Passion blindness’. You want to keep the conversation flowing in a natural way. Ask more open-ended questions: “I wonder what the weather forecast is for the weekend?”
5. Gently press the accelerator and close the sale
Rather than moving inappropriately fast on a date, you slowly progress to the next comfortable step.
Business is the same. Ask another question to keep the conversation flowing. People like to talk about themselves.
At this point, the customer may be thinking that you’re interesting, or that they know you well, even though the conversation has been brief.
Now is the time to lead the customer with questions that will provide an insight into their problems and desires, as they relate to your products or services.
Happily ever after?
As you can see, it takes the right approach and some insider secrets to help you succeed both on dates and with closing sales. In business, stay focused on the person not the transaction, and you’ll achieve surprising results.
At which of the above steps do you find a sale can stall? Write your question or comment below and I’ll help you out.